THE PROBLEM OF THE CRITIQUE
THE problem of the Critique may be stated in outline and approximately in Kant's own words as follows.
Human reason is called upon to consider certain questions, which it cannot decline, as they are presented by its own nature, but which it cannot answer. These questions relate to God, freedom of the will, and immortality. And the name for the subject which has to deal with these questions is metaphysics. At one time metaphysics was regarded as the queen of all the sciences, and the importance of its aim justified the title. At first the subject, propounding as it did a dogmatic system, exercised a despotic sway. But its subsequent failure brought it into disrepute. It has constantly been compelled to retrace its steps; there has been fundamental disagreement among philosophers, and no philosopher has successfully refuted his critics. Consequently the current attitude to the subject is one of weariness and indifference. Yet humanity cannot really be indifferent to such problems; even those who profess indifference inevitably make metaphysical assertions; and the current attitude is a sign not of levity but of a refusal to put up with the illusory knowledge offered by contemporary philosophy. Now the objects of metaphysics, God, freedom, and immortality, are not objects of experience in the sense in which a tree or a stone is an object of experience. Hence our views about them