Kant's Theory of Judgment: The Concept of Judgment in Kant's Logic and Metaphysics Open Access

McAndrew, Matthew Thomas (2013)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/nz806010p?locale=en


This dissertation traces the development of Kant's conception of judgment, starting with the logic of German rationalism, or Schulphilosophie, and concluding with his third Critique. I begin by summarizing the theory of judgment that was widely accepted by German Schulphilosophie. I focus primarily on the work of two figures: Christian Wolff and Georg Friedrich Meier. These philosophers initially informed Kant's views about logic and judgment. I argue that Kant adopts a new theory of judgment in the Critique of Pure Reason. It differs from his earlier views, as well as those of his predecessors, in two important respects. First, Kant broadens his definition of judgment, and second, he begins to describe judgments in a new way. He characterizes them as a cognitive relationship between a concept and an object, as opposed to a merely logical relationship between concepts. I examine this new theory of judgment and its role in Kant's critical philosophy. I address Kant's published works, as well as his Nachlass and Vorlesungen, i.e. Kant's notes and notes taken by students in his lectures. I show that Kant's Nachlass actually contains two competing accounts of judgment, a distinction that has previously gone unrecognized by scholars. Only one of these two accounts is compatible with Kant's distinction between analytic and synthetic judgments. I also attempt to solve some of the questions and interpretative problems that are raised by Kant's new theory of judgment. For example, I explain the difference between two key expressions, Vermögen zu urtheilen and Urtheilskraft, or the "capacity to judge" and the "power of judgment." I also explain the possibility of subjective judgments. Kant appears to rule out such judgments in the second edition of the Critique of Pure Reason when he asserts that all judgments, by definition, are objectively valid, i.e. representative of objects. In both cases, I answer these questions by drawing a distinction between two senses of judgment: a judgment regarded as a thought or representation and a judgment regarded as an act.

Table of Contents


Chapter One: The Standard Theory of Judgment: Wolff, Meier, and the Early Kant...17

Chapter Two: The Power of Judgment...69

Chapter Three: Kant's Definition of Judgment in the Metaphysical Deduction of the Categories (A 68-69/B 92-94)...96

Chapter Four: Kant's Account of Judgment in his Nachlass...141

Chapter Five: Judgment and Objectivity...177

Chapter Six: Judgment and the Application of Rules...234

Chapter Seven: The Reflecting Power of Judgment...271


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