Kant’s Theory of Transcendental Truth as Ontology : Kant-Studien

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Philosophische Zeitschrift der Kant-Gesellschaft

Ed. by Baum, Manfred / Dörflinger, Bernd / Klemme, Heiner F.

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Kant’s Theory of Transcendental Truth as Ontology

Chong-Hyon Paek

Citation Information: Kant-Studien. Volume 96, Issue 2, Pages 147–160, ISSN (Online) 1613-1134, ISSN (Print) 0022-8877, DOI: 10.1515/kant.2005.96.2.147, September 2005

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I. The Problem of ‘Truth’ in the Logic of Truth

If one considers what Kant intended by true cognition, or truth, in his transcendental philosophy, it is clear that his transcendental philosophy is a logic of truth as well as ontology.

As is well appreciated, Kant, while referring to formal logic as general logic, names his own logic “transcendental logic”, which contains the principles under which the cognition of objects is possible. According to Kant, ‘transcendental logic’ is the science which determines “the origin, the domain, and the objective validity” of the cognitions of the understanding that relate a priori to objects as pure acts of thinking. In other words, it is the science that defines and determines the legitimate use of the a priori cognitions of the understanding. Kant goes on to refer to the negative part of “transcendental logic” as the “transcendental dialectic” or “logic of illusion”, according to which we differentiate the illegitimate use of the a priori cognitions of the pure understanding, which occurs when the a priori cognitions are applied beyond their legitimate use to objects that go beyond the realm of experience. In contrast, the positive part of “transcendental logic”, which deals with the necessary “principles” without which no object can be thought at all is referred to as the “transcendental analytic” or “a logic of truth”. But how then are we to understand the notion of ‘truth’ here, which evidently is contrasted with the notion of ‘illusion’?

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