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Staking Out the Terrain of Pure Reason: Kant’s Critique of Wolffian Metaphysics in Dreams of a Spirit-Seer

Karin de Boer

Abstract

While Dreams of a Spirit-Seer (1766) is generally considered to stem from an empiricist phase of Kant’s development, this article contends that Kant in this text elaborates a critique of Wolffian metaphysics not because of its rationalism, but because of its assumption that the sensible and the intellectual constitute a continuum. After presenting Wolff’s continuist account of empirical and rational psychology and metaphysical cognition as such, I focus on Kant’s implicit and explicit engagement with Wolff in Dreams with the aim of arguing that the text testifies to his sustained effort to identify and set free the rational core of Wolffian metaphysics.

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