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Is the division of judgments into analytic and synthetic relative? The discussion between Maaß and Kant (through Schultz)

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From the journal Kant-Studien


In a note from around 1769, Kant raised the question of why synthetic judgments cannot become analytic. He did not, however, suggest an answer. In a 1789 essay, J. G. E. Maaß published an exemplary criticism of this division of judgments by pointing out that it was relative. Kant entrusted one of his disciples, J. Schultz, with the task of defending the absolute nature of the distinction. Schultz responded in 1790, using annotations by Kant himself. Moreover, in Schultz’s 1789 Examination, there are some remarks which anticipate certain misrepresentations Maaß would continue to make in his new essay in response to Schultz in 1791. Focusing on the reconstruction of this debate, the paper seeks to identify how Kant justified the fact that his division of judgments was not arbitrary, even if the justification was never explicit.

Published Online: 2020-09-03
Published in Print: 2020-09-01

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