December 4, 2019
The goal of this paper is to better understand Kant’s conception of philosophy as a “world concept” ( Weltbegriff ), which is at the heart of the Architectonic of Pure Reason. This is pursued in two major parts. The first evaluates the textual foundation for reading Kant’s world concept of philosophy as cosmopolitanism and concludes that he most probably never himself equated philosophy as a world concept with any form of cosmopolitanism. The second major part of the paper clarifies this concept of philosophy through the specific role it plays in the argument of the Architectonic. Kant’s unique concept of science is examined and compared with several specific applications of it found elsewhere in Kant’s writings. From this it is concluded that Kant’s intention in the Architectonic was to derive his world concept of philosophy from its logical counterpart, namely the scholastic concept of philosophy, and that its function there is to provide the idea from which the entire structure (schema) of Kantian critical metaphysics can be derived. Philosophy as a world concept, it is further argued, is the complete system of critical or Kantian metaphysics in application and the philosopher in this sense is the ideal critical metaphysician who fully realizes its laws through her own understanding and will.