This book develops a textually grounded reconstruction of Kant’s argument in the Metaphysical Deduction. The argument proceeds in three steps, developing, first, a concept of judgment on which to base the table of logical functions, next a concept of synthesis of intuition that explains the content of the categories, and finally a concept of the understanding on which the categories belong a priori to the same faculty through which we judge.
The investigation presented here is an argumentative reconstruction of Kant’s text. The text in question is the "Guiding Thread to the Discovery of all Pure Concepts of the Understanding" in both the 1781 (A) and 1787 (B) editions of the Critique of Pure Reason (A64-83/B89-113). To illuminate Kant’s reflections in this chapter, the reconstruction also draws on passages from elsewhere in the Critique, from Kant’s writings after the Critique, as well as notes from his Nachlass and student transcriptions of lectures he held subsequent to writing the Critique. Four passages, in particular, are of central importance: (i) the retrospective description of the task of the Metaphysical Deduction at B159, (ii) the retrospective description of the procedure of the "Guiding Thread" at A299/B355f., (iii) the section "On the A Priori Grounds for the Possibility of Experience" in the A-edition Transcendental Deduction of the Categories (A95-110), and (iv) §§15-21 in the B-edition Transcendental Deduction (B128-148).
The present interpretation of the Metaphysical Deduction thus emerges from a detailed and comprehensive analysis of the "Guiding Thread" that draws on related passages from the indicated portion of Kant’s corpus and, especially, on the aforementioned four passages from the Critique. Viewing these texts together and in a specific relation to one another suggests a reading which leaves little room for doubt. This sort of textually sensitive but charitable reconstruction helps to bring out the enduring force and interest of Kant’s philosophical position.