- Paperback: 296 pages
- Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (10 April 1975)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0415040302
- ISBN-13: 978-0415040303
- Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 1.7 x 21.6 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 151,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Bounds of Sense: Essay on Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason" (University Paperbacks: 572) Paperback – 10 Apr 1975
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
The paradigm of the para-science Strawson accuses Kant of vainly attempting, undercutting his genuine discoveries in the process, is the distinction between appearances and "things-in-themselves", already questioned by Kant's most immediate successors: there is a logic to Kant's approach to the *Ding an sich* as something we can never truly know, but even if one accepts the necessity of the treatment one is left at the end with, well, something we can never truly know -- not too neat and tidy. However, Strawson admires much of the 'proto-analytic' drift of Kant in relation to the early-modern philosophers, seeing him as crucially employing something Strawson calls the "principle of significance": if we do not know what possible difference a metaphysical distinction would make to the way we think about the world, best to chuck it.
Strawson does not admire much in the first Critique that follows the Transcendental Deduction, seeing in major sections of the Analytic of Principles and the Transcendental Dialectic (the "Doctrine of Method" is not discussed) untenable theses only tenatively argued for. Many have wondered how much of Kant could be left after Strawson's warnings are heeded. However, once you have independently got Kant down Strawson's critical discussions will prove historically and systematically enlightening in a way a novice won't quite get. *The Bounds of Sense* is a classic, but only in the fullness of time will it be fully legible to you; put it on the "eventual" list if you are new to Kant.
Despite the fact that Strawson's attribution of inconsistency to K's TI isn't well argued or defensible, there is still much to learn here about good analytic philosophy (although not in terms of historical accuracy).
I also recommend: Guyer, Longuenesse, Allison, Langton, Stroud, Forster, McDowell's M and W, and A. Brueckner's UCLA dissertation on Kantian anti-skeptical strategies, as well as H. Ginsborg's Harvard dissertation on judgment. Also see Stern on Transcendental Arguments (Oxford UP).
Part One in Bounds of Sense is the General Review, which is important reading, especially the conclusion with its most elegant (and longish) last paragraph. This provides us with compelling reasons to take Kant seriously in our contemporary philosophical climate, despite Strawson's charge of the Second Analogy as a non sequitur of numbing grossness (a famous quote, p 28). Strawson is correct to hail the insights of the Trans. Deduction, which he says "are very great and novel gains in epistemology, so great and so novel that, nearly two hundred years after they were made, they have still not been fully absorbed into the philosophical consciousness" (p. 28). Outside of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Berkeley, Strawson is likely right in this characterization.
Part Two, Section 2 is useful reading. Strawson's work in Section 3.2, 3.3, and 3.8 is also useful (on permanence, objectivity, and the refutation of idealism). Part Four is important yet controversial (on K's TI). Part Five is also most valuable; it is on K's geometry.
Although this is a problematic and controversial text (and overall interpretation of Kant), for all that, it is also valuable and often insightful. I recommend this text in conjunction with reading Strawson's Individuals and K's Prolegomena (Cambridge or Hackett).