A Priori

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Everywhere, it seems to me, is an attempt to deflect attention away from Kant’s influence on German philosophy. Kant was very proud of his “Table of Categories”. In fact, few Kantian scholars assume that his idea of categories is the one to be blamed for the majority of Kantian textual ambiguities and disagreements. Kant took the idea of categories from Aristotle’s Organon. Organon is the standard collection of Aristotle’s six works on logic. Human thought systems are built on the foundation of categories. We use this structure to sort out distinctions between abstract groupings that will contain, among other things, concrete objects.

There are four classes of categories, namely:

(i) Quantity; (ii) Quality, (iii) Relation; and (iv) MODE.

Within each of these classes, there are three categories each, as follows:

  • QUANTITY – Unity; Plurality; Totality
  • QUALITY – Reality; Negation; Limitation
  • RELATION – Substance/Accident; Cause/Effect; Active/Passive
  • MODE – Possible/Impossible; Existence/Non-existence; Necessary/Contingent


Kant was proud of discovering a new faculty in man, the faculty of synthetic judgement, a priori. Synthetic Judgements are those judgements that are known through pure reason alone, independent of experience and further arguments. But how can synthetic judgments be free from any kind of experience and what kind of judgments are synthetic and with what knowledge they are made up of ? These are some of the first questions that come in our mind and Kant in these high times answered all these prime questions in just 5 words, i.e., By means of a means (faculty). The answer is quite weird, but let’s try to analyse it. Synthetic Judgements, according to Kant, are judgments that we obtain by the use of a faculty. When we talk about judgments, we’re referring to a piece of information, a belief, an idea, or a philosophical concept. Synthetic Judgements are judgments that are generated from a faculty and have a nature that is nearly identical to that of its faculty, as well as judgments that have already been prepared and only require a creative mind to raise their voice. People were quite delighted over this new faculty and feeling of happiness reached its climax when Kant further discovered a moral feeling in man, i.e., Reasons are also the source of morality, and that satisfaction and pleasing arises from a faculty of disinterested judgement.


Then came the dream time of German philosophy. All the young theologians of the Tübingen Institution (One of eleven German Excellence Universities) went on the search for new faculties and in such an innocent, rich and youthful period of german spirit, they were still unable to tell the difference between the two main concepts, i.e., “finding” and “inventing”. Above all a sense of the super sensible; Friedrich Wilhelm Schelling dubbed it “intellect intuition”, and thereby gratified the most earnest longings of the naturally pious inclined Germans.  However, as time passed, the world got older, and the dream faded away. Time only gives us one chance, and that chance is never given again in our lives. A time came when people rubbed their foreheads and still rub them. People had been dreaming of what Kant meant by his 5 words, By means of a means, and instead of focusing on a better explanation they were continually replacing an answer with a poorly understood concept. When the explanation does not explain anything, but only replaces one poorly understood phenomenon with another. The dialogist is in no way easier after the explanation and this is what we call as virtus dormitiva.

What matters in the synthetic Judgements is that we believe they are true and that they are necessary for our existence and preservation. It would be extremely difficult for us if the principles and values on which we operate were to abruptly shift. I’m not interested in changing my timetable since I do believe in Synthetic Judgements. Of course, while reasonable belief and supporting evidence are both important components of a holistic perspective on life, it is faith in the truth that is most essential.



Beyond Good And Evil, Friedrich Nietzsche

Seung, T. K. “Kant’s Conception of the Categories.” The Review of Metaphysics, vol. 43, no. 1, Philosophy Education Society Inc., 1989, pp. 107–32, http://www.jstor.org/stable/20128836.






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