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The problem of the use of understanding in the Critique of Pure Reason: the limit of the knowable and the amplitude of the cogitable

Grant number: 19/11844-1
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2019
Effective date (End): July 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy
Principal researcher:Paulo Roberto Licht dos Santos
Grantee:Larissa Gabriele Soares da Silva
Home Institution: Centro de Educação e Ciências Humanas (CECH). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil


The Critique of Pure Reason affirms in several places the necessity of the perfect correlation between sensibility and understanding for the existence of knowledge, as in the well-known passage that "Without sensibility no object would be given to us, without understanding no object would be thought. Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind." (CPR, A51/B75) In those terms, none of these faculties "has primacy over the other" or relation of superiority, but both are complementary to knowledge. However, elsewhere in the Critique, Kant seems to assert that human understanding would possess not only greater amplitude than sensibility, but also an legitimate use, non-dogmatic, without the intervention of sensibility (CPR, B166). The same is true in the Logic of Jäsche, when Kant affirms, with respect to logical perfection and aesthetic perfection, that the former has primacy over the latter, calling it the higher faculty of knowing (Log., AA: 53). The problem here is to know how, despite the critical thesis of the necessary complementarity between sensibility and understanding for knowledge, there could be the unrestrainedness, critically legitimate, of the own understanding when unrelated to sensibility, as it is affirmed by the Logic of Jäsche and by the Transcendental Deduction in the second edition of the Critique.

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