In this article, I claim that the Antinomy of pure reason emerges as the result of synthetic activities that require succession. In this regard, I show that cosmological conflicts involve different kinds of representations: (1) cosmological ideas, purely conceptual representations of the unconditioned and the product of non-temporal synthetic activities; and (2) putative complete series of spatiotemporal conditions, which require temporal synthetic activities. As I show, purely conceptual representations cannot produce cosmological conflicts: The Antinomy requires the interaction of reason, understanding, and sensibility. I also discuss the maxim and principle of pure reason, how they lead to the unconditioned (and its different notions), and how the cosmological syllogism produces the Antinomy.
In his 1786 essay on the pantheism controversy, ‘What Does It Mean to Orient Oneself in Thinking?’, Kant implies that ‘the maxim of reason's self-preservation [Selbsterhaltung]’ is reason's first principle for orienting itself in thinking supersensible objects. But Kant does not clearly explain what the maxim or principle of reason's self-preservation is and how it fits into his larger project of critical philosophy. Nor does the secondary literature. This article reconstructs Kant's discussion of the principle of reason's self-preservation in ‘What Does It Mean to Orient Oneself in Thinking?’ It suggests that this principle is best understood as the discipline of pure reason. The principle of reason's self-preservation performs the same methodological function that Kant assigns to the discipline of pure reason. This principle establishes the rule of law in reason and subjects reason to its own laws. In so doing, it prevents reason's dialectical errors and also grounds reason's faith (Vernunftglaube), which in turn systematically conditions the practical use of reason.
The conclusion explains why the price for the architectonic unity of the initially separate systems of nature and freedom is a transcendental theology which implicitly commits reason to metaphysical assumptions about the order of nature which its critical part has explicitly ruled out. This is useful to understand why Kant later retracted the defence of physico-theology and converted it to ethical theology in the Critique of the Power of Judgment, a text where the problem of purposiveness is carefully distinguished from the use of ideas, and where we find a separate faculty responsible for the use of purposive principles: the faculty of judgment. Understanding the demand for systematic unity and its execution in the Architectonic of Pure Reason is crucial to make sense both of how that project developed in the first Critique, and of the need to return to a reconfiguration of the system in subsequent works.
This chapter places Kant’s remarks on the architectonic in historical context, and shows how Kant appropriates existing historical sources to advance his own project of the foundation of metaphysics as a science. His vision of philosophy as a unified discipline includes a scholastic and cosmic/cosmopolitan perspective. Kant endorses this distinction to emphasize the importance of systematicity and purposiveness as features of human reason, and appeals to the need for a purposive architectonic principle to integrate reason’s theoretical cognitions with its practical interest. This concept of purposiveness which orients the Doctrine of Method, the chapter argues, has been overlooked in many interpretations, but is helpful to restore the centrality of the Architectonic of Pure Reason to Kant’s overall critical system.
Kant influentially distinguished analytic from synthetic a priori propositions, and he took certain propositions in the latter category to be of immense philosophical importance. His distinction between the analytic and the synthetic has been accepted by many and attacked by others; but despite its importance, a number of discussions of it since at least W. V. Quine’s have paid insufficient attention to some of the passages in which Kant draws the distinction. This paper seeks to clarify what appear to be three distinct conceptions of the analytic (and implicitly of the synthetic) that are presented in Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and in some other Kantian texts. The conceptions are important in themselves, and their differences are significant even if they are extensionally equivalent. The paper is also aimed at showing how the proposed understanding of these conceptions—and especially the one that has received insufficient attention from philosophers—may bear on how we should conceive the synthetic a priori, in and beyond Kant’s own writings.