Imannuel Kant A Priori Vs A Posteriori Knowledge

662 words - 3 pages

Immanuel Kant argues that we posses knowledge that is both a priori and a posteriori. In "The Critique of Pure Reason", Kant explores the difference between a priori knowledge and a posteriori and between analytic and synthetic judgments. He begins by distinguishing what "pure" a priori knowledge is. He says that for a priori knowledge to be pure it has to be independent of not only one particular experience but from all experience. Kant uses the example,...(W)e would say of a man who undermined the foundations of his house, that he might have known a priori that it would fall, that is, that he need not have waited for the experience of its actual falling. But still he could not know this completely a priori. For he first had to learn through experience that bodies are heavy, and therefore fall when their supports are withdrawn.He defines an a priori judgment as having no possible exception and not being derived from experience. Therefore, a statement can be justified as a priori if, on the basis of pure thought or reason, one has a reason to think that the proposition is true. An example of a pure a priori statement is "every alteration must have a cause" because no prior knowledge is needed to understand the concept that everything that happens has a cause.Kant argues that a priori and a posteriori knowledge must exist together because one cannot exist without the other. If you examine any object and prove everything you know about it to be a posteriori, you are still left with the a priori concept that it is in fact an object and that it takes up space:If we remove from out empirical concept of a body, one by one, every feature in which it is merely empirical, the colour, the hardness or softness, the weight, even the impenetrability, there still remains the spaces which the body occupied, and this cannot be removed... If we remove all properties which experience has taught us, we yet cannot take away that property through which (it)...

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