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International Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 51, Issue 3, September 2011

Paul Symington
Pages 285-301

Metaphysics Renewed
Kant’s Schematized Categories and the Possibility of Metaphysics

This article considers the significance of Kant’s schematized categories in the Critique of Pure Reason for contemporary metaphysics. I present Kant’s understanding of the schematism and how it functions within his critique of the limits of pure reason. Then I argue that, although the true role of the schemata is a relatively late development in Kant’s thought, it is nevertheless a core notion, and the central task of the first Critique can be sufficiently articulated in the language of the schematism. A surprising result of Kant’s doctrine of the schematism is that a limited form of metaphysics is possible even within the parameters set out in the first Critique. To show this, I offer contrasting examples of legitimate and illegitimate forays into metaphysics in light of the condition of the schematized categories.

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