Volume 16, 2008
Edgard José Jorge Filho
Concerning the Problem of Error in Kant
In the Introduction to the Transcendental Dialectic, of the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant presents a conception of error. In the (Jäsche) Logic, he also deals with the problem of error, albeit in a different way. This paper aims at exposing this difference and arguing that, in the (Jäsche) Logic, error is explained more
consistently and suitably than it is in the Transcendental Dialectic. It begins by considering judgment as the place of truth, falsehood and error, and inquiring into the cognitive faculties that take part in its framing. These faculties, whose roles cannot be interchanged, are the sensibility, passive and receptive, and the understanding, active and spontaneous. Erroneous judgment springs from the unnoticed influence of sensibility on understanding, which makes the
understanding hold merely subjective grounds of judgment to be objective ones. This unnoticed influence is conceived, in the Transcendental Dialectic, in such a way that sensibility is, in a certain sense, held to be the determining ground of error, as if it were an active faculty, whereas that influence is conceived in the (Jäsche) Logic in such a way that the understanding itself is regarded as the source and author of error. This authorship agrees with the conception of the understanding as submitted to prescriptive laws, which is contained in the very definition of Pure General Logic, as a science of the a priori laws of how the understanding ought to think.