What Can I Know?
Routledge – 2012 – 240 pages
Series: Kant's Questions
What can I Know? introduces and assesses what many consider to be the most important of all Kant’s great questions, set out in his Critique of Pure Reason, and one of the most important in philosophy itself: what are the bounds of knowledge?
Michelle Grier begins with a helpful survey of the question prior to Kant, in particular the arguments of the rationalists Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz and the empiricists, above all Hume. She describes, in a clear and engaging style, how Kant attempted to find a middle path between the two and what led to the famous "Copernican turn" in his philosophy. She explains the fundamental theories at the heart of Kant’s epistemology: the distinction between appearances and ‘things in themselves’; the transcendental unity of apperception; and Kant’s arguments concerning space and time.
In the second part of the book, Grier introduces the main criticisms of Kant’s philosophy, including those of Hegel and Nietzsche. The final part situates Kant’s epistemology in the context of contemporary philosophical debates including those in cognitive science. These include a priori knowledge, correspondence versus coherentist theories of knowledge, ‘naturalized’ epistemology and perception.
Including helpful chapter summaries and guides to further reading, What Can I Know? Is an outstanding introduction to Kant's epistemology and the legacy of Kant's question itself.
1. Introduction Part l 2. The Modern Period 3. The Copernican Turn 4. the Sensible Conditions of Knowledge 5. the Intellectual Conditions of Human Knowledge 6. The Limitation of Knowledge Part 2: Criticism of Kant 7. Kant’s contemporaries 8. Kant’s Influence on his Immediate predecessors Part 3: Kant’s Relation to contemporary Debates 9. Contemporary Philosophy of Knowledge 10. Cognitive Science, Neuroscience. Index
Michelle Gilmore-Grier is Professor of Philosophy at the University of California – San Diego, USA. Her main research interests are in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, History of Modern Philosophy, and post-Kantian European philosophy. She is currently working on the role of reason in Kant's moral and aesthetic theories, and on Nietzsche's conception of autonomy.