Skip to main content Accessibility help

Kant's Analysis of the Paralogism of Rational Psychology in Critique of Pure Reason Edition B

  • J. D. G. Evans (a1)

One third of the transcendental dialectic in Kant's Critique of Pure Reason is devoted to demolishing the pseudo-science of rational psychology. In this part of his work Kant attacks the idea that there is an ultimate subject of experience — the ‘I’ or Self — which can only be investigated and understood intellectually. The belief that such a study is possible is natural to human reason; but it is based on demonstrable error. Kant tries to exorcize our minds from falling prey to this mistake.

Hide All


1 Critique of Pure Reason, A340–3/B398–401.

2 Of modern discussions of Kant's argument, the one which approaches closest to my own is Kitcher, Patricia, Kant's Transcendental Psychology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990), esp. pp. 181–94. Much less satisfactory is Brook, Andrew, Kant and the Mind (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), pp. 113–14.Bennett, Jonathan, Kant's Dialectic (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1974), pp. 72–6, indicates a preference for Kant's A edition version of this material over the B edition, but he does not give adequate reason for this unlikely strategy.

3 Critique of Pure Reason, B164, A189–91/B234–6; cf. Strawson, P. F., The Bounds of Sense (London: Methuen, 1966), pp. 255–6.

4 Bennett, J., ‘The simplicity of the soul’, Journal of Philosophy, 64 (1967), 648–60.

5 See further Evans, J. D. G., ‘The codification of false refutations in Aristotle's De Sophisticis Elenchis’, Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society, 21 (1975), 4252.

6 Kant's brief comments on the sophisma figurae dictionis in the Hechsel Logic, pp. 110–11, and the Jäsche Logic, section 90 (Young, J. M., Immanuel Kant: Lectures on Logic (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), pp. 410, 628) are sound and consistent with what he says here in the Critique of Pure Reason.

7 For further discussion of these conceptual points, see Anscombe, G. E. M., ‘The intentionality of sensation’, in Butler, R. J. (ed.), Analytical Philosophy: Second Series (Oxford: Blackwell, 1968), pp. 158–80. I have developed these ideas much further in Evans, J. D. G., ‘Souls, attunements and variation in degree: Phaedo 93—4’, International Philosophical Quarterly, 34 (1994), 277–87, and ‘Platonic arguments’, Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume, 70 (1996), 177–93.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Kantian Review
  • ISSN: 1369-4154
  • EISSN: 2044-2394
  • URL: /core/journals/kantian-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed