Kant and Rational Psychology

Kant and Rational Psychology

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Corey W. Dyck presents a new account of Kant's criticism of the rational investigation of the soul in his monumental Critique of Pure Reason, in light of its eighteenth-century German context. When characterizing the rational psychology that is Kant's target in the Paralogisms of Pure Reason chapter of the Critique commentators typically only refer to an approach to, and an account of, the soul found principally in the thought of Descartes and
Leibniz. But Dyck argues that to do so is to overlook the distinctive rational psychology developed by Christian Wolff, which emphasized the empirical foundation of any rational cognition of the soul, and which was widely influential among eighteenth-century German philosophers, including Kant. In this book, Dyck reveals
how the received conception of the aim and results of Kant's Paralogisms must be revised in light of a proper understanding of the rational psychology that is the most proximate target of Kant's attack. In particular, he contends that Kant's criticism hinges upon exposing the illusory basis of the rational psychologist's claims inasmuch as he falls prey to the appearance of the soul as being given in inner experience. Moreover, Dyck demonstrates that significant light can be shed on Kant's
discussion of the soul's substantiality, simplicity, personality, and existence by considering the Paralogisms in this historical context.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 162 x 240 x 23mm | 580g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 019968829X
  • 9780199688296

Table of contents

Note on Translations and Key to Abbreviations and Citations ; List of Important Figures in the History of German Rational Psychology ; Introduction ; 1. The Marriage of Reason and Experience: Wolff's Rational Psychology ; 2. From Wolff to Kant: Rational Psychology in the Eighteenth Century ; 3. Pure Rational Psychology and the Substantiality of the Soul ; 4. The Achilles and the Tortoise: The Simplicity of the Soul ; 5. The Aeneas Argument: The Personality of the Soul ; 6. Cartesian Questions: Idealism and the Illusion of the Soul ; 7. Kant's Impure Rational Psychology: Fundamental Forces and the Investigation of Inner Appearances ; Conclusion ; Bibliography
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Review quote

One can learn much from this careful study, which I recommend to all students of Kant, but especially to those who have neglected the intellectual context of Kant's developing thought. * Journal of the History of Philosophy * Dycks book is a formidable historical-contextualist account of Kants Paralogisms, which throws new light on certain aspects of the relation between Kants critique of rational psychology and the particularly Wolffian conception of a rational psychology that, as Dyck shows, takes empirical psychology as its starting point. * Dennis Schulting, Studi Kantiani * The first thing for me to say is how much I enjoyed Corey Dyck's book, and how much I learned from it ... the wealth of historical detail Dyck gives about Wolff's and his followers' philosophical methods, and about their conceptions of the relation between reason and experience, is incredibly interesting in its own right, but also makes sense of passages of the First Critique that I have never understood. * Scott Edgar, Critique * His work on Wolff and other figures immediately prior to Kant was eye-opening. I now see Wolff and his contemporaries in a completely different way ... In short, Dyck's book will make a difference. * Andrew Brook, Critique * Corey Dyck's Kant and Rational Psychology is something of a game changer. It is a prime example of a historically informed reading of Kant that completely revises how we ought to understand the aims, progression, and details of his arguments. The Paralogisms chapter of the Critique of Pure Reason ... is infamous for its complexity and convoluted nature, riddled as it is with apparently inessential and confusing side remarks and with excursions that seem to
contradict the main arguments. By carefully analyzing the conception of soul and rational psychology from Christian Wolff and the Wolffian tradition through the pre-Critical to the Critical Kant, Dyck succeeds in outlining a new thread of argumentation in Kant that utilizes and explains those hitherto
neglected, shunned, or even ridiculed passages. This feat alone makes Dyck's book an essential reading for anyone interested in, and working with, Kant's philosophy. * Toni Kannisto, Critique *
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About Corey W. Dyck

Corey W. Dyck specializes in the history of German philosophy, with an emphasis on the eighteenth century and Kant in particular. His recent research has focused on issues in metaphysics and the philosophy of mind in the period from Wolff to Kant, and he has published articles in Journal of the History of Philosophy, Kant-Studien, British Journal for the History of Philosophy, Philosophy Compass, Kantian Review, and the
Kant Yearbook. In addition, he has recently co-translated (with Daniel O. Dahlstrom), Moses Mendelssohn's Morning Hours: Lectures on God's Existence (Springer, 2011). He is currently an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario.
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