This volume provides English translations of texts that form the essential background to Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. Presenting the projects of Kant's predecessors and contemporaries in eighteenth-century Germany, it enables readers to understand the positions that Kant might have identified with 'pure reason', the criticisms of pure reason that had developed prior to Kant's, and alternative attempts at synthesizing empiricist elements within a rationalist framework. The volume contains chapters on Christian Wolff, Martin Knutzen, Alexander Baumgarten, Christian Crusius, Leonhard Euler, Johann Lambert, Marcus Herz, Johann Eberhard, and Johann Tetens. Each chapter includes a brief introduction that provides succinct biographical and bibliographical information on these authors, a concise account of their projects, and information on the importance of these projects to Kant's First Critique. Extensive references to the First Critique, brought together in a concordance, highlight the potential relevance of each text.
Eric Watkins is professor of philosophy at the University of California, San Diego. The recipient of grants from the Fulbright Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, he is the author of Kant and the Metaphysics of Causality, which won the Book Prize in 2005 from the Journal of the History of Philosophy.
1. Christian Wolff: rational thoughts on God, the world and the soul of human beings; also all things in general (1720); 2. Martin Knutzen: system of causes (1735); philosophical treatise on the immaterial nature of the soul (1744); 3. Alexander Baumgarten: metaphysics (1739); 4. Christian August Crusius: sketch of the necessary truths of reason (1745); 5. Leonhard Euler: letters to a German princess (1760-1762); 6. Johann Heinrich Lambert: treatise on the criterion of truth (1761); new organon (1764); 7. Marcus Herz: first letter (1770); second letter (1771); third letter (1771); observations from speculative philosophy (1771); fourth letter (1772); fifth letter (1776); 8. Johann August Eberhard: universal theory of thinking and sensing (1776); 9. Johann Nicolaus Tetens: philosophical essays on human nature and its development (1777).