Week 10 - The Dialectic of Reason

With Kant’s positive conception of cognition behind us, we turn this week to a look at two issues. First, we close out the Analytic of Principles with a discussion of phenomena and noumena. Second we start looking at Kant’s broader negative argument that constitutes the “critique” of reason proper. We’ll look at his conception of what the faculty of reason is, why it tends to lead us into illusion, and the form of these illusions.



  • What is the difference between noumena in the “positive sense” and noumena in the “negative sense”?
  • What is the faculty of reason, and what is its characteristic activity or function?
  • What is “transcendental illusion”?
  • Why does reason lead us into illusion?
  • What forms do the illusions of reason take?
  • What is the relevance of Kant’s critique of reason for metaphysics?