Week 7 - The Transcendental Deduction

Once Kant has argued for which concepts should be considered the fundamental concepts of metaphysics (as he did in the Metaphysical Deduction), he then needs to argue that such concepts can legitimately be applied to what is given in sensibility. This is the task of the (in)famous “Transcendental Deduction of the Categories.” This week we’ll look at the overall structure of the Deduction, and consider the initial few sections in some detail.



  • What is a “deduction” of the categories?
  • What special difficulty do the categories face that the intuitions of space and time and their related concepts did not?
  • What is the aim of the Transcendental Deduction?
  • Does the TD need to prove that external world skepticism is false if it is to succeed?
  • What does it mean to say that the TD has “two steps”?
  • What might the first step of the TD argue?
  • What is the “original synthetic unity of apperception” and why is it important?