Some Challenges to “The Sentiment of Rationality”

  • Dorothy Emmet


The mention of Kant towards the end of the last chapter must have suggested a doubt which may long before have entered the reader’s mind. What of all this talk about the Speculative Reason; this assertion that there is still a place for pure metaphysics, with its ideal of a rational scheme? Has Whitehead fairly faced the problem set by the Critical Philosophy, the question as to whether the necessary logical laws of our reason are also the laws of things; the whole problem in fact of the relation of thought to reality which was set so forcibly by Kant, and afterwards by Bradley? Shall we not be forced to agree with a review of Process and Reality by John Dewey, and “close the book with the feeling that somehow the seventeenth century has got the better of the twentieth”?


Critical Philosophy Relational Thought Veridical Experience Concrete Fact Kantian View 


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  1. 1.
    I have drawn the greater part of this view of the a priori from C. I. Lewis’S Mind and the World Order (New York, 1929), from which the following quotation is also taken. I am greatly indebted to this book. It should perhaps be pointed out that by “veridical ” is here meant “non-illusory,” in the sense of “controlled by the real.” Kant indeed says at the beginning of the Transcendental Deduction (see Analytic of Concepts, ch. ii., § i., p. 124 in Professor Kemp Smith’S translation, London, 1929) that the categories are necessary to show “how subjective conditions of thought can have objective validity.” “For appearances can certainly be given in intuition independent of functions of the understanding.” But by “objectively valid” Kant means falling within the unity of apperception (cf. ibid., pp. 144 sq.). This is not synonymous with “veridical” as here understood in Lewis’S realistic sense.Google Scholar
  2. 1.
    J. Ward, A Study in Kant (Cambridge, 1922), p. 60.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Dorothy Emmet 1966

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dorothy Emmet
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of ManchesterUK
  2. 2.Lady Margaret HallOxfordUK

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