Critique of Pure Reason  

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HUMAN reason has this peculiar fate that in one species of its knowledge it is burdened by questions which, as prescribed by the very nature of reason itself, it is not able to ignore, but which, as transcending all its powers, it is also not able to answer. --incipit


"It still remains a scandal to philosophy . . . that the existence of things outside of us ... must be accepted merely on faith, and that, if anyone thinks good to doubt their existence, we are unable to counter his doubts by any satisfactory proof."


"Nothing, indeed, can be more harmful or more unworthy of the philosopher, than the vulgar appeal to so-called experience. Such experience would never have existed at all, if at the proper time, those institutions had been established in accordance with ideas." --Critique of Pure Reason, Kant

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Critique of Pure Reason, first published in 1781 (A) with a second edition (B) in 1787, is generally regarded as the most influential and widely read work of the German philosopher Immanuel Kant and one of the most influential and important in the history of Western philosophy. It is often referred to as Kant's "first critique," and was followed by the Critique of Practical Reason and the Critique of Judgement.

Kant saw the first critique as an attempt to bridge the gap between rationalism and empiricism — and, in particular, to counter the empiricism of David Hume — famously arguing that, although all knowledge begins with experience, it does not follow that it all arises out of experience (B1).

The Critique is one of the most important works in Western philosophy. In The World as Will and Representation, Arthur Schopenhauer wrote: "Kant's teaching produces a fundamental change in every mind that has grasped it."

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