Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason is a masterpiece in metaphysics designed to explore the possibility of synthetic a priori judgments. A synthetic judgment is one whose predicate is not contained in the subject; an a priori judgment is one whose truth can be known independently of experience. Kant therefore in effect questioned how it is that statements in which the idea of the subject does not involve the idea of the predicate can nevertheless be true and can also be known to be true without recourse to experience.
To make the question clearer, Kant offered examples of analytic and synthetic judgments. The statement that “All bodies are extended” is offered as an analytic judgment because it would be impossible to think of a body, that is, a physical object, that was not spread out in space; the statement “All bodies are heavy” is offered as a synthetic judgment, because Kant believed that it is possible to conceive of a body without supposing that it has weight.
The judgment that “All red apples are apples” is analytic because it would be impossible to conceive that something that was red and an apple could possibly not be an apple; the predicate is, in this case, included in the subject. The judgment “All apples are red,” however, is synthetic, because it is possible to think of an apple without supposing it to be red; in fact, some apples are green. Synthetic judgments can be false, but analytic judgments...
(The entire section is 1515 words.)
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