UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

A New Interpretation of Kant's Formal Logic

Currie, Nicholas; (2022) A New Interpretation of Kant's Formal Logic. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

Full text not available from this repository.


This thesis outlines and defends a new reading of Kant’s formal logic (i.e., what he labels as ‘general, but pure logic’ (A53/B77)) which has significant ramifications for our understanding of Kant’s theory of cognition. According to the current interpretations, Kant’s claim that pure general logic is ‘formal’ and ‘abstract' is read as saying either that (i) logic concerns topic-neutral aspects of thought about objects, (ii) constitutive norms of thinking, or (iii) syntactic features of judgement. I reject all three of these interpretations in their current forms. I propose instead that Kant intends by means of these characterisations to signal that logic concerns the architecture of the discursive mind, i.e., a specifiable functional mechanism distinctive of spontaneity as such. An important feature of this interpretation is that Kantian formal logic must be understood as considering concepts, judgements, and inferences independent of any concern with the semantic evaluation of their use, whether this be in terms of reference, satisfaction, or truth. In defence of this interpretation, I trace the development of Kant’s views about logic and his early struggles with the dominant Wolffian conception of the nature of logic. I show how closely the emergence of Kant’s critical-era conception of logic is tied to the development of his faculty dualism. I argue that Kant’s critical views on logic are required to treat it as concerned with the other half of this cognitive divide from mathematics. This has the striking consequence of rendering Kant’s conception of logic at stark odds with the now dominant Tarskian formulation of the ‘common concept of consequence’ which treats logic as ‘a logic of number, [or] of numerical relations’ (Tarski 1986, p.151). This much is made more explicit through a full reconstruction of Kant's logical theory and an account of the form of thinking as a cognitive architecture.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: A New Interpretation of Kant's Formal Logic
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2022. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10141338
Downloads since deposit
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item