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Kant's First Critique


Admission requirements

Admission to the following programme is required:

  • MA Philosophy 60 EC: specialisation Philosophy of Knowledge


Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason has a credible claim to being the most important book of modern philosophy. Kant develops a new model of human cognition and a distinctive philosophical position, transcendental idealism, that amounts to a rejection of both empiricism and rationalism. In doing so, Kant is radically innovative and reaches dizzying heights of abstraction. For these reasons, the Critique of Pure Reason also has a credible claim to being among the most difficult books of modern philosophy. We will engage in a detailed reading of the entire book, but our focus will be on what are generally considered to be the most important and difficult parts, especially the Aesthetic and the Analytic.

Course objectives

This course aims to give students detailed insight into Kant’s thinking in the Critique of Pure Reason.

Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of:

  • Kant’s overall argument in the Critique of Pure Reason;

  • Kant’s mature theories about space, time, causation, knowledge, and the relation between mind and world.
    Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • explain Kant’s mature theories in theoretical philosophy and link them to the overall structure of the Critique;

  • fruitfully engage with the secondary literature on the first Critique;

  • apply Kant's ideas and draw well-argued philosophical conclusions from them.


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required.

Assessment method


  • Mid-term paper (20%)

  • Class presentations (20%)

  • Final paper (60%)

Active participation in class is required for admission to the exam.


The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of the two subtests (see above).


The resit covers the following exam component: paper (80%).
The grades for the other exam components (presentations) remain in place.

Active participation in class is required for admission to the resit.
Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examination cannot take the resit.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

  • Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason.
    It is advisable to do your primary reading in a language that you are very familiar with. For Dutch students, the Veenbaas/Visser translation published by Boom is well worth considering. However, in class we will use the Guyer/Wood English translation, published as part of the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant. (Whatever translation you use, make sure it contains both the A-edition and B-edition texts as well as page numbers.)

  • Sebastian Gardner’s Kant and the Critique of Pure Reason, Routledge Philosophy Guidbook.

  • Other materials to be announced and distributed on Brightspace.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetables for courses and exams.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc., contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga


Not applicable.