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Section One: Of the Source of Metaphysics

25 September, 2015 - 14:22

In presenting a branch of knowledge as science, it is necessary to be able to define with precision its distinguishing char- acteristic, that which it possesses in common with no other branch, and which is therefore specialto itself; when this is not the case the boundaries of all sciences run into one another, and no one of them can be thoroughly treated of, according to its own nature.

Now this speciality may consist in the distinction of its object, of its sourcesofcognition, of its modeofcognition, or lastly, of several if not all these points taken together, on which the idea of a possible science and of its territory primarily rests.

Firstly, as regards the sourcesof metaphysical knowledge, the very conception of the latter shows that these cannot be empirical. Its principles (under which not merely its axioms, but also its fundamental conceptions are included) must consequently never be derived from experience; since it is not physicalbut metaphysicalknowledge, i.e., knowledge beyond experience, that is wanted. Thus neither external experience, the source of physical science proper, nor internal experience, the groundwork of empirical psychology, will suffice for its foundation. It consists, then, in knowledge apriori, that is, knowledge derived from pure understanding and pure reason. …