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Critique of Pure Reason (The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant)
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1. Read the Prolegomena first, or at the same time. That book, which is both clear and SHORT, is Kant's own account of what the Critique was meant to accomplish and what prompted him to write it. If you read the Prolegomena and think he's barking up the wrong tree, put off the Critique... until you change your mind. (The last bit doesn't apply to people taking a class, of course.)
2. Kant's lecture notes on Logic can also be useful because they show how he believed philosophical thought should be organized and expressed. Regardless of whether you take his so-called "logical method" seriously, no one denies that *Kant took it very seriously*, and once you can recognize it in the Critique, many passages become much easier to follow.
3. Don't expect a profound spiritual or aesthetic experience. I value this book as the first really satisfying rational explanation of why the world makes sense (turns out it has to!), but I won't claim it's any good as a guide to meditation, as a substitute Bible, as poetry, or even as prose. Contrary to his reputation, Kant is an excellent writer, but he's not trying to take you to a higher level here, or even to entertain you. At all.Read more ›
After much futile searching, I was informed that my university harbors a scholar of Kant and Schopenhauer who carries, at some level, international recognition. In fact, he is the translator of Schopenhauer's THE WORLD AS WILL AND REPRESENTATION, published by Prentice/Longman, a translation I would encourage you to pick up. You can find his name if you search for it here at Amazon. To get to the point, I contacted him expressing my concern over which translation of Kant's critique would be best, and this is what he said:
"I have to confess that I have not paid any attention to the Muller translation, probably because it is never cited by scholars working on Kant. That doesn't mean it's not good, but I just can't comment on that.
I will say that, unless one is working at the deeper levels of Kant scholarship - where one would presume at least some familiarity with German and sensitivity to spots in the translation where there are at least likely to be possible questions of translation - it almost certainly won't make much of a difference which of the translations you use. They are all at least that good.Read more ›
There are four previous English translations of this work: Francis Haywood (1838, revised 1848); JMD Meiklejohn (1855); F Max Müller (1881, revised 1896); and NK Smith (1929). All of these (save the first) have considerable merit. Meiklejohn shows considerable skill in making Kant speak idiomatic English. As Müller points out, however, Meiklejohn not infrequently flounders in Kant's monstrous gothic sentences, and loses the thread of meaning. As a native German speaker and scholar of language, Müller's 1881 version set the standard for this work for intelligibility, clarity, and readability.
Smith's version has been standard for many years, but even a cursory comparison of Müller with Smith will show that Müller often has a clearer grasp of the German, and provides a better expression of the key concepts. Smith had also come under the influence of the radical neo-Kantians, and his translation suffers severely from that.
Prospective readers of a great philosopher's work come to the work with certain expectations. They have the right to expect - nay demand - prose that reflects that greatness. Kant's great work is a work of literature, and must be respected as any other work of literature. He often employs literary devices (such as metaphor) to make his point clearer. Sensitivity to idiomatic English style must be paramount in the translation of so difficult a work as this.
In short: Translating a work of this kind calls for special talents. Guyer and Wood, unfortunately, do not possess these talents.
They have no credentials in literary translation, translation theory, or semiotics.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There are several highly important books for philosophers and each thinker has to study them. Undoubtedly, Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason is on of them. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Martin Baca
Despite the Cambridge edition being the current scholarly standard (USA), its word-for-word translation leaves much to be desired in clarity. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Natalie
On the basis of the actual content itself, I consider this book to be the single most important book ever written, hands down, it’s not even close. Read morePublished on May 21, 2014 by David Milliern
I had read Kant back in 1971-72 and thankfully it didn't have all the comments and other peoples opinions but I am suffering through it.Published on November 20, 2013 by bookwormser
...about a literal translation from 18th century German, with its long (50+ word) sentences and tendency to deeply "nest" clauses in a way fully supported by English but frowned... Read morePublished on June 18, 2013 by Edward G. Nilges
unbelievable price for such a great work, i am very satisfied with the quality as well as the price. ThanksPublished on March 27, 2013 by fuqi
The great epistemologist, ....the 'central figure of modern philosophy, who set the terms by which all subsequent thinkers have had to grapple. Read morePublished on December 18, 2012 by Noumenon
This is a fine English translation of Kant's seminal philosophical work. However, be warned, this work is *much funnier* in the original German. Read morePublished on August 14, 2012 by Jaco Foncillo