Oct 10, 2012

Elegi Menggapai 'Kant’s Basic Epistemological Question'

By Marsigit

Kanti starts his thinking by asking three fundamental questions: (1) What can I know?, (2) What should I do and (3) What may I hope for? He tried to answer the first question in the Critique of Pure Reason, the second question in the Critique of Practical Reason, and the third question in the Critique of Judgment.

In his critical philosophy, Kantii wants to find a synthesis of knowledge; but, unlike the medieval saint, his basis was epistemological rather than metaphysical.

Kant’s purpose was, in the manner of reversing the tendency and the process of modern philosophy, to criticize the validity of knowledge itself, to examine its operations, and to determine its limits.

The philosophy before Kant had been emphasizing on the knowledge of the objects of the external world, but Kant lays the stress on cognition and the way objects are determined by our understanding.

Kantiii states that if we want to understand the nature of the universe, we must look at man's mind. Due to the human mind is still the subject to limitations, it cannot be an absolute key of reality.

Although the human mind cannot supply the content of experience, it can give us the forms in which we perceive it. Kantiv calls his philosophy transcendental viz. that he is concerned not so much about phenomena as with our a priori knowledge of them.

However he prefers to find out in what way our minds deal with the objects of the external world.

Above all, Kantv wants to set forth the a priori principles which are fundamental in any epistemological investigation.

Therefore, Kant’s theory of knowledge is based on this a priori principles and on the synthatical judgment.

Kantvi went into every aspect of all the relevant problems attempted by previous philosophers; and thus, Kant’s works are found as repetitions of all earlier attempts to solve these problems.

Kant's fundamental question concerning epistemology is: How are synthetical judgments a priori possible?

According to Kantvii, the solution of the above problem is comprehended at the same time toward the possibility of the use of pure reason in the foundation and construction of all sciences, which contain theoretical knowledge a priori of objects; and upon the solution of this problem, depends on the existence or downfall of the science of metaphysics.

Accordingly, a system of absolute, certain knowledge can be erected only on a foundation of judgments that are synthetical and acquired independently of all experiences.

By the use of simple illustrations, Kantviii shows that synthetic judgments a priori are fundamental in mathematics, physical science, and metaphysics.

For exampleix, in mathematics we say that three plus four is seven. How do we know this? It’s not by experience but by a priori knowledge.

Moreover, we express a necessity in this judgment; past knowledge has shown that three plus four is seven, but we assert that the same case must hold true for the future.

Kantx calls a judgment as synthetical where the concept of the predicate brings to the concept of the subject of something which lies completely outside the subject.

Although it stands in connection with the subject, however, in analytical judgment, the predicate merely expresses something which is already contained in the subject.

Kantxi claims that knowledge in the form of judgment can only be attained when the connection between predicate and subject is synthetical in this sense; and it demands that these judgments must be acquired a priori, that is independent of all experiences.

Two presuppositionsxii are thus found in Kant's formulation of the questions; first, is that we need other means of gaining knowledge besides experience, and second, is that all knowledge gained through experience is only approximately valid.

It does not occur to Kantxiii that the above principles need proof that is open to doubt and they are prejudices which he simply takes over from dogmatic philosophy and then uses them as the basis of his critical investigations.

He made the same assumptions and merely inquired under what conditions that they are valid or not valid.

Cohen and Stadler in Steiner R. attempted to prove that Kant has established a priori nature of mathematical and purely scientific principles.

Howeverxiv, Kant in the Critique of Pure Reason attempted to show that mathematics and pure natural science are a priori sciences, in which the form of all experiences must be inherent in the subject itself and the only thing left is the material of sensations.

Kantxv builds up the material of sensations into a system of experiences in the form of which is inherent in the subject. Kantxvi claims that the formal truths of a priori theories have meaning and significance only as principles which regulate the material of sensation and they make experience possible, but do not go further than experience.

Kantxvii concludes that these formal truths are the synthetical judgment a priori, and they must, as condition necessary for experience, extend as far as the experience itself.

The capital featurexviii in Kant's Criticism of the Judgment is that in his giving a representation and a name to the idea. Such a representationxix, as an intuitive understanding or an inner adaptation, suggests a universal which is at the same time apprehended as essentially a concrete unity.

The principlexx, by which the reflective faculty of judgment regulates and arranges the products of animated nature, is described as the End or final cause of the notion in action in which the universal at once determinates in itself.

According to Kantxxi, reason can know phenomena only, there would still have been an option for animated nature between two equally subjective modes of thought.

Even, according to Kant's own exposition, there would have been an obligation to admit, in the case of natural productions, a knowledge is not confined to the categories of quality, cause and effect, composition, constituents, and so on.

The principle of inward adaptation or designxxii had been kept to and carried out in scientific application and would have led to a different and higher method of observing nature.

Thus, Kant's epistemology did not seek to obtain knowledge of the object itself, but sought to clarify how objective truthfulness can be obtained. He names it the transcendental method.

For Kantxxiii, cognition is judgment. Judgment is made in terms of a proposition, and in a proposition there are subject and predicate.

Knowledge increases through a judgment, in which a new concept that is not contained in the subject appears in the predicate.

Kantxxiv calls such a judgment "synthetic judgment." In contrast, a judgment in which the concept of the predicate already contained in the concept of the subject is called "analytical judgment."; in the end, new knowledge can be obtained only through synthetic judgments.

Although new knowledgexxv can be obtained through synthetic judgment, it cannot become correct knowledge if it does not have universal validity.

In order knowledge to have universal validity, it should not be merely empirical knowledge, but should have some a priori element independent of experience.

In order a synthetic judgment to have universal validity, it must be an a priori cognition, namely, a priori synthetic judgment.

So, Kantxxvi had to cope with the question: How are a priori synthetic judgments possible?; and Kant solved this question in three fields: mathematics, physics, and metaphysics; and the three main divisions of the first part of the Critique deal respectively with these.

As for Kantxxvii, the central problem of his philosophy is the synthetic a priori knowledge or judgment; Kant beliefs that all knowledge are reducible to the forms of judgment. Knowledgexxviii is obtained by judgments.

There are two judgments.

First, synthetic judgments i.e. judgments which expand our knowledge of nature or analytic judgments i.e. mere explications or explanations of what we already know.

Second, a priori judgments i.e. knowledge which are universally and necessarily valid or a posteriori judgments i.e. judgments which are merely subjective and do not possess the apodeicticity.

Kantxxix advocates that de facto there are synthetic a priori judgments in arithmetic, geometry, physics and metaphysics.

These sciences are not only possible, but also actual as our universal and necessary knowledge.

According to Kantxxx, in its synthetic a priori form all the laws and knowledge of those sciences are explicitly stated; however, there are differences between the pure mathematics, pure natural sciences and metaphysics. Seeing the former, we can ask only how they are possible at all.

For we have evidencexxxi while in the latter, we must ask how synthetic a priori knowledge is possible at all.

How is pure mathematics possible? Kant claims it is possible because it is pure a priori intuition.

How is pure physics possible? He claims it is possible because there are categories.

How is metaphysics as natural faculty possible? He claims it is possible because there are concepts of reason.

How is metaphysics as a science possible? He claims it is possible as Practical Sciences.xxxii

i Mayer, F., 1951, “A History of Modern Philosophy”, California: American Book Company, p.294
ii Ibid. p.294
iii Mayer, F., 1951, “A History of Modern Philosophy”, California: American Book Company, p. 293
iv Ibid.p.295
v Ibid.p.295
vi Steiner, R., 2004, “Truth and Knowledge: Kant’s Basic Epistemological Question”, The Rudolf Steiner Archive, Retreived 2004
vii Ibid.
viii Mayer, F., 1951, “A History of Modern Philosophy”, California: American Book Company, p.296
ix Ibid. p. 296
x Steiner, R., 1004, “Truth and Knowledge: Kant’s Basic Epistemological Question”, The Rudolf Steiner Archive, Retreived 2004
xi Kant, I., 1787, “The Critique of Pure Reason: Preface To The Second Edition”, Translated By J. M. D. Meiklejohn, Retrieved 2003
xii Steiner, R., 1004, “Truth and Knowledge: Kant’s Basic Epistemological Question”, The Rudolf Steiner Archive, Retreived 2004
xiii Ibid.
xiv In Steiner, R., 2004, “Truth and Knowledge: Kant’s Basic Epistemological Question”, The Rudolf Steiner Archive, Retreived 2004
xv Ibid.
xvi Ibid.
xvii Ibid.
xviii Hegel, G.W.F, 1873, “The Critical Philosophy: from The Shorter Logic”, translated by William Wallace, Clarendon Press. Retrieved 2004
xix Ibid.
xx Hegel, G.W.F, 1873, “The Critical Philosophy: from The Shorter Logic”, translated by William Wallace, Clarendon Press. Retrieved 2004
xxi Ibid.
xxii Ibid.
xxiii Kant, I., 1787, “The Critique of Pure Reason: Preface To The Second Edition”, Translated By J. M. D. Meiklejohn, Retrieved 2003
xxiv Ibid.
xxv Ibid.
xxvi Ibid.
xxvii Ibid.
xxviii Ibid.
xxix Kant, I., 1787, “The Critique of Pure Reason: Preface To The Second Edition”, Translated By J. M. D. Meiklejohn, Retrieved 2003
xxx Ibid.
xxxi Ibid.
xxxii Ibid.


  1. Widuri Asmaranti
    S2 Pend Matematika B 2017

    Pertanyaan mendasar epistemologi sangatlah diperlukan dalam diri. Untuk mengetahui sesuatu, memecahkan masalah terlebih dahulu kita mempunyai pertanyaan mendasar pada diri kita. Karena pertanyaan mendasar akan membangun pengetahuan awal untuk melanjutkan penerimaan pengetahuan yang baru. Pertanyaan yang mendasar salah satu contohnya ketika diberi suatu masalah, lalu kita akan bertanya tanya dalam diri kita mengenai apa masalah itu? Apa penyebabnya ya? Kira kira bagaimana ya menyelesaikannya?, pertanyaan kecil seperti inilah yang menjadi pertanyaan dasar dalam diri, untuk pondasi menyelesaikan masalah tersebut.

  2. Yusrina Wardani
    PPs PMAT C 2017
    Menurut Kant, ide dan konsep hanya dapat diaplikasikan apabila ada pengalaman. Tanpa pengalaman, seluruh ide dan konsep serta kebenaran tidak akan pernah bisa diaplikasikan. Akal budi manusia hanya bisa berfungsi bila dihubungkan dengan pengalaman. Kant adalah tokoh yang sangat mengedepankan pengalaman sebagai dasar menyatakan kebenaran.

  3. Arung Mega Ratna
    PPs PMC 2017

    Dalam filsafat kritis, Kant mencari sintesis pengetahuan dengan basis epistemologis bukan metafisik dengan tujuan membalikkan kecenderungan dan proses filsafat modern, mengkritik validitas pengetahuan itu sendiri, untuk memeriksa operasinya, dan untuk menentukan batas-batasnya. Kant menyatakan bahwa jika kita ingin memahami sifat alam semesta, kita harus melihat pikiran manusia. Meskipun pikiran manusia tidak dapat menyediakan konten dari pengalaman, tetapi bisa memberi kita gambaran untuk mengartikannya.

  4. Tri Wulaningrum
    PEP S2 B

    Elegi ini menjadi salah satu elegi yang memperkuat pentingnya berpikir kritis dalam kehidupan. Pertanyaan-pertanyaan mendasar dan pertanyaan lanjutan berkaitan dengan pertanyaan mendasar yang telah diutarakan merupakan salah satu metode dalam berpikir kritis. Maka, dengan cara berpikir kritis inlah seseirang akan mampu memperoleh pengetahuan. Kemudian dengan mengkolaborasikan metode berpikir kritis dan aspek lainnya (seperti dengan menggunakan pengalaman sebelumnya dan meningkatkan kepekaan sistem indera) akan memperkokoh konstruksi pengetahuan yang kita miliki. Pada artikel di atas, saya memperoleh informasi jika terdapat beberapa cara menurut Kant dalam memperoleh pengetahuan. Pertama, kita membutuhkan cara lain untuk mendapatkan pengetahuan selain pengalaman. Kedua, adalah bahwa semua pengetahuan yang didapat melalui pengalaman tidak semuanya valid. Oleh karena itu untuk memperoleh pengetahuan yang kokoh, kita harus mengkolaborasikan semuanya.

  5. Muh Wildanul Firdaus
    Pendidikan matematika S2 kls C

    Kant memulai pemikirannya dengan mengajukan tiga pertanyaan mendasar: (1) Apa yang bisa saya ketahui?, (2) Apa yang harus saya lakukan? dan (3) Apa yang mungkin saya harapkan? Dia mencoba menjawab pertanyaan pertama di Critique of Pure Reason, pertanyaan kedua dalam Critique of Practical Reason, dan pertanyaan ketiga dalam Critique of Judgment.

  6. Yusrina Wardani
    PPs PMAT C 2017
    Kant menganggap kondisi tertentu dalam pikiran manusia ikut menentukan konsepsi. Apa yang kita lihat dianggap sebagai fenomena dalam ruang dan waktu yang disebut bentuk intuisi, mendahului setiap pengalaman. Kant berargumen bahwa obyek mengarahkan diri ke subyek.

  7. Nama: Dian Andarwati
    NIM: 17709251063
    Kelas: Pendidikan Matematika (S2) Kelas C

    Assalamu’alaikum. Immanuel Kant menyatakan bahwa pengetahuan manusia tidak melebihi dari pengalaman inderawinya. Menurut Kant dalam setiap proses mengetahui unsur sintesis antara aperiori dan aposteriori tersebut muncul bersamaan. Indera menangkap sensai dari objek sementara “ruang dan waktu” yang bersifat apriori memberikan kemungkinan manusia untuk mengetahuinya. Terkait dengan objek Kant membaginya menjadi dua, yakni apa yang berada dibalik objek (nomena) dan yang menampakkan diri kepada kita (fenomena). Bagian yang terakhir inilah yang dapat diketahui oleh manusia, bukannya “nomena” sebagaimana klaim para metafisis.

  8. Kartika Pramudita
    PEP S2 B

    Pertanyaan dasar Kant adalah tentang apa yang bisa diketahui, dilakukan, dan diharapkan. Pertanyaan tersebut berkaitan dengan cara memperoleh pengetahuan. Berdasarkan bacaan tersebut, sesuatu dapat menjadi pengetahuan apabila diperoleh secara sintetis. Cukup dengan cara sintesis saja sudah mampu memperoleh pengetahuan. Suatu hal dianggap sebagai pengetahuan apabila dapat berlaku secara universal. Untuk menjadikan pengetahuan yang diperoleh secara sintetik tersebut dapat bersifat universal maka harus merupakan a priori.

  9. Isoka Amanah Kurnia
    PPs Pendidikan Matematika 2017 Kelas C

    Knowledge arises or begins with a question. Something questioned, then it will be a science. So that there may be exist because of the question. Kant's main goal is to show that man can understand the realities of nature and morals by using his mind. In addition, synthetic a priori mathematics can be constructed through three stages of intuition: sensory intuition, sense intuition, and gentle intuition which, according to Kant, all mathematical results are a priori knowledge, which is then observed and made the step toward that knowledge.