Kant elaborates that judgments are complex conscious cognitions, that:
1) refer to objects either directly (via intuitions) or indirectly (via concepts),
2) include concepts that are predicated either of those objects or of other constituent concepts,
3) exemplify pure logical concepts and enter into inferences according to pure logical laws,
4) essentially involve both the following of rules and the application of rules to the objects picked out by intuitions,
5) express true or false propositions, 6) mediate the formation of beliefs, and
7) are unified and self-conscious.
Correspondingly , a Kantian cognitive faculty is innate in the three fold senses, that:
1) it is intrinsic to the mind, hence a necessary part of the nature of the rational animal possessing that faculty,
2) it contains internal structures that are underdetermined by sensory impressions — which is the same as their being a priori, and
3) it automatically systematically synthesizes those sensory inputs according to special rules that directly reflect the internal structures of the faculty, thereby generating its correspondingly-structured outputs.
Understanding and sensibility are both sub-served by the faculty of imagination (Einbildungskraft), which when taken generically is the source or engine of all sorts of synthesis, but which when taken as a dedicated to task-sensitive cognitive faculty, more specifically generates:
1) the spatial and temporal forms of intuition,
2) novel mental imagery in conscious sensory states,
3) reproductive imagery or memories, and
4) schemata, which are supplementary rules for interpreting general conceptual rules in terms of more specific figural (spatio-temporal) forms and sensory images.
According to Kant , judgment is the mediate cognition of an object and hence it is the representation of a representation of it.
In every judgment there is a concept that holds of many (representations), and that among this many also comprehends a given representation, which is then immediately referred to the object.
All judgments are functions of unity among our representations, since instead of an immediate representation a higher one, which comprehends this and other representations under itself, is used for the cognition of the object, and many possible cognitions are hereby drawn together into one.
A judgment is nothing more than the way to bring given cognitions to the objective unity of apperception.
Kant’s questions the ground of the reference of that in us which we call representation to the object that is the possibility of valid mental representations, is the fundamental topic of Kant's “theory of cognition”.
Kant insists that justified true belief is scientific knowing which connects epistemology in Kant's sense directly with his conception of a science as a systematically unified body of cognitions based on a priori principles.
Kant holds that a belief constitutes scientific knowing if and only if the judgment underlying that belief is not only subjectively sufficient for believing but is also objectively sufficient one, and coherent with a suitably wide set of other beliefs, and also true, although it still remains fallible.
The objective sufficiency of a judgment for Kant is the inter-subjectively rationally communicable conscious state of “conviction”, which is also the same as “certainty”.
One of the most controversial, influential, and striking parts of Kant's theory of judgment is his multiple classification of judgments according to kinds of logical form and kinds of semantic content.
Indeed, the very importance of Kant's multiple classification of judgments has sometimes led to the misconception that his theory of judgment will stand or fall according to the fate of, e.g., his analytic-synthetic distinction, or the fate of his doctrine of synthetic a priori judgments.
The core of Kant's theory of judgment consists in the central thesis and the priority of the proposition thesis, both of which can still hold even if some of his classifications of judgments are rejected.
The table of judgments , in turn, captures a fundamental part of the science of pure general logic: pure, because it is a priori, necessary, and without any associated sensory content; general, because it is both universal and essentially formal, and thereby abstracts away from all specific objective representational contents and from the differences between particular represented objects; and logic because, in addition to the table of judgments, it also systematically provides normative cognitive rules for the truth of judgments and for valid inference.
Kant's table of judgments lays out an exhaustive list of the different possible logical forms of propositions under four major headings, each major heading containing three sub-kinds, as follows :
1. Quantity of Judgments : Universal, Particular, Singular
2. Quality of Judgments : Affirmative, Negative, Infinite
3. Relation of Judgments : Categorical, Hypothetical, Disjunctive
4. Modality of Judgments : Problematic, Assertoric, Apodictic.
For Kant , the propositional content of a judgment is more basic than its logical form. The propositional content of a judgment, in turn, can vary along at least three different dimensions:
(1) its relation to sensory content;
(2) its relation to the truth-conditions of propositions; and
(3) its relation to the conditions for objective validity.
The notion of cognitive content for Kant has two sharply distinct senses:
1) intension, which is objective and representational (semantic content); and
2) sensory matter, which is subjective and non-representational, reflecting only the immediate conscious response of the mind to the external impressions or inputs that trigger the operations of the faculty of sensibility.
To be sure, for Kant , just as for the Empiricists, all cognition begins with the raw data of sensory impressions.
But in a crucial departure from Empiricism and towards what might be called a mitigated rationalism, Kant also holds that not all cognition arises from sensory impressions: so for him, a significant and unique contribution to both the form and the objective representational content of cognition arises from the innate spontaneous cognitive capacities.
Applying the notions to judgments ,
it follows that a judgment is a posteriori if and only if either its logical form or
its propositional content is strictly determined by sensory impressions; and
a judgment is a priori if and only if neither its logical form nor its propositional content is strictly determined by sensory impressions and both are instead strictly determined by our innate spontaneous cognitive faculties, whether or not that cognition also contains sensory matter.
Kant also holds that a judgment is a priori if and only if it is necessarily true.
This strong connection between necessity and apriority expresses:
1) Kant's view that the contingency of a judgment is bound up with the modal dependence of its semantic content on sensory impressions, i.e., it’s aposteriority ,
2) his view that necessity is equivalent with strict universality or strenge Allgemeinheit, which he defines in turn as a proposition's lack of any possible counterexamples or falsity-makers, and
3) his view that necessity entails truth.
Kant's distinction between analytic and synthetic judgments is as:
(1) analyticity is truth by virtue of linguistic meaning alone, exclusive of empirical facts,
(2) syntheticity is truth by virtue of empirical facts, and
(3) the necessary statement vs. contingent statement distinction is formally and materially equivalent to the analytic-synthetic distinction.
A judgment is analytic if and only if its propositional content is necessarily true by virtue of necessary internal relations between its objectively valid conceptual microstructures or its conceptual comprehensions.
A proposition is synthetic if and only if its truth is not strictly determined by relations between its conceptual microstructures or conceptual comprehensions alone; and a judgment is synthetically true if and only if it is true and its denial does not logically entail a contradiction.
This is not to say either that synthetic judgments do not contain any concepts or even that the conceptual components of a synthetic judgment are irrelevant to its meaning or truth but only to say that in a synthetic judgment it is the intuitional components that strictly determine its meaning and truth, not its conceptual components.
In short, a synthetic judgment is an intuition-based proposition.
Combining the a priori-a posteriori distinction with the analytic-synthetic distinction, Kant derives four possible kinds of judgment:
(1) analytic a priori,
(2) analytic a posteriori,
(3) synthetic a priori, and
(4) synthetic a posteriori.
By virtue of the fact that analytic judgments are necessarily true, and given Kant's thesis that necessity entails apriority, it follows that all analytic judgments are a priori and that there is no such thing as an analytic a posteriori judgment.
By contrast , synthetic judgments can be either a priori or a posteriori. Synthetic a posteriori judgments are empirical and contingent although they may vary widely to their degree of generality.
Synthetic a priori judgments, by contrast, are non-empirical and non-contingent judgments.
Hanna, R., 2004, “Kant's Theory of Judgment”, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Retreived 2004,
2Kant in Hanna, R., 2004, “Kant's Theory of Judgment”, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Retreived 2004,
3 Hanna, R., 2004, “Kant's Theory of Judgment”, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Retreived 2004,
4 Kant in Hanna, R., 2004, “Kant's Theory of Judgment”, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Retreived 2004,
7 Kant, I., 1781, “The Critique of Pure Reason: Transcendental Analytic, Book II, Analytic Of Principles” Translated By J. M. D. Meiklejohn, Retrieved 2003
14Kant in Hanna, R., 2004, “Kant's Theory of Judgment”, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Retreived 2004,
23Hanna, R., 2004, “Kant's Theory of Judgment”, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Retreived 2004,