The nature and function of the categories in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, James Ward, S. Alexander
Bateman, J. V.
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The aim of this investigation is to discuss the merits of the three radically divergent views as to the nature and function of the categories held by Kant, Ward and Alexander.The scope of the study is expressly limited to considerations and problems of a general nature with reference to the epistemo-logical categories. Consequently, if, as some maintain, there are categories unique to the several sciences, our discussion may be described as confined to the categories of Consciousness. It is, therefore, not directly concerned with such subsidiary problems as the number of the categories, or the status of unique categories in such special sciences as morality and aesthetics.These delimitations of the problem require no apology. They are justified on the methodological principle that the basic issues of a problem should be thoroughly investigated and clearly defined before embarking on subsidiary questions.This subject was suggested some years ago by the very cavalier treatment of a priori categories in most contemporary thought. The recent appearance of several works giving explicit attention to the nature of the categories is a gratifying assurance that the problem is not a dead issue.The somewhat lengthy discussion of Kant is due (i) to the sharing of Professor Alexander's conviction "that with or after Plato there is nothing comparable in importance upon this subject with what may be learned from him,"; (ii) Exposition of Kant must be supported by detailed and extensive evidence in view of the conflicts of doctrine in the master himself, and the divergencies of interpretation among his expositors.In tracing the growth and development of the Kantian theory of categories in the seventies, the dating of the Reflexionen by Adickes in the Berlin edition is assumed as authoritative.