Goodbye, Kant!

What Still Stands of the Critique of Pure Reason

By Maurizio Ferraris
Translated by Richard Davies

Subjects: Philosophy, History Of Philosophy, Philosophy Of Science
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Italian Philosophy
Paperback : 9781438448084, 146 pages, July 2014
Hardcover : 9781438448091, 146 pages, November 2013

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Table of contents

List of Figures
1. Kant’s revolution
Why start a revolution
The rationalists and the Library of Babel
The empiricists and Funes the Memorious
Refounding metaphysics by overturning the point of view
2. The basic claims
The scheme of the work
The metaphysics of experience
Five ontological theses
Two epistemological theses
Where to find them
3. What is inherited (Examination)
New wine in old bottles
Kant’s metaphysics
The models of the Critique of Pure Reason
The naturalization of physics
4. What is novel (Examination)
Kant and the platypus
Phenomenon and noumenon
Deduction, schematism, and imagination
The hundred thalers
Synthetic a priori judgments
Are synthetic a priori judgments possible?
Dogmas of empiricism and dogmas of transcendentalism
5. The Transcendental Fallacy (Examination)
A semi-catastrophe
The purloined letter
A mind-dependent world
An avoidable fallacy
6. Conceptual Schemes and Phenomena
Over-powerful spectacles
The Thesis of Conceptual Schemes
Are intuitions without concepts blind?
Are concepts without intuitions empty?
The Thesis of the Phenomena
7. Space and Time
What is the Transcendental Aesthetic?
The meaning of mathemathization
8. Self, Substance, and Cause
Self: The world as representations
9. Logical apparatus (Examination)
A complicated contrivance
First Gadget: Judgments and Categories (Metaphysical deduction)
Second Gadget: Deduction
Deduction A: Theory of knowledge
Deduction B: Transcendental psychology
Third Gadget: The Schematism
How a schema works: Kant’s hints
How a schema works: A speculative hypothesis
The timeline
Why it doesn’t work
Could it have worked?
Fourth Gadget: Principles
Afterword on reciprocal action
10. From phenomena to screwdrivers
The deduction of naturalization
The Critique of Practical Reason
The Critique of Judgment

11. Reckoning with the revolution
A spectre is haunting Europe
Kant and Talleyrand
An Iroquois in Paris
From Kant to Kafka

A penetrating and freewheeling evaluation of Kant's magnum opus.


A best seller in Italy, Maurizio Ferraris's Goodbye, Kant! delivers a nontechnical, entertaining, and occasionally irreverent overview of Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. He borrows his title from Wolfgang Becker's Goodbye Lenin!, the 2003 film about East Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall, which depicts both relief at the passing of the Soviet era and affection for the ideals it embodied. Ferraris approaches Kant in similar spirits, demonstrating how the structure that Kant elaborates for the understanding of human knowledge can generate nostalgia for lost aspirations, while still leaving room for constructive criticism. Isolating key themes and concerns in the work, Ferraris evaluates Kant's claims relative to what science and philosophy have come to regard as the conditions for knowledge and experience in the intervening two centuries. He remains attentive to the historical context and ideals from which Kant's Critique emerged but also resolute in identifying what he sees as the limits and blind spots in the work. The result is an accessible account of a notoriously difficult book that will both provoke experts and introduce students to the work and to these important philosophical debates about the relations of experience to science.

Maurizio Ferraris is Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Turin in Italy. His many books include Documentality: Why It Is Necessary to Leave Traces, also translated by Richard Davies. Richard Davies is Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Bergamo, Italy, and author of Descartes: Belief, Scepticism and Virtue.


"Goodbye, Kant! is an entertaining, irreverent summary and dismissal of Kant's arguments in Critique of Pure Reason. " — Journal of Critical Realism

"This short book provides an accessible account of a very difficult one, the Critique of Pure Reason, by far the most influential of Kant's works … [it] provides food for thought for both experts and students. " — Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews