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The Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant
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THE CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON

by Immanuel Kant

translated by J. M. D. Meiklejohn



PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION, 1781

Human reason, in one sphere of its cognition, is called upon to
consider questions, which it cannot decline, as they are presented
by its own nature, but which it cannot answer, as they transcend every
faculty of the mind.

It falls into this difficulty without any fault of its own. It
begins with principles, which cannot be dispensed with in the field
of experience, and the truth and sufficiency of which are, at the same
time, insured by experience. With these principles it rises, in
obedience to the laws of its own nature, to ever higher and more
remote conditions. But it quickly discovers that, in this way, its
labours must remain ever incomplete, because new questions never cease
to present themselves; and thus it finds itself compelled to have
recourse to principles which transcend the region of experience, while
they are regarded by common sense without distrust. It thus falls into
confusion and contradictions, from which it conjectures the presence
of latent errors, which, however, it is unable to discover, because
the principles it employs, transcending the limits of experience,
cannot be tested by that criterion. The arena of these endless
contests is called Metaphysic.