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Kant and the Empiricists: Understanding Understanding

Oxford University Press (2005)

(Available at OUP)

This book is a systematic attempt to read Kant through the British Empiricists, and the British Empiricists through Kant. It is, so far as I know, the first work of its kind, and was written in the belief that there is an affinity between their theories of understanding and self so fundamental and important that, in the cases of Hume and Kant particularly, their differences pale by comparison with what unites them.

Because this interpretation runs contrary to the prevailing contemporary outlook, I have undertaken to examine the philosophies of Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant in sufficient depth and detail to expose the gaps, preconceptions, and misunderstandings that, in my view, have contributed to obscuring the underlying continuity and unity of their thought. Due to the scope and complexity of this work, I have tailored it to the needs of different readerships. It does not need to be read consecutively, and the parts can stand quite well on their own. This is true above all of the book’s division into two volumes, Understanding Understanding, focusing mainly on the British Empiricists, and Time out of Mind, centered principally on Kant.