Kant's Synthetic and Analytic Method in the Critique of Pure Reason and the Distinction between Philosophical and Mathematical Syntheses



This article addresses Kant's distinction between a synthetic and an analytic method in philosophy. I will first consider how some commentators have accounted for Kant's distinction and analyze some passages in which Kant defined the analytic and the synthetic method. I will suggest that confusion about Kant's distinction arises because he uses it in at least two different senses. I will then identify a specific way in which Kant accounts for this distinction when he is differentiating between mathematical and philosophical syntheses. I will examine Kant's arguments in the Critique of Pure Reason with the latter sense of the distinction in mind. I will evaluate if he uses the analytic or the synthetic method and if the synthetic method is able to identify, without a previous consideration of some sort of given knowledge, sufficient conditions for deriving some aspects of our knowledge.