Kant's Conception of Analytic Judgment



In the Critique of Pure Reason Kant appears to characterize analytic judgments in four distinct ways: once in terms of “containment,” a second time in terms of “identity,” a third time in terms of the explicative-ampliative contrast, and a fourth time in terms of the notion of “cognizability in accordance with the principle of contradiction.” The paper asks which, if any, of these characterizations—or apparent characterizations—has the best claim to be Kant's fundamental conception of analyticity in the first Critique. It argues that it is the second. The paper argues, further, that Kant's distinction is intended to apply only to judgments of subject-predicate form, and that the fourth alleged characterization is not properly speaking a characterization at all. These theses are defended in the course of a more general investigation of the distinction's meaning and tenability.