Riga: bey Johann Friedrich Hartknoch, 1790. Kant published his great masterpiece in 1781, and a second edition appeared in 1787. Kant revised the work substantially for the second edition, and this third edition consolidates those changes. This is the first issue of the third edition. A later issue is called "Dritte unveraenderte Auflage." Small ink notation on title-page, title lightly foxed. A very good copy. A bit later drab boards with sheep backstrip, gilt spine with paste-paper label. Octavo. XLIV, 884 pp. Item #15990
Kant must be regarded as one of the most important, if not the greatest, philosopher of the modern era. Born in Köningsberg in East Prussia, he was educated at the university there and subsequently passed a quiet life as a member of the faculty, first as Privatdozent and then, after 1770, as professor of logic and metaphysics. He was the first major philosopher of modern times who was also always a teacher of philosophy. Like Plato and Aquinas, Kant was a synthesizer, starting from the groundwork laid by Locke, Leibniz, and especially Hume, with whom he was philosophically most sympathetic, and fabricating a system of thought that underlay the philosophizing of several succeeding generations.
The present work was the first great product of Kant’s innovative philosophy, appearing originally in 1781. It displays a considerable improvement over his predecessors’ theories of cognition. Earlier thinkers regarded perceptions as of discrete events, unrelated except by habit (as Leibniz), or incapable of being connected by the mind (Hume). Rejecting Cartesian metaphysics, Leibnizian monadism, and the negation of real cognition arrived at by Hume through Locke, Kant formulated a theory of cognition as a synthetic act, operating through the mental combination of detached elements of experience. In his view, spatial and temporal relations are essential forms of our consciousness; therefore, our perceptions are ordered in the very process of perceiving, making understanding and the acquisition of knowledge possible.