Maimon’s Theory of Differentials and the Applicability of Pure Concepts to Empirical Objects

Hernán Pringe



The paper translated and edited by Adam Grzeliński, Nicoalus Copernicus University in Toruń,

The article reconstructs the Salomon Maimon’s critique of Immanuel Kant’s doctrine concerning the applicability of pure intellectual concepts to empirical objects. According to Maimon, Kant’s standpoint is insufficient as a purely formal one; it explains how categories can be applied to experience in general, but it does not provide any explication of how determinate objects can be subsumed under categories. It is possible, Maimon claims, only if the two elements of cognition, pure concepts and empirical objects, are understood as effects of the spontaneity of human reason. The relation between the rule generating the matter of appearances and the matter itself can be exemplified by the relation between a function and its differentials. However, since the rule can be known only by a supposed absolute reason, Maimon is forced to define his standpoint as empirical scepticism.


Immanuel Kant; Salomon Maimon; transcendental philosophy; spontaneity; experience; differentials

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