What pre-Copernican philosophy treats as two distinct matters-objecthood and knowability-are thus [in Kant's CPR] treated as one.


In pre-Copernican philosophy, there is a clear conceptual division between the question of metaphysics / ontology (what is the constitution of reality?) and the question of epistemology (how do we attain knowledge of reality?). These two sets of concerns are bound to be intermixed in any worthwhile philosophical system, but they remain from the pre-Copernican point of view separable in principle, due to the detachability of knowability from objecthood to which pre-Copernican philosophy is committed.

(Sebastian Gardner, Routledge Philosophy GuideBook to Kant and the Critique of Pure Reason, p. 39)

The way I understand this text is that objecthood relates to the question of metaphysics / ontology, and that knowability relates to the question of epistemology. This is is the kind of direct connection that I understand this text to make between these two terminological pairs.

Am I then correct in assuming that objecthood is the subject-matter of metaphysics / ontology, and that knowability is the subject-matter of epistemology (conclusion also based on the etymology of the words "ontology" and "epistemology")?

  • The point of him (valid as well for - more modern - Rorty and Putnam) is that ontology and epistemology are intimitely interrelated, i.e. we can know things only insofar as we know them as properties of objects and they are only objects insofar we (can) know of them. Thus, e.g. freedom, world, soul and God are no objects. Is you question really only about the terminology (body of the question), or is it about kantian philosophy and how they are interrelated (title of the question)? Because these are two different pairs of shoes, really. – Philip Klöcking Jul 18 '17 at 11:03
  • @PhilipKlöcking First of all, about the terminology, to make sure I have understood the text correctly. – ΥΣΕΡ26328 Jul 18 '17 at 11:06
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    At first sight, I would say: correct. See Ontology: "As a first approximation, ontology is the study of what there is [i.e. "objects"]. Some contest this formulation of what ontology is, so it's only a first approximation. Many classical philosophical problems are problems in ontology: the question whether or not there is a god, or the problem of the existence of universals, etc.. These are all problems in ontology in the sense that they deal with whether or not a certain thing, or more broadly entity, exists. " – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Jul 18 '17 at 13:07
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    "at a deeper level", maybe... According to the above commentary, in Kant's KRV the two "problems" are traeted as two sides of the same philosophical problem. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Jul 18 '17 at 13:35
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    Great question! Speaking as a "proceduralist", I might cast it as the distinction between Physics (constitution of reality) and Information Theory (how knowledge is attained and transmitted). – DukeZhou Jul 18 '17 at 19:56

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