Why is the transcendental deduction included in the section called "The Transcendental Analytic"? Are his principles in this section not synthetic? Is the principle of the necessity of the unity of apperception analytically true rather than synthetically? It has been suggested that in the title, "Transcendental Analytic," Kant means something different by "analytic" than he does by the term in "analytic a priori," that we are here dealing with homonyms, but that explanation seems too facile.

  • Kant outright says the apperception principle is analytical: "This fundamental principle of the necessary unity of apperception is indeed an identical, and therefore analytical, proposition." More generally, Kant invests a lot in the suffix -al (or its German counterpart), as in his difference between transcendent and transcendental, or then here analytic and analytical. So the Transcendental Analytic involves analytical and synthetical knowledge together. Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 21:51
  • How little I know of Kant. What happened to this one? cambridge.org/core/books/abs/cambridge-companion-to-kant/…
    – Gordon
    Commented Jan 9, 2023 at 4:35

1 Answer 1


In the original German, if I'm reading the text rightly, Kant uses "Analytik" as in "Transcendental Analytic," whereas he uses "analytische" as in "analytical a priori." Note that as far as translations into English go, much is put upon the suffix -al:

  1. A transcendent concept is one that is beyond the boundary of possible experience.
  2. A transcendental concept is one that is at the edge of the boundary of possible experience.

Similarly, the word "analytic" is used on/for the level of the whole faculty of discursion, whereas "analytical" is about specific moments of this faculty's employment (specific analytical judgments).

All that being said, the question of whether Kant's higher-order propositions are analytical, synthetical, a priori, or a posteriori has not (to my knowledge) been settled amongst Kant exegetes. Perhaps propositions like, "There is a difference between analytical and synthetical knowledge," or, "There are amphibolies," and so on and on, might fall into some sort of "analytical a posteriori" zone, the idea being that the claims of the critical metasystem are read off generic experiential cognition:

Thus also, the criterion or test of an hypothesis is the intelligibility of the received principle of explanation, or its unity (without help from any subsidiary hypothesis),—the truth of our deductions from it (consistency with each other and with experience),—and lastly, the completeness of the principle of the explanation of these deductions, which refer to neither more nor less than what was admitted in the hypothesis, restoring analytically and a posteriori, what was cogitated synthetically and a priori. [emphasis added]

Again, the apperception principle itself is stated by Kant to be known analytically:

This fundamental principle of the necessary unity of apperception is indeed an identical, and therefore analytical, proposition; but it nevertheless explains the necessity for a synthesis of the manifold given in an intuition, without which the identity of self-consciousness would be incogitable. For the ego, as a simple representation, presents us with no manifold content; only in intuition, which is quite different from the representation ego, can it be given us, and by means of conjunction it is cogitated in one self-consciousness. An understanding, in which all the manifold should be given by means of consciousness itself, would be intuitive; our understanding can only think and must look for its intuition to sense. I am, therefore, conscious of my identical self, in relation to all the variety of representations given to me in an intuition, because I call all of them my representations. In other words, I am conscious myself of a necessary a priori synthesis of my representations, which is called the original synthetical unity of apperception, under which rank all the representations presented to me, but that only by means of a synthesis.

  • Thank you all for answering my two questions. With regard to the title, "Transcendental Analytic," I think I understand what you are saying, that while "analytic" and "analytical" are related terms, there are nevertheless subtle differences in meaning. I read s/w online that Kant's terminology was borrowed from earlier logicians who used the term "analytic" to denote necessary truths and "dialectic" to denote opinion. If true, this explains much.
    – Gerry
    Commented Jan 11, 2023 at 2:23
  • That leaves the other question, are the transcendental principles analytic or synthetic? Are some analytic and others synthetic? What, exactly, is the principle of the necessary unity of apperception? Kant doesn't really state it in the form of a proposition.
    – Gerry
    Commented Jan 11, 2023 at 2:25

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