The Bounds of Sense : An Essay on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason book cover
1st Edition

The Bounds of Sense
An Essay on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason

ISBN 9781138602496
Published September 25, 2018 by Routledge
328 Pages

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Book Description

Peter Strawson (1919–2006) was one of the leading British philosophers of his generation and an influential figure in a golden age for British philosophy between 1950 and 1970. The Bounds of Sense is one of the most influential books ever written about Kant’s philosophy, and is one of the key philosophical works of the late twentieth century. Whilst probably best known for its criticism of Kant’s transcendental idealism, it is also famous for the highly original manner in which Strawson defended and developed some of Kant’s fundamental insights into the nature of subjectivity, experience and knowledge – at a time when few philosphers were engaging with Kant’s ideas.

The book had a profound effect on the interpretation of Kant’s philosophy when it was first published in 1966 and continues to influence discussion of Kant, the soundness of transcendental arguments, and debates in epistemology and metaphysics generally.

This Routledge Classics edition includes a new foreword by Lucy Allais.

Table of Contents

Foreword to the Routledge Classics Edition – Lucy Allais


Part One: General Review

Part Two: The Metaphysics of Experience

  1. Space and Time
  2. Objectivity and Unity
  3. Permanence and Causality

Part Three: Transcendent Metaphysics

  1. The Logic of Illusion
  2. Soul
  3. Cosmos
  4. God

Part Four: The Metaphysics of Transcendental Idealism

Part Five: Kant’s Theory of Geometry



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P.F.Strawson was born in London in 1919. After serving as a captain in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers during World War Two he was appointed a fellow of University College Oxford in 1948. He first gained philosophical fame at the age of 29 in 1950, when he criticised Bertrand Russell's renowned Theory of Descriptions for failing to do justice to the richness of ordinary language. He was Waynflete Professor at Oxford from 1968-1987 and was knighted in 1977. He died in 2006.


'Strawson offers something which is to be found in very few books on this great philosopher: a discussion which is, on the one side, sympathetic, appreciative and well informed, without ever ceasing to be critical and independent on the other.'

Philosophical Books

‘ … his reconstruction of Kant's central argument was not only exciting in its own day, but remains a paradigm and a challenge for anyone else attempting a reconstruction of Kant's impressive but enigmatic argument that is to be both philologically and philosophically persuasive.’

Paul Guyer, Journal of the History of Philosophy

‘What is most impressive of all … is Strawson’s ability to hold small points within the setting of the overall picture, moving from one scale to the other and back again without breathlessness. He has made himself at home in the Kantian intellectual world, and has learned to move easily and naturally in it, yet familiarity has not dulled the sharpness of his perception of what has to be rejected.’

Philosophical Review

‘The title itself is a roguish stroke of genius.’