Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason: A Copernican Revolution in Philosophy

Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason: A Copernican Revolution in Philosophy

This course presents a comprehensive picture of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason.

Course code: PHILEN026

Professor: Dr. Theogene Havugimana

Immanuel Kant’s significant and influential contribution to philosophy has made him one of the most influential philosophers in the history of the western philosophical thought. His philosophy extends to numerous fields, including epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, politics, aesthetics, cosmology, psychology, geography, religion, and anthropology. Tracing the roots of his revolutionary critical thought back in his 1770’s Inaugural Dissertation (De Mundi Sensibilis atque Intelligibilis Forma et Principiis), this course focuses on his monumental work, namely his Critique of Pure Reason (Kritik der reiner Vernunft) (CPR). Its primary task is not to examine the length and breadth of the entire Kant's First Critique but to focus on this work's revolutionary character.

This course presents a comprehensive picture of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. While providing an in-depth explanation of the key elements in the First Critique, its primary aim is the study of Transcendental Aesthetic and Analytic, and to show and explain, based on Kant's text and with the help of some secondary literature, how the analogy of Kant's critical project with the Copernican Revolution introduced a revolutionary approach into his philosophical thought.

Taking into account Kant’s milieu and its influence on his thought, this course considers, among other things, Kant’s early encounter with German metaphysics (G.W Leibniz and Christian Wolff) and David Hume’s influence on his systematically well-elaborated critical examination of the cognitive faculties of the human mind (sensibility, understanding, and reason). 


This course covers several topics of the Critique of Pure Reason. Its objective is three-fold. First, to show how the major philosophical controversies of Kant's intellectual milieu influenced his critical turn. Second, to provide a deeper understanding of Kant's analogy of his philosophical project with the Copernican Revolution and how this analogy guides his entire argument in the Transcendental Aesthetic and Analytic and provides him with the key to formulate his criticisms of Metaphysics in the Transcendental Dialectic. Third, based on the primary sources and secondary literature analysis and commentary, this course aims to enhance the student's ability to analyse Kant's primary texts and reconstruct and evaluate his complex arguments. 


Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the major problems Kant is tackling in the Critique of Pure Reason, more specifically in the Transcendental Aesthetic and Transcendental Analytic.
  2. Understand and evaluate Kant’s Copernican analogy.
  3. Engage with and confidently assess Kant's primary texts and undo his argument's complex structure.

Lectures Overview 

This course consists of twelve lectures that follow Kant’s argument in the Transcendental Aesthetic and Transcendental Analytic. In keeping the line of Kant’s argumentation, each new lesson builds upon the previously learned material's arguments. Important themes become gradually reminded through the spaced repetition learning technique. Before starting a new lecture, the student is expected to read the required primary texts. Upon completing every lecture, the student is invited to evaluate his knowledge through the provided study questions.


  • Kant’s Intellectual Milieu
  • The Project of the Critique of Pure Reason: A Copernican Revolution
  • Title, Structure, Content, and basic terminology of the First Critique
  • The standard picture of Kant’s transcendental, critical and idealistic
  • philosophy
  • Transcendental Aesthetic: Space and Time and Transcendental Idealism
  • The idealism of space and time: Groundwork of Kant’s criticisms of metaphysics
  • Transcendental Logic: Analytic of Concepts
  • Transcendental Deduction of the Categories in A Edition
  • Transcendental Deduction of the categories in B edition
  • Analytic of principles: the schematism chapter
  • Analytic of Principles: Analogies of Experience
  • Kant’s Copernican Analogy and the criticism of metaphysics:Transcendental Dialectic