Criticism is the theory or doctrine that develops an investigation about the possibilities of knowledge, taking into account its sources and limitations. This system of philosophy was proposed by Immanuel Kant (1724-1804).

It is important to mention that, although criticism is associated with Kant, there are other kinds of criticism. The so-called Kantian criticism arose from a criticism of empiricism and rationalism, considering that these doctrines do not take into account the active role of the individual in the cognitive process.

Criticism was devised by Immanuel Kant.

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Kant’s criticism

Kant sought to establish a link between universal laws and the certainty that knowledge is generated from sensory experiences. If knowledge derives from the senses, the facts are individual and it is not possible to know general principles.

Given this, Kant’s criticism distinguishes between analytical judgments (which are independent of nature and can be established universally) and synthetic judgments (linked to the experience of a particular event). While analytical judgments are a priori and do not increase knowledge, synthetic judgments do increase knowledge. These synthetic judgements, since they depend on an experience of a concrete fact, seem to be a posteriori, although KantHe maintains that science has to generate affirmations that are not contingent. Scientific activity, therefore, consists in substantiating synthetic judgments a priori: establishing statements that are universally valid and independent of the enumeration of verified events.

Criticism analyzes the sources, possibilities and limits of knowledge.

Senses and perception

According to criticism, in short, it can be said that everything in the intelligence comes from the experience of the senses, although not all knowledge comes from what is perceived with the senses. Something is known when the intellectual faculties are applied to the object of knowledge: what is known, in this way, has its origin in the known object, but also in an intellectual structure (composed of the forms of perception, understanding and reason).

Perception is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information so that we can represent and understand the environment and the information presented to us. Understanding is defined as “ the faculty of thinking”, and it is the capacity that allows us to make a discernment of the way in which the parts of a matter are related to each other and then integrate them. Thanks to reason, we can identify and question concepts, as well as induce or deduce new ones from known ones.

Criticism and universal laws

One of the problems that the criticism tried to solve was the apparent existence of universal laws, which are expressed in fields such as mathematics. For example, faced with a simple sum of two integers, it is not easy to maintain that there is more than one possible result: it is correct to say that 4 + 3 always yields 7.

Let us not forget that this doctrine proposes that it is only through what the senses experience that we can access knowledge, without the influence of general principles, but simply individual objects and events.


Criticism is a philosophical system according to which epistemology is a fundamental and independent discipline, prior to any other, which is why it is necessary to define it. Epistemology is a branch of philosophy that focuses on knowledge as an object of study.

Among the main problems addressed by epistemology are the historical, psychological and sociological circumstances that lead to obtaining knowledge, as well as the criteria by which it can be justified or invalidated. It is also concerned with clearly and precisely defining concepts such as reality, truth, justification, and objectivity. It is possible that its emergence took place in Ancient Greece, initially at the hands of Plato and Parmenides, among other philosophers.