Schema (Kant) - Schemata of Systematic Unity

Schemata of Systematic Unity

In his discussion of the Architectonic of Pure Reason, Kant utilized the concept of schema in a way that was similar to his discussion of the schemata of the Categories. A science's whole systematic organization consists of parts. The parts are various cognitions or units of knowledge. The parts are united under one idea which determines the relation of the parts to each other and also the purpose of the whole system. A schema is needed to execute, carry out, or realize this unifying idea and put it into effect. This schema is a sketch or outline of the way that the parts of knowledge are organized into a whole system of science. A schema which is sketched, designed, or drafted in accordance with accidental, empirical purposes results in mere technical unity. But a schema that is drawn up from an a priori rational idea is the foundational outline of architectonic unity. Science must have architectonic unity. "For the schema of what we call science must contain the whole's outline (monogramma) and the whole's division into parts in conformity with the idea — i.e., it must contain these a priori — and must distinguish this whole from all others with certainty and according to principles." This use of the concept of schema is similar to Kant's previous use. It is a minimal outline, monogram, or diagram that realizes or executes an abstract, general concept or idea (Idee) as actual, perceptual experience.

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