Intrinsic natures: A critique of Langton on Kant

Abstract
This paper argues that there is an important respect in which Rae Langton's recent interpretation of Kant is correct: Kant's claim that we cannot know things in themselves should be understood as the claim that we cannot know the intrinsic nature of things. However, I dispute Langton's account of intrinsic properties, and therefore her version of what this claim amounts to. Langton's distinction between intrinsic, causally inert properties and causal powers is problematic, both as an interpretation of Kant, and as an independent metaphysical position. I propose a different reading of the claim that we cannot know things intrinsically. I distinguish between two ways of knowing things: in terms of their effects on other things, and as they are apart from these. I argue that knowing things' powers is knowing things in terms of effects on other things, and therefore is not knowing them as they are in themselves, and that there are textual grounds for attributing this position to Kant
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    Robert Merrihew Adams (1997). Things in Themselves. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 57 (4):801-825.
    Karl Ameriks (1982). Recent Work on Kant's Theoretical Philosophy. American Philosophical Quarterly 19 (1):1 - 24.

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