Causality and things in themselves

Synthese 77 (3):353 - 373 (1988)
Abstract
In this paper I examine Kant''s use of causal language to characterize things in themselves. Following Nicholas Rescher, I contend that Kant''s use of such causal language can only be understood by first coming to grips with the relation of things in themselves to appearances. Unlike Rescher, however, I argue that things in themselves and appearances are not numerically distinct entities. Rather, I claim that it is things in themselves that we are intentionally related to in veridical experience, though of course we know them only as they appear to us via our subjective experiential faculties. In light of this account of the role of things in themselves in Kant''s account of experience, I argue that his use of causal locutions to describe things in themselves is simply his attempt to capture the fact that as the objects that we are related to in experience, the existence of things in themselves is presupposed by any account of the nature of our experienceof them.
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