Auto-affection and synthesis of reproduction

Kant-Studien 97 (3):369-381 (2006)
The Kantian notion of ‘affection’ is indeed problematic and obscure. In so far as the subject is finite and does not create the object of knowledge, the latter must always be somehow given. The passive faculty of sensibility makes it possible for the object to appear. But this receptive character of the subject correlates to some affection. Something affects us, and our sensibility receives this affection under the pure forms of space and time. The question that immediately arises is what performs the action of affecting. And any answer, in the theoretical framework of the transcendental idealism, is always troubling. If we say that the thing in itself affects us, we are speaking about something that is not cognoscible. If we say that the object performs the action of affecting, we are considering that the sensation that is involved in every experience is, at the same time, a result of an affection produced by the object of experience.
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