The cognition-knowledge distinction in Kant and Dilthey and the implications for psychology and self-understanding
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 34 (1):149-164 (2003)
Both Kant and Dilthey distinguish between cognition and knowledge, but they do so differently in accordance with their respective theoretical interests. Kant's primary cognitive interest is in the natural sciences, and from this perspective the status of psychology is questioned because its phenomena are not mathematically measurable. Dilthey, by contrast, reconceives psychology as a human science.For Kant, knowledge is conceptual cognition that has attained certainty by being part of a rational system. Dilthey also links knowledge with certainty; however, he derives the latter from life-experience rather than from reason. Dilthey's psychology begins with the self-certainty of lived experience and life-knowledge, but this turns out to fall short of cognitive understanding. In the final analysis, both Kant and Dilthey move beyond psychology to arrive at self-understanding. Because of his doubts about introspection, Kant replaces psychology with a pragmatic anthropology to provide a communal framework for self-understanding. Dilthey supplements psychology with other human sciences as part of a project of anthropological reflection.
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