I seek to show in this paper how, in addressing the concept of “I” and the question of self-knowledge in the Critique of Pure Reason, one encounters a paradox, which is essentially a consequence of the doctrine of transcendental idealism. I point to Kant's concept of “I” and its three co-constitutive perspectives. The importance of the concept of subject and its intertwining with the concept of reason is pointed out, as also how these two concepts appear in the text of (...) the Critique of Pure Reason as presuppositions. Subsequently, I deal with some basic questions of transcendental idealism. Finally, I briefly present the three perspectives of the "I": as a phenomenon, as a transcendental structure, and as a noumenon. I conclude by bringing back what Kant himself conceives as a paradox, which is the subject’s self-affection, and the relation between the subject as noumenon and as inner sense. (shrink)
Close attention to Kant’s comments on animal minds has resulted in radically different readings of key passages in Kant. A major disputed text for understanding Kant on animals is his criticism of G. F. Meier’s view in the 1762 ‘False Subtlety of the Four Syllogistic Figures’. In this article, I argue that Kant’s criticism of Meier should be read as an intervention into an ongoing debate between Meier and H. S. Reimarus on animal minds. Specifically, while broadly aligning himself with (...) Reimarus, Kant distinguishes himself from both Meier and Reimarus on the role of judgement in human consciousness. (shrink)
Dieses Buch dient einem umfassenden Verständnis von Kants Lehre der Struktur des Bewusstseins und des Selbstbewusstseins. Eine facettenreiche Theorie zu diesem Thema lässt sich mit Hilfe des zeitgenössischen begrifflichen Instrumentariums aus den über das Kantische Opus verstreuten Textressourcen herausarbeiten. Mit dieser Rekonstruktion lassen sich viele, scheinbar unüberwindbare, exegetische Unklarheiten aufhellen.
Do plants represent according to Kant? This is closely connected to the question of whether he held plants are alive, because he explains life in terms of the faculty to act on one’s own representations. He also explains life as having an immaterial principle of self-motion, and as a body’s interaction with a supersensible soul. I argue that because of the way plants move themselves, Kant is committed to their being alive, to their having a supersensible ground of their self-activity, (...) and to their having desires (although these are not conscious). This has important ramifications for Kant’s teleology and philosophy of mind. (shrink)
Does inner sense, like outer sense, provide inner sensations or, in other words, a sensory manifold of its own? Advocates of the disparity thesis on inner and outer sense claim that it does not. This interpretation, which is dominant in the preexisting literature, leads to several inconsistencies when applied to Kant’s doctrine of inner experience. Yet, while so, the parity thesis, which is the contrasting view, is also unable to provide a convincing interpretation of inner sensations. In this paper, I (...) argue that this deadlock can be traced back to an inadequate understanding of inner sense shared by both sides. Drawing upon an analysis of the notion of obscure representations, I offer an alternative interpretation of inner sense with a special regard to self-affection, apprehension, and attention. From this basis, I will infer that outer sense delivers sensory content that is initially and intrinsically unaccompanied by phenomenal consciousness; inner sense contributes by endowing such content with phenomenal consciousness. Therefore, phenomenal qualities can be regarded as the sensory manifold of inner sense. This alternative interpretation solves the long-standing dispute concerning inner sensations and would further illuminate Kant’s notion of inner experience. (shrink)
Kant’s conception of the centrality of intellectual self-consciousness, or “pure apperception”, for scientiﬁc knowledge of nature is well known, if still obscure. Here I argue that, for Kant, at least one central role for such self-consciousness lies in the acquisition of the content of concepts central to metaphysical theorizing. I focus on one important concept, that of <substance>. I argue that, for Kant, the representational content of the concept <substance> depends not just on the capacity for apperception, but on the (...) actual intellectual awareness of oneself in such apperception. I then defend this interpretation from a variety of objections. (shrink)
Starting from the assumption that Kant allows for the possible existence of conscious sensory states in non-rational animals, I examine the textual and philosophical grounds for his acceptance of the possibility that such states are also 'objective'. I elucidate different senses of what might be meant in crediting a cognitive state as objective. I then put forward and defend an interpretation according to which the cognitive states of animals, though extremely limited on Kant's view, are nevertheless minimally objective.
In this chapter I will argue against both of these interpretations and will begin to develop an alternate account of imagination in experience. Against those who minimize imagination’s role, I will highlight the distinctive contribution of the imagination to experience. In particular, I will foreground the specific role that the imagination plays in making possible the distinct mental act, intermediate between intuition and experience, that Kant calls “perception [Wahrnehmung]” as the “empirical consciousness [Bewußtsein]” of appearances (cf. B207). Because perception involves (...) images essentially (cf. A120), and because Kant understands experience itself to be a “synthesis of perceptions” (cf. B218), this strongly suggests (against minimalists) that experience, too, will incorporate images into the manner in which it allows us to cognize physical objects. By highlighting the contribution of imagination prior to experience, my own account, therefore, overlaps in part with the readings that seek instead to maximize the role of imagination. Against maximalists, however, I will argue that imagination contributes only in (and after) the transition from intuition to perception, rather than already being at work in the stage of intuition itself. More specifically, I will argue that Kant takes the activity of imagination to make perception possible by acting on already-formed intuitions in order to bring about the consciousness of them, rather than to bring the intuitions about in the first place. I will also argue that this synthesis of intuitions should be kept distinct from the activity of understanding. (shrink)
What is it that makes a mental state conscious? Recent commentators have proposed that for Kant, consciousness results from differentiation: A mental state is conscious insofar as it is distinguished, by means of our conceptual capacities, from other states and/or things. I argue instead that Kant’s conception of state consciousness is sensory: A mental state is conscious insofar as it is accompanied by an inner sensation. Interpreting state consciousness as inner sensation reveals an underappreciated influence of Crusius on Kant’s view, (...) solves some long-standing puzzles concerning Kant’s difficult doctrine of self-affection, and sheds light on his theory of inner experience. (shrink)
I argue for a new delimitation of what Kant means by ‘cognition [Erkenntnis]’, on the basis of the intermediate, transitional place that Kant gives to cognition in the ‘progression [Stufenleiter]’ of our representations and our consciousness of them. I show how cognition differs from mental acts lying earlier on this progression—such as sensing, intuiting, and perceiving—and also how cognition differs from acts lying later on this progression—such as explaining, having insight, and comprehending. I also argue that cognition should not be (...) confused with ‘knowledge [Wissen]’, insofar as knowledge represents the culmination of a separate orthogonal progression of acts of ‘holding-true’. Along the way, I show how having in focus the specific progression from representation, to consciousness, to cognition (and beyond) allows us to better appreciate the architectonic significance of the progression of Kant’s analysis in the first Critique (and beyond), and also helps to illuminate the unity of Kant’s account of cognition itself across its variety of (empirical, mathematical, philosophical) forms. (shrink)
One of the strongest motivations for conceptualist readings of Kant is the belief that the Transcendental Deduction is incompatible with nonconceptualism. In this article, I argue that this belief is simply false: the Deduction and nonconceptualism are compatible at both an exegetical and a philosophical level. Placing particular emphasis on the case of non-human animals, I discuss in detail how and why my reading diverges from those of Ginsborg, Allais, Gomes and others. I suggest ultimately that it is only by (...) embracing nonconceptualism that we can fully recognise the delicate calibration of the trap which the Critique sets for Hume. (shrink)
Ever since Strawson’s The Bounds of Sense, the transcendental apperception device has become a theoretical reference point to shed light on the criterionless selfascription form of mental states, reformulating a contemporary theoretical place tackled for the first time in explicit terms by Wittgenstein’s Blue Book. By investigating thoroughly some elements of the critical system the issue of the identification of the transcendental subject with reference to the I think will be singled out. In this respect, the debate presents at least (...) two diametrically opposed attitudes: the first – exemplified in the works by Hacker, Becker, Sturma and McDowell – considers the features of the I think according to Wittgenstein’s approach to the I as subject while the second, exemplified by Kitcher and Carl, criticizes the various commentators who turn to Wittgenstein in order to interpret Kant’s I think. The hypothesis that I will attempt at articulating in this paper starts off not only from the transcendental apperception form, but also from the characterizations of empirical apperception. It may be assumed that Kant’s reflection on the problem of self-identification lies right here, truly prefiguring some features of Wittgenstein’s uses of I, albeit from different metaphysical assumptions and philosophical horizons. (shrink)
It is standardly assumed that, in Kant, “free agency” is identical to moral agency and requires the will or practical reason. Likewise, it is often held that the concept of “spontaneity” that Kant uses in his theoretical philosophy is very different from, and much thinner than, his idea of practical spontaneity. In this paper I argue for the contrary view: Kant has a rich theory of doxastic free agency, and the spontaneity in empirical thought (which culminates in judgments of experience) (...) is essentially the same sort of spontaneity found in the practical use of reason. Accordingly, the faculties of understanding and practical reason both possess genuine autonomy. (shrink)
A core thesis of Kitcher's is that thinking about objects requires awareness of necessary connections between one's object-directed representations ‘as such’ and that this is what Kant means by the transcendental unity of apperception. I argue that Kant's main point is the spontaneity or ‘self-made-ness’ of combination rather than the requirement of reflexive awareness of combination, that Kitcher provides no plausible account of how recognition of representations ‘as such’ should be constituted and that in fact Kant himself appears to lack (...) the theoretical resources to clearly distinguish between consciousness and self-consciousness or apperception properly so-called. (shrink)
This paper defends an interpretation of the representational function of sensation in Kant's theory of empirical cognition. Against those who argue that sensations are ?subjective representations? and hence can only represent the sensory state of the subject, I argue that Kant appeals to different notions of subjectivity, and that the subjectivity of sensations is consistent with sensations representing external, spatial objects. Against those who claim that sensations cannot be representational at all, because sensations are not cognitively sophisticated enough to possess (...) intentionality, I argue that Kant does not use the term ?Vorstellung? to refer to intentional mental states exclusively. Sensations do not possess their own intentionality, but they nevertheless perform a representational function in virtue of their role as the matter of empirical intuition. In empirical intuition, the sensory qualities given in sensation are combined with the representation of space to constitute the intuited appearance. The representational function of sensation consists in sensation being the medium out of which intuited appearances are constituted: the qualities of sensations stand in for what the understanding will judge (conceptualize) as material substance. (shrink)
This essay chiefly concerns the unity of self-consciousness expounded under the heading "the original synthetic unity of apperception" in Kant's transcendental deduction. It focuses mainly on Kant's identification of this unity with the understanding, the faculty of knowledge, with the aim of throwing light on the understanding and on knowledge as well as on synthetic unity.
Kant ha subrayado el carácter problemático del auto-conocimiento en el campo de la antropología y la psicología: desde sus primeras obras insistió en la imposibilidad de conocer con certeza, sobre la base de las acciones, la disposición moral subjetiva, la única que da a la acción un valor moral. Esta dificultad no se atenúa cuando el juicio moral es dirigido sobre el sujeto mismo. A los problemas cognitivos se añade una tendencia al auto-engaño que está activa en toda la vida (...) moral. Si se mantiene la importancia de este argumento, puede emerger una caracterización de la Gesinnung que la distingue de cualquier “intención” subjetiva. Aquella puede ser concebida más bien como una estructura “objetiva”, independiente de la conciencia subjetiva y análoga a una idea regulativa, que obliga a interpretar las acciones morales sobre la base de un principio que es necesario asumir, pero que no es posible conocer. (shrink)
In the 20th century, the role of the unconscious in Kant s philosophy has been in great part neglected by Kant scholars. Nevertheless, the unconscious, the other of consciousness, is a key problem of the critical philosophy. The purpose of the volume is to fill a substantial gap in Kant research and to offer a complete survey of the topic in different areas of research, such as history of philosophy, philosophy of mind, aesthetics, moral philosophy, and anthropology. ".
In this paper we focus on Deleuze’s interpretation of small perceptions in Leibniz’s thought, as well as on the supposed abandon of this notion in Kant. In connection with the two issues we contend that the way both authors deal with them makes sense within the framework of the Enlightenment.
Das Projekt einer Begründung der Philosophie, insbesondere der Metaphysik als Wissenschaft, verbindet sich programmatisch mit dem kritischen Werk Kants und dort mit dem Konzept der transzendentalen Apperzeption. Dieser „höchste Punkt“ bildete seinerseits auch einen der zentralen Anknüpfungspunkte nachfolgender idealistischer Entwürfe und sich daraus entwickelnder Systeme. Die nachkantische Entwicklung wird dabei häufig mit dem Rubrum einer spekulativen Überhöhung des transzendentalen Kritizismus Kants belegt. Dabei ging es Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Schopenhauer – um nur die prominenten Vertreter zu nennen – in erster Linie (...) darum, den kritischen Ansatz Kants in ein affirmatives System zu überführen, das trotz der für ein System notwendigen Dogmatik die kritischen Errungenschaften Kants zu berücksichtigen vermag. Diese spekulativ-systematische Weiterentwicklung der Kantischen Philosophie hat dabei sehr verschiedene, zwar teils miteinander korrespondierende, doch zuletzt sehr disparate Systementwürfe hervorgebracht. Es zeigt sich, dass eine dem menschlichen und damit endlichen Bewusstsein verpflichtete Philosophie idealrealistisch und damit letztlich dualistisch bleiben muss, während eine darüberhinaus gehende Einheitsperspektive nur einen methodologischen Charakter haben kann. Vor diesem Hintergrund verstehen sich die Ausführungen als eine explizit methodologische Rekonstruktion, die auf den bei Kant impliziten, bei Fichte expliziten Idealrealismus abzielt. (shrink)
Kant is often considered to have argued that perceptual awareness of objects in one's environment depends on the subject's possession of conceptual capacities. This conceptualist interpretation raises an immediate problem concerning the nature of perceptual awareness in non-rational, non-concept using animals. In this paper I argue that Kant’s claims concerning animal representation and consciousness do not foreclose the possibility of attributing to animals the capacity for objective perceptual consciousness, and that a non-conceptualist interpretation of Kant’s position concerning perceptual awareness can (...) actively endorse this attribution. Kant can consistently allow that animals have a point of view on the objective world which possesses a distinctive phenomenal character while denying what seems most important to him – viz. that animals have the capacity to take cognitive attitudes towards, and thus self-ascribe, their own representational states. (shrink)
I present an argument for an interpretation of Kant's views on the nature of the ‘content [Inhalt]’ of ‘cognition [Erkenntnis]’. In contrast to one of the longest standing interpretations of Kant's views on cognitive content, which ascribes to Kant a straightforwardly psychologistic understanding of content, and in contrast as well to the more recently influential reading of Kant put forward by McDowell and others, according to which Kant embraces a version of Russellianism, I argue that Kant's views on this topic (...) are of a much more Fregean bent than has traditionally been admitted or appreciated. I conclude by providing a sketch of how a better grasp of Kant's views on cognitive content in general can help bring into sharper relief what is, and what is not, at stake in the recent debates over whether Kant accepts a particular kind of cognitive content—namely, non‐conceptual content. (shrink)
In the transcendental deduction, the central argument of the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant seeks to secure the objective validity of our basic categories of thought. He distinguishes objective and subjective sides of this argument. The latter side, the subjective deduction, is normally understood as an investigation of our cognitive faculties. It is identified with Kant’s account of a threefold synthesis involved in our cognition of objects of experience, and it is said to precede and ground Kant’s proof of the (...) validity of the categories in the objective deduction. I challenge this standard reading of the subjective deduction, arguing, first, that there is little textual evidence for it, and, second, that it encourages a problematic conception of how the deduction works. In its place, I present a new reading of the subjective deduction. Rather than being a broad investigation of our cognitive faculties, it should be seen as addressing a specific worry that arises in the course of the objective deduction. The latter establishes the need for a necessary connection between our capacities for thinking and being given objects, but Kant acknowledges that his readers might struggle to comprehend how these seemingly independent capacities are coordinated. Even worse, they might well believe that in asserting this necessary connection, Kant’s position amounts to an implausible subjective idealism. The subjective deduction ismeant to allay these concerns by showing that they rest on a misunderstanding of the relation between these faculties. This new reading of the subjective deduction offers a better fit with Kant’s text. It also has broader implications, for it reveals the more philosophically plausible account of our relation to the world as thinkers that Kant is defending – an account that is largely obscured by the standard reading of the subjective deduction. (shrink)
After providing a critique of Andreas Engel's neural mechanistic approach to object feature binding (OFB), I develop a Kantian approach to OFB that bears affinity with recent findings in cognitive psychology. I also address the diachronic object unity (DOU) problem and discuss the shortcomings of a purely neural mechanistic approach to this problem. Finally, I motivate a Kantian approach to DOU which suggests that DOU requires the persisting character of the cognizing subject. If plausible, the cognizing subject could make an (...) explanatory contribution to our theory of unified consciousness and thus could not be eliminated on parsimonious grounds alone. (shrink)
We argue that Kant’s views about consciousness, the mind-body problem, and the status of psychology as a science all differ drastically from the way in which these topics are conjoined in present debates about the prominent idea of a science of consciousness. Kant did never use the concept of consciousness in the now dominant sense of phenomenal qualia; his discussions of the mind-body problem center not on the reducibility of mental properties but of substances; and his views about the possibility (...) of psychology as a science did not employ the requirement of a mechanistic explanation, but of quantification of phenomena. This shows strikingly how deeply philosophical problems and conceptions can change even if they look similar on the surface. (shrink)
As the author explains, the title of this work is intended to distinguish it from ordinary, Whiggish accounts of the development of German philosophy “from Kant to Hegel.” Instead, Heinrich treats the positions of Kant, Fichte, and Hegel as potentially viable alternatives, none of which must be viewed as aufgehoben by those that followed, and all of which deserve reconsideration by contemporary philosophers.Dieter Henrich is known for two things: first, for championing a minutely-detailed, revisionist approach to the history of post-Kantian (...) philosophy; and second, for his insistence that the central problem of German idealism is that of self-consciousness. Both elements are well represented in this book, which is a revised version of a series of lectures delivered at Harvard in 1973. The text thus antedates many of the more recent discoveries and claims of Henrich and his student collaborators in the “Jena project,” though some of the results are alluded to in the useful footnotes and apparatus provided by David S. Pacini, who attended the original lectures and has expert knowledge of Henrich’s more recent work. (shrink)
There are perceptual states whose representational content cannot even in principle be conceptual. If that claim is true, then at least some perceptual states have content whose semantic structure and psychological function are essentially distinct from the structure and function of conceptual content. Furthermore the intrinsically “orientable” spatial character of essentially non-conceptual content entails not only that all perceptual states contain non-conceptual content in this essentially distinct sense, but also that consciousness goes all the way down into so-called unconscious or (...) subpersonal mental states. Both my argument for the existence of essentially non-conceptual content and my theory of its structure and function have a Kantian provenance. (shrink)
Kant's theory of animals is based on his belief that animals have presentations and consciousness and in this are like human beings. When we abuse animals then we are more likely to abuse human beings. But animals are organic beings that have internal purposiveness and hence are ends for which other things are means. In this limited sense animals have intrinsic value.
Kants Unterscheidung zwischen Bewusstsein seiner selbst „als Subjekt” und Bewusstsein seiner selbst „als Objekt” ist in jüngster Zeit lebendig diskutiert worden. Der Artikel bietet eine Diskussion des üblichen Vorwurfs, dem zufolge Kant ignoriert, dass ich, als Subjekt, meiner selbst als eines physischen Objektes beziehungsweise eines lebendigen Körpers bewusst bin. Gegen Quassim Cassams Argument zu dieser These argumentiert der Artikel, dass Kants Begriff des Ichs eher im Lichte seiner Rolle bei der Einigung unserer Vorstellungen zu verstehen ist als im Lichte zeitgenössischer (...) Überlegungen dazu, in welchen Arten das „Ich” auf den eigenen Körper bezogen werden kann. (shrink)
Kant was the first great anti-Cartesian in epistemology and philosophy of mind. He criticised five central tenets of Cartesianism and developed sophisticated alternatives to them. His transcendental analysis of the necessary a priori conditions for the very possibility of self-conscious human experience invokes externalism about justification and proves externalism about mental content. Semantic concern with the unity of the proposition—required for propositionally structured awareness and self-awareness—is central to Kant’s account of the unity of any cognitive judgment. The perceptual ‘binding problem’ (...) is central to Kant’s account of the unity of the object in perception. This paper outlines Kant’s development and justification of his a rationalist account of our active intellect and its roles in perceptual consciousness and in rational judgment, including our consciousness of our rational freedom, all through a radically innovative transcendental inquiry into the necessary a priori conditions for us to be conscious at all. Kant’s anti-Cartesianism is a major philosophical breakthrough far surpassing contemporary anti-Cartesian efforts. It behoves us to give Kant his due and avail ourselves of his profound insights into the nature of human mindedness. (shrink)