This paper investigates Kant’s account of “real essence” and of a thing’s “nature”. Notwithstanding their wide negligence in the literature, these concepts belong to the central ones of Kant’s metaphysics. I argue that, on the one hand, Kant is in continuity with the Aristotelian-Scholastic tradition of essence. But, on the other hand, he also follows Locke in distinguishing between “logical” and “real” essence. Contrary to recent attempts of aligning real essence with contemporary approaches to essence, I will defend the thesis (...) that Kant equates real essence and (formal) nature, and that real essence has a causal, but no constitutive role. I shall also respond to potential objections and discuss some developments of Kant’s views. (shrink)
This chapter discusses Kant's 1763 "possibility proof" for the existence of God. I first provide a reconstruction of the proof in its two stages, and then revisit my earlier argument according to which the being the proof delivers threatens to be a Spinozistic-panentheistic God—a being whose properties include the entire spatio-temporal universe—rather than the traditional, ontologically distinct God of biblical monotheism. I go on to evaluate some recent alternative readings that have sought to avoid this result by arguing that the (...) relevant facts about real modality can be ultimately grounded in God’s powers or thoughts – or that Kant just leaves the grounding relations mysterious. I argue that the textual and philosophical costs of each of these alternative readings are formidable. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the fate of the proof in the critical period. Some commentators think that it disappears altogether, or that it is downgraded such that it produces a mere regulative idea of God as the most real being. I suggest that the proof survives but that the mode of assent it licenses towards its conclusion changes from knowledge to a certain kind of Belief (Glaube). (shrink)
In Kant’s idealism, all spatiotemporal objects depend on the human mind in a certain way. A central issue here is whether the existence of spatiotemporal things requires that these things are, at least at some point, objects of some actual experience or of a merely possible experience. In this essay, I argue (on textual and philosophical grounds) for the latter view: spatiotemporal things exist (or spatiotemporal events occur) if they are objects of a (suitably qualified) possible experience.
The topic of this dissertation is the concept of nature and how Kant and Hegel each conceive of it. Both agree that ‘nature’ cannot be an empirical concept but is rather presupposed in all experience and object-related thinking. Yet, Kant holds that we can only conceive of nature as a unified whole when we conceive of it as a mechanical system. Whereas, according to Hegel, the unity of all the different kinds of natural phenomena can only be accounted for by (...) means of his dialectical method. A crucial and novel point in my reading of Kant is that the concept of nature as a mechanical system is merely a regulative ideal, i.e., an imaginary end-point of science that we only approach asymptotically. It is this point that allows me to resolve long-standing puzzles in the scholarship regarding organisms and free will. For, this point allows for a coherent reading of Kant, a reading that involves that 1) we do in fact have experience of organisms and that 2) Kant’s distinctive kind of determinism is compatible with an open future. My reading of Kant furthermore provides a uniquely suited entry-point into Hegel’s dialectical account of nature, according to which not only human beings and organisms, but even solar systems do not fit the mould of a flat-footed mechanical determinism. This allows me to show that Hegel is—in several respects—both an inheritor and radicalizer of Kant. (shrink)
Este artículo presenta el modo de relación de la totalidad de lo condicionado y lo incondicionado en la lógica transcendental de Kant. Para ello el argumento reconstruye los elementos que abren el tratamiento de la dialéctica transcendental en la "Crítica de la razón pura", es decir, la apariencia ilusoria y las Ideas de la razón. Este modo de leer la doctrina de las síntesis transcendentales de lo condicionado y lo incondicionado exhibe la tesis de la complementariedad diferenciada entre ambas regiones, (...) dando a cada una su derecho, lugar y misión. (shrink)
The goal of this paper is to sketch an account of Kant’s signature metaphysical doctrine (transcendental idealism) that (a) has no supporters – as far as I am aware – in the contemporary literature, and (b) draws its primary motivation (as interpretation) from considerations regarding our practical situation and needs as agents. -/- The consideration I focus on here is that people not only have mental and moral features, but they also appear to us – in our daily experience – (...) to have such features: “[w]e can perceive virtue in our experience (Wir können in der Erfahrung wohl Tugend wahrnehmen)” (24: 906). The same presumably goes for vice: When I see you casually torturing a cat, you appear to me to be brown-haired, wearing jeans, moving your arms, laughing, and so on, but you also appear to me to be vicious and cruel. Your character shines through in your actions. I can then make a defeasible inference from those appearances to the moral reality. -/- Such appearances and inferences play a central role in our practices of praise, blame, forgiveness, and punishment. An interpretation of transcendental idealism that gives primacy to the practical will thus seek to analyze the concepts of experience, acquaintance, and appearance/phenomenon in a capacious-enough way that they can apply to mental and moral features too. If successful, such an interpretation would have a clear practical advantage over those that leave us merely conjecturing from experiences of bodies, gestures, and secondary qualities to moral features that do not appear, or even to the non-appearing features of a distinct set of things. (shrink)
The problem at the center of this essay is how one can reconcile the continuity of space with a monadological theory of matter, according to which matter is ultimately composed of simple elements, a problem that greatly exercised Leibniz, the Wolffians, and Kant. The underlying purpose of this essay is to illustrate my reading of Kant’s philosophical development, and of his relation to the Wolffians and Leibniz, according to which, (a), this development was fueled by ‘home-grown’ problems that arose within (...) the framework of the Wolffian philosophy from which Kant started out, and, (b), on his journey to critical idealism, Kant gradually moved away from Wolffianism, but closer to Leibniz, which, however, he came to realize only some years after the publication of the Critique of Pure Reason. This reading is illustrated by showing that the problem of how to reconcile the continuity of space with a monadological theory of matter is a problem that Kant inherits from Leibniz and the Wolffians, in whose thinking it already plays an important role, that Leibniz’s mature solution to the problem differs markedly from the Wolffian solution, and that Kant’s early, pre-critical solution is largely Wolffian, while his later critical solution is largely Leibnizian, as he himself notes with gleeful satisfaction. The discussion also reveals that this problem is one of the key problems that fueled Kant’s philosophical development and, eventually, led him to the discovery of transcendental idealism. (shrink)
ABSTRACT One of the core issues where interpreters of Kant disagree concerns his alleged Noumenalism—the claim that the objects of our experience, which are in space and time, are underpinned by entities that are not spatio-temporal and that non-spatio-temporally cause our representations of empirical objects. Although there is much textual evidence in favour of Noumenalism, non-Noumenalists have also gathered a significant number of philosophical and exegetical challenges to such a reading of Kant. I present a novel way of understanding the (...) Noumenalist view, which characterises the distinction between appearances and things in themselves as the distinction between referents and truthmakers. I show that, on this interpretation of Kant, the most pressing problems for the Noumenalist reading are primarily based on equivocations between features of reference and features of truthmaking. (shrink)
In this paper I address a structurally similar tension between phenomenalism and realism about matter in Leibniz and Kant. In both philosophers, some texts suggest a starkly phenomenalist view of the ontological status of matter, while other texts suggest a more robust realism. In the first part of the paper I address a recent paper by Don Rutherford that argues that Leibniz is more of a realist than previous commentators have allowed. I argue that Rutherford fails to show that Leibniz (...) is any less an idealist than his main target, Robert Merrihew Adams, does. I distinguish various kinds of idealism about bodies that Leibniz might have held, and attempt to determine which package of views represents his considered view. In the second part of the paper I situate Kant’s idealism within the same coordinates. I argue that, abstracting from deep differences in their metaphysics and epistemology, Kant and Leibniz have structurally very similar views on the ontological status of matter and bodies. I conclude that the key to understanding the realist strand in their ontology of matter is understanding the way in which, for both thinkers, the forces in bodies are appearances of forces of more fundamental entities, either monads or things in themselves. (shrink)
The World According to Kant offers an interpretation of Immanuel Kant’s critical idealism, as developed in the Critique of Pure Reason and associated texts. Critical idealism is understood as an ontological position, which comprises transcendental idealism, empirical realism, and a number of other basic ontological theses. According to Kant, the world, understood as the sum total of everything that has reality, comprises several levels of reality, most importantly, the transcendental level and the empirical level. The transcendental level is a mind-independent (...) level at which things in themselves exist. The empirical level is a fully mind-dependent level at which appearances exist, which are intentional objects of experience. Empirical objects and empirical minds are appearances, and empirical space and time are constituted by the spatial and temporal determinations of appearances. On the proposed interpretation, Kant is thus a genuine idealist about empirical objects, empirical minds, and space and time. But in contrast to other intentional objects, appearances genuinely exist, which is due both to the special character of experience compared to other kinds of representations such as illusions or dreams, and to the grounding of appearances in things themselves. This is why, on the proposed interpretation, Kant is also a genuine realist about empirical objects, empirical minds, and empirical space and time. This book develops the indicated interpretation, spells out Kant’s case for critical idealism thus understood, pinpoints the differences between critical idealism and ‘ordinary’ idealism, such as Berkley’s, and clarifies the relation between Kant’s conception of things in themselves and the conception of things in themselves by other philosophers, in particular, Kant’s Leibniz-Wolffian predecessors. -/- PS from the author: I maintain a list of errata plus corrections on my website (which can easily be found by googling my name). If you discover additional errors, typos, or unfortunate formulations, I would be grateful to hear from you. -/- . (shrink)
Este artículo examina el concepto del concepto en Kant y en Hegel. El modo de relación entre el principio de la apercepción y el concepto puro permite pensar a la filosofía de la forma transcendental como una metafísica crítica. La conexión sistemática entre las doctrinas del concepto, el juicio y el silogismo posibilita, en cambio, concebir la filosofía de la forma absoluta como una metafísica especulativa. En ambas lógicas el objeto corresponde, en último término, a la totalidad de las determinaciones (...) de aquella unidad suprema que Kant denominó apercepción y Hegel el concepto. (shrink)
I emphasize two merits of Eric Watkins’ account in "Kant on Laws": the strong evidential support it has, and the central place it gives to Kant’s laws of mechanics. Then, I raise two questions for further research. 1. What kind of evidential reasoning confirms a Kantian law? 2. Do natures explain Kantian laws? If so, how?
This paper aims to elucidate the Kantian notion of the “concept of an object in general”. In a passage from the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant offers a clue to this by indicating that the categories are the concepts that define the object in general. This paper seeks to clarify the notion of “concept of an object in general” by analyzing how the relationship between categories and the object is to be understood. For this, it first explains the Kantian doctrine (...) of conceptual inclusion and of the highest genus, and relates it to the notion at hand. Secondly, it investigates the way in which the relationship between the concept of an object in general and the categories is to be understood, based on the aforementioned passage of the First Critique. Finally, it shows the role that referentiality plays in the way that this concept and its relation with the categories should be understood. (shrink)
Scholars working on Kant’s Anticipations of Perception generally attribute to him an argument that invalidly infers that objects have degrees of intensive magnitude from the premise that sensations do. I argue that this rests on an incorrect disambiguation of Kant’s use of Empfindung as referring to the mental states that are our sensings, rather than the objects that are thereby sensed. Kant’s real argument runs as follows. The difference between a representation of an empty region of space and/or time and (...) a representation of that same region as occupied by an object entails that, in addition to their extensive magnitude, objects must be represented as having a matter variable in intensive magnitude. Since it is the presence of sensation in a cognition that marks the difference between representing only the extensive magnitude of the object and the object as a whole, it is sensation that represents its intensive magnitude. (shrink)
In this essay, I propose a novel way of thinking about Kant’s philosophical methodology during the critical period. According to this interpretation, the critical Kant can generally be understood as operating within a “capacities‐first” philosophical framework – that is, within a framework in which our basic rational or cognitive capacities play both an explanatorily and epistemically fundamental role in philosophy – or, at least, in the sort of philosophy that limited creatures like us are capable of. In discussing this idea, (...) I consider the complicated relationship between the explanatory and epistemic roles that such capacities play in Kant. I also sketch how this way of thinking about Kant’s methodology can illuminate the foundations of both his theoretical and his practical philosophy, before discussing some of Kant’s reasons for finding this approach to philosophy attractive. I close with a brief discussion of the contemporary relevance of this approach. (shrink)
In this critical notice, I argue that Emanuel Rutten's reading of Kant's distinction between the phenomenal and noumenal worlds rests on an extremely phenomenalist reading of Kant's idealism. Rutten makes the ontological claim that Kant's phenomena are reducible to our sensations, and do not exist as objects outside our representations. As a result, his criticism of Kant's restriction thesis that we only know appearances is uncharitably narrow; Rutten argues that, according to Kant, our ignorance of the supersensible applies, not just (...) to objects that we cannot sensibly represent, but in fact to *all* objects outside our representations, including spatially located objects of nature. His sense of *supersensible* is at least ambiguous. I further argue that Rutten's own notion of "a world for us" (in contrast to "a world in itself") consisting of knowable objects is compatible with Kant's phenomenal world, contrary to what Rutten believes. (shrink)
Kant’s published arguments for the non-spatiotemporality of things in themselves have not been well received. I argue that Kant has available to himself an argument for the non-spatiotemporality of things in themselves that is premised upon a disparity between the compositional structure of the intelligible world and the structure of space and time. I argue that Kant was unwaveringly committed to the premises of this argument throughout his career and that he was aware of their idealistic implications. I also argue (...) that this argument is consistent with Kant’s restrictive mature epistemology. If my argument is successful, then even if Kant’s published arguments for transcendental idealism fail, we need not regard his ambitious metaphysical project as a failure. (shrink)
I examine here if Kant can explain our knowledge of duration by showing that time has metric structure. To do so, I spell out two possible solutions: time’s metric could be intrinsic or extrinsic. I argue that Kant’s resources are too weak to secure an intrinsic, transcendentally-based temporal metrics; but he can supply an extrinsic metric, based in a metaphysical fact about matter. I conclude that Transcendental Idealism is incomplete: it cannot account for the durative aspects of experience—or it can (...) do so only with help from a non-trivial metaphysics of material substance. (shrink)
While scholars have extensively discussed Kant’s treatment of the Principle of Sufficient Ground in the Antinomies chapter of the Critique of Pure Reason, and, more recently, his relation to German rationalist debates about it, relatively little has been said about the exact notion of ground that figures in the PSG. My aim in this chapter is to explain Kant’s discussion of ground in the lectures and to relate it, where appropriate, to his published discussions of ground.
Il principale obiettivo teoretico di questo lavoro consiste nel tentativo di verificare, attraverso un’indagine storico-genealogica e concettuale, come nella filosofia di Gilles Deleuze si assista ad un radicale mutamento del paradigma relativo alla nozione di trascendentale. Si tratta, in altre parole, di ripercorrere alcune delle tappe fondamentali che conducono il filosofo parigino a “purificare” il trascendentale da ogni riferimento ad una coscienza soggettiva egologica che si fondi in quanto principio genetico del mondo. Si riterrà utile procedere analizzando, in primo luogo, (...) il rapporto che Deleuze intrattiene con le istanze originarie del soggettivismo trascendentale kantiano, ove il trascendentale stesso, nel pensiero del filosofo tedesco, è strettamente connesso all’Io penso in quanto facoltà appercettiva dell’intelletto che incarnerebbe le condizioni di possibilità dell’esperienza. In secondo luogo, si tratterà di orientarsi nel dibattito critico che Deleuze intrattiene con la fenomenologia di Edmund Husserl, ed in particolar modo con la lettura husserliana della Critica della Ragion Pura di Kant, ove il padre fondatore dell’indirizzo fenomenologico novecentesco è colui che fa leva sullo stretto rapporto che sussiste tra il trascendentale e la coscienza. Nonostante il percorso storico, tracciato dal concetto di trascendentale, abbia inizio con l’opera di Kant, ritengo non sia possibile evitare un pur breve confronto con il ruolo che l’ego ha avuto nella formulazione cartesiana del cogito; si dovrà, per ciò stesso, considerare la particolare lettura deleuziana che riconosce nel cogito cartesiano il “luogo” in cui confluiscono tutte le facoltà del soggetto, permettendo di identificare il cogito stesso con una forma embrionale di piano di immanenza, seppur non adeguatamente radicalizzata nella misura in cui il cogito cartesiano resta saldamente ancorato al soggetto. Ritengo, tuttavia, che il più considerevole obiettivo di questa proposta d’indagine non si risolva in una ricostruzione meramente storico-genealogica. Si tratterà, al contrario, di verificare come l’importanza degli esiti raggiunti da Deleuze mediante l’opera di purificazione della nozione di trascendentale sia da individuare su due fronti: 1. La teorizzazione del concetto di campo trascendentale permette a Deleuze di disegnare una forma di temporalità non psicologica e non cronologica fondata sul paradosso secondo cui il tempo costituirebbe un’interiorità non psicologica, o per meglio dire, una dimensione autenticamente trascendentale nella quale il soggetto vive e diviene. 2. In antitesi ai proponimenti della fenomenologia husserliana, l’esito autentico del progetto di purificazione del trascendentale da ogni istanza egologica consiste nell’interruzione della correlazione a priori tra il soggetto e il mondo, nella destituzione della filosofia da ogni pregiudizio antropocentrico, e nella rideterminazione dell’umano niente più che come un effetto, o un caso, del mondo. (shrink)
It is well known that Kant seeks to discredit rational psychology on the grounds that we cannot access the nature of the soul by reflecting upon the ‘I think’ of self-consciousness. What is far less understood, however, is why Kant still believes the theorems of rational psychology are analytically true insofar as they represent the ‘I’ through the categories of substance, reality, unity, and existence. Early post-Kantian thinkers like Fichte would abandon this restriction and approach the concept of the ‘I’ (...) instead through the category of community or reciprocal interaction. The result was nothing less than a radical shift in thinking about persons after Kant, yet in a way that would bear a striking affinity to the substance monism of Spinoza. The aim of this chapter is to trace the origin of this shift and its aftermath in Fichte’s effort to defend a new conception of the ‘I’. (shrink)
This book focuses on the unity, diversity, and centrality of the notion of law as it is employed in Kant's theoretical and practical philosophy. Eric Watkins argues that, by thinking through a number of issues in various historical, scientific, and philosophical contexts over several decades, Kant is able to develop a univocal concept of law that can nonetheless be applied to a wide range of particular cases, despite the diverse demands that these contexts give rise to. In addition, Watkins shows (...) how Kant comes to view both the generic conception of law which he develops and its different particular instances as crucial components of his systematic philosophy as a whole. This volume's new and unified account of a major current running through Kant's work will be important for scholars interested in numerous aspects of his philosophy, from the theoretical and abstract to the practical and empirical. (shrink)
This paper argues that, despite appearances to the contrary, Kant and contemporary analytic metaphysicians are interested in the same kind of metaphysical dependence relation that finds application in a range of contexts and that is today commonly referred to as grounding. It also argues that comparing and contrasting Kant’s and contemporary metaphysicians’ accounts of this relation proves useful for both Kant scholarship and for contemporary metaphysics. The analyses provided by contemporary metaphysicians can be used to shed light on Kant’s understanding (...) of what a real conditioning relation is, while Kant’s perspective on the practice and goals of metaphysics sheds light on several claims and issues at home in the contemporary debate. (shrink)
This is a defense of Kant against the allegedly neglected alternative in his formulation of transcendental idealism. What sets it apart from the contributions of others who have spoken for Kant in this regard is the construction of a general interpretive framework — a reconstruction of the one Kant provides for transcendental idealism — as opposed to the development of an ad hoc defensive strategy for refuting the charges. Hence, comprehensive clarification instead of pointed rebuttal. The difference is between focusing (...) on the text and focusing on the problem. No doubt, doing both is not only possible but also required, as the problem is supposed to be in the text, but the point is that it is not there, and further, that we need not go anywhere else to show that it is not there. Thus, the approach is constructive rather than defensive, or more accurately, constructive as well as defensive. And the construction rests on what Kant actually said rather than on what he might have meant or on what he should have said instead. (shrink)
This thesis investigates the development of ontology as a philosophical discipline in the German philosophical tradition. It starts from what can be considered the invention of ontology and proceeds to the way it was received in the philosophy of Hegel. It is separated into two parts. The first part argues that what can be called the ‘traditional’ form of ontology is developed by Christian Wolff in his 1730 monograph Philosophia prima sive Ontologia, and it traces both the history of the (...) name ‘ontology’, as well as the history of the conception which led to Wolff’s formulation of it. The history of the name tracks the use of the concept ‘ontology’ from its first occurrence in 1606 up to Wolff. The history of the conception tracks the conceptions of various philosophical disciplines, found in thinkers such as Aristotle, Aquinas, and Spinoza, that ultimately give rise to Wolff’s conception of ontology as a science of an entity qua entity. The second part traces the development of this Wolffian conception through the philosophical systems of Kant and Hegel. The aim of this thesis is to argue that Wolff’s philosophy should be seen as the original formulation of the philosophical discipline of ontology and that the Wolffian conception of ontology is the one shared by subsequent German thinkers up to, and including, Hegel. I refer to this shared understanding of what ontology is as ‘the German ontological tradition’. The title of the thesis, The Possibility of Ontology, refers to the way in which this traditional understanding of what ontology is, is treated throughout the German ontological tradition. Specifically, Kant argues that the traditional conception is effectively impossible, while in Hegel one can find arguments that are intended to show that some aspects of this traditional discipline are in fact possible. Besides focusing on a fairly under-researched topic of the early history of ontology as a philosophical discipline, this thesis attempts to utilise its historical findings in order to provide novel ways in which the systems of the thinkers such as Kant and Hegel can be understood. There is a serious disregard for, or underplaying of, the Wolffian influence on the philosophical thought of Kant and Hegel, and it is my aim to contribute to the rectification of this situation by demonstrating the frequently overlooked dialogue these thinkers had with Wolff’s conception of ontology. (shrink)
There is a disagreement in Kant scholarship concerning the question whether phenomenal substance contains a substantial that is the first subject of all accidents and relations. I would like to argue in this paper that the disagreement stems from the overlooking of a development of Kant’s views. Having abandoned his Physical Monadology, Kant first rejected the substantiality of matter because of its infinite divisibility. But in the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science his view is that matter is substance and at (...) the same time infinitely divisible. (shrink)
In this chapter, I show that there is at least one crucial, non-short, argument, which does not involve arguments about spatiotemporality, why Kant’s subjectivism about the possibility of knowledge, argued in the Transcendental Deduction, must lead to idealism. This has to do with the fact that given the implications of the discursivity thesis, namely, that the domain of possible determination of objects is characterised by limitation, judgements of experience can never reach the completely determined individual, i.e. the thing in itself (...) or the unlimited real, but only objects as objects of possible experience. As such, it can be shown by reference to a key argument from Kant, that Hegel’s famous criticism that Kant is not licensed, on the basis of his core arguments concerning the original-synthetic unity of apperception, to restrict our knowledge to appearances, is mistaken on purely systematic grounds. More specifically, I argue that idealism follows already from the constraints that the use of the categories, in particular the categories of quality, places on the very conceivability of things in themselves. My claim is that, although it is not only possible but also necessary to think things in themselves, it does not follow that by merely thinking them we have a full grasp of the nature of things in themselves, as some important commentators claim we have. We must therefore distinguish between two kinds of conceiving of things in themselves: conceiving in the standard sense of ‘forming the notion of’, and conceiving in the narrow sense of ‘having a determinate intellectual grasp’. So although we must be able notionally to think things in themselves, as the grounds of their appearances, we cannot even conceive, through pure concepts, of how they are in themselves in any determinate, even if merely intellectual, sense. To put it differently, we cannot have a positive conception of things in themselves (this is in line with Kant’s distinction between noumena in the negative and positive senses; cf. B307–9). For support, I resort to a much overlooked chapter in the Critique, concerning the transcendental Ideal, where Kant discusses what it is for a thing to be a thing in itself proper, namely, something that is thoroughly determined. This concerns the real ontological conditions of things, which are not satisfied by the modal categories alone, namely, their existence conditions. I claim that the chief reason why, given Kant’s view of determinative judgement, we cannot determine a thing in itself is because of two connected reasons: (1) a thing in itself is already fully determined and therefore not further determinable and (2) we cannot possibly determine all of the thing’s possible determinations. In this context, I also discuss the notion of material (not: empirical) synthesis—of which Kant speaks in the chapter on the transcendental Ideal—which must be presupposed as the ground of the formal a priori synthesis that grounds possible experience. This material synthesis, which is an idea of reason that defines a thing as thoroughly determined with regard to all of its possible predicates and has mere regulative status, can by implication not be determined by the forms of the understanding, which synthesise only a limited set of predicates. As a result, given this definition of ‘thing in itself’, any object (appearance) as at best44 a limited set of determinations of the thing can never be numerically identical to the thing in itself as thoroughly determined individual. This undercuts a standard assumption about the identity relation between appearances and things in themselves in many contemporary interpretations of Kant’s transcendental idealism. (shrink)
This chapter spells out in detail how Kant’s thinking about logic during the critical period shapes the account of philosophy that he gives in the Critiques. Tolley explores Kant’s motivations behind his formation of the idea of a new “transcendental” logic, drawing out in particular how he means to differentiate it from the traditional “merely formal” approaches to logic, insofar as transcendental logic investigates not just the basic forms of the activity of thinking but also its basic contents. Kant’s understanding (...) of both of these logics directly factor into the first Critique’s more general project of the critique of reason in particular, as not just a capacity for a certain kind of thinking (inferring), but as a possible source of a priori cognition. (shrink)
The distinction of things in themselves and appearances is an integral part of Kant’s transcendental idealism, yet it has often been met with rather significant hostility. Moreover, what surely has not contributed to the popularity of this Kantian doctrine is that there are, or at least there appear to be, two distinct models, detectable in Kant’s texts, to account for this distinction. Most commonly, these two models are called the “two aspect view” on the one hand and the “two world (...) view” on the other, but it is possible that these labels themselves invite misunderstandings and obscure rather than clarify what Kant had in mind with his distinction. In this paper, I shall first briefly discuss how these two models could be described and labelled in a more suitable manner, namely as the “one composite entity view” and the “two separate objects view”. Subsequently, I will enquire which of the models is pertinent for Kant’s solution to the 3rd antinomy. I will try to show that although the two models appear to be incompatible, it is at least plausible to read Kant as using both of them in this crucial text of his oeuvre. Moreover, Kant’s strategy in solving the freedom problem on the basis of an indirectly realist account of the divine intellect provides the clue to understanding how these seemingly incompatible models can co-exist without forcing Kant into maintaining contradictory claims. (shrink)
In the course of his philosophy, in various contexts, Kant comes to reject three theses about existence: (i) that the thoroughgoing determination of a thing implies its existence, (ii) that existence is a real predicate or determination of a thing, and (iii) that existence is the complement of inner possibility or essence. Kant’s target here is Baumgarten, who advocates these theses as the criterion, classification, and definition of existence. In this article I seek to clarify Kant’s elusive theory of existence (...) through its opposition to Baumgarten. I will show that Kant’s refutation of (i)–(iii) does not stand alone but is grounded on his own definition of existence as (absolute) positing. Thus contrary to common practice, Kant’s negative claims about what existence is not cannot be understood in isolation but must be taken as jointly dependent on Kant’s positive claim of what existence is. I will show that the theses (i)–(iii) fail because they presuppose that existence contributes to the intension or content of a concept, whereas according to Kant existence in fact posits a (non-empty) extension to the concept. (shrink)
This essay examines the relationship between monads and space in Kant’s early pre-critical work, with special attention devoted to the question of ubeity, a Scholastic doctrine that Leibniz describes as “ways of being somewhere”. By focusing attention on this concept, evidence will be put forward that supports the claim, held by various scholars, that the monad-space relationship in Kant is closer to Leibniz’ original conception than the hypotheses typically offered by the later Leibniz-Wolff school. In addition, Kant’s monadology, in conjunction (...) with God’s role, also helps to shed light on further aspects of his system that are broadly Leibnizian, such as monadic activity and the unity of space. (shrink)
Recent debates in the interpretation of Kant’s theoretical philosophy have focused on the nature of Kantian intuition and, in particular, on the question of whether intuitions depend for their existence on the existence of their objects. In this paper we show how opposing answers to this question determine different accounts of the nature of Kantian cognition and we suggest that progress can be made on determining the nature of intuition by considering the implications different views have for the nature of (...) cognition. (shrink)
Kant's Notion of "Transcendental Truth". [English] The aim of this work is to elucidate the notion of “transcendental truth” and to show its role in the Kantian system. I will argue that this notion is in line with the traditional definition of truth, i.e., that it consists in the correspondence between knowledge and object. I will also argue that criteria of transcendental truth are provided by transcendental logic, and that it is this notion of truth what makes it possible to (...) establish the truth of a priori knowledge and delimitate the field of empirical truth. [Español] El objetivo de este trabajo es dilucidar la noción de “verdad trascendental” y mostrar su lugar en el sistema kantiano. Se defenderá que la verdad trascendental consiste, en línea con la definición tradicional de verdad, en un sentido de correspondencia entre conocimiento y objeto, que la lógica trascendental establece criterios de verdad trascendental, y que es esta noción de verdad la que permite establecer la verdad del conocimiento a priori y delimitar el territorio de la verdad empírica. (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)
In his rich and complex narrative of the different routes of Anglo-American philosophy in the past decades, Karl Ameriks diagnoses a recent and growing “interest in the metaphysical side of German philosophy.” What is more, he embraces this “metaphysical turn,” arguing that there is “no responsible way” to approach the merits of the classical German tradition without engaging such metaphysical questions. Since both the content of his diagnosis and his plea for a renewed engagement with ‘metaphysics’ depend on his specific (...) use of this term, I will make two comments meant to clarify Ameriks’ understanding of this concept. I will suggest that, if we abide by his specific conception, much of the ‘new desire for metaphysics’ that the editors of this volume see at work in contemporary philosophy will remain unsatisfied. The first indication of this lies in the fact that, (I) it seems far from obvious that ‘metaphysical’ philosophy as Ameriks understands it is actually opposed to a number of self-proclaimed ‘post-metaphysical’ projects in contemporary philosophy. The second, more substantive point I want to highlight (II) is the specifically modest, defensive, and reflexive understanding of metaphysics that underlies Ameriks’ account. (shrink)
Considering the large extent to which Kant deals with other metaphysical topics such as substances, causes, forces, and the like, he says surprisingly little about universals. By "universals," I am referring to the contemporary conception of universals, according to which...
On an influential view, Newton's mechanics is built into Kant's very theory of exact knowledge. However, Newtonian dynamics had serious explanatory limits already known by 1750. Thus, we might worry that Kant's Analytic is too narrow to ground enough exact knowledge. In this paper, I draw on Enlightenment dynamics to show that Kant's notion of determinate objecthood is sufficiently broad, non-trivial, and still relevant to the present.
In this paper, I examine Kant's famous objection to the ontological argument: existence is not a determination. Previous commentators have not adequately explained what this claim means, how it undermines the ontological argument, or how Kant argues for it. I argue that the claim that existence is not a determination means that it is not possible for there to be non-existent objects; necessarily, there are only existent objects. I argue further that Kant's target is not merely ontological arguments as such (...) but the larger ‘ontotheist’ metaphysics they presuppose: the view that God necessarily exists in virtue of his essence being contained in, or logically entailed by, his essence. I show that the ontotheist explanation of divine necessity requires the assumption that existence is a determination, and I show that Descartes and Leibniz are implicitly committed to this in their published versions of the ontological argument. I consider the philosophical motivations for the claim that existence is a determination and then I examine Kant's arguments in the Critique of Pure Reason against it. (shrink)
I introduce a methodology for doing the history of philosophy called philosophical modeling. I then employ this methodology to give a theory of Kant's distinction between things in themselves and appearances. This theory models Kant's distinction on the distinction between a constituting object and the object it constitutes.
The article examines Kant's various criticisms of the broadly Cartesian ontological argument as they are developed in the Critique of Pure Reason. It is argued that each of these criticisms is effective against its intended target, and that these targets include—in addition to Descartes himself—Leibniz, Wolff, and Baumgarten. It is argued that Kant's most famous criticism—the charge that being is not a real predicate—is directed exclusively against Leibniz. Kant's argument for this thesis—the argument proceeding from his example of a hundred (...) thalers—although it may seem to beg the question, in fact succeeds against Leibniz. It does so because the charge of begging the question can be rebutted if one makes certain Leibnizian assumptions. (shrink)