The Notion of the Supersensible in Kant's Three "Critiques"

Dissertation, Stanford University (1992)

Abstract
In my dissertation, I show that there is a systematic development of the notion of the supersensible throughout Kant's three Critiques, leading to the notion used to solve the antinomy of taste in Kant's Critique of Aesthetic Judgment. ;In each of the three Critiques, Kant attempts to justify our claims to knowledge of a certain sort. In each of the three Critiques, he uses claims about the supersensible, which are claims about noumena, or things in themselves. His claims about the supersensible are claims about what we can't experience. They are used to explain what we can experience and to explain what kind of knowledge we can have of experience. ;At the first stage of development, the notion of the supersensible is that of the supersensible ground underlying objects in nature. I explain arguments in the Critique of Pure Reason which use or imply this notion. The second stage is the supersensible substratum of persons, or freedom. I address the development of this notion in the first Critique and the Critique of Practical Reason. The third stage is the development of the notion of a unified supersensible substratum, the idea that there is a connection between the supersensible substratum of nature, and that of persons. I address the development of this third notion in the second Critique and the Critique of Judgment. ;Kant's use of the notion of the supersensible is an important component in his justifications for the validity of certain types of knowledge. I defend Kant against claims that the use of the supersensible in the Critiques is unnecessary or unintelligible. Most importantly, I show that, contrary to an objection made by Paul Guyer, in Kant and the Claims of Taste, the notion of the unified supersensible substratum used in the Critique of Judgment does not come out of nowhere, but is a direct result of the development of the notion of the supersensible in the first two Critiques
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