Kant on Representation and Objectivity: An Essay on the B-Deduction

Dissertation, University of New South Wales (Australia) (2001)

Abstract
This thesis argues that the main argument of Kant's Transcendental Deduction in B is: all our cognition must involve a spontaneous synthesis; if our cognition involves a spontaneous synthesis then this synthesis must be governed by the categories; therefore the categories make our cognition possible. It is argued that Kant's notion of apperception should be interpreted as the representationalist parallel to the semantic notion of understanding a sign. Hence, the problem of the unity of apperception is the representationalist parallel to the problem of the unity of the proposition. Kant argues that the subject's unified grasp of a complex representation is possible only via a spontaneous synthesis. Therefore . Kant then argues that such spontaneity can retain its objectivity---that is, can generate cognition---only if the synthesis is determined solely by the essential features of the subject qua cognising discursive mind, and not by any contingent features of the subject's psychology. The cognising discursive mind is essentially a judging mind, and therefore the spontaneous synthesis must be governed by rules having their source in the essential structure of judgment---that is, by the categories. Therefore
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