Apperception and Pre-Reflective Self-Consciousness in Kant

International Philosophical Quarterly 60 (4):431-447 (2020)
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Kant points to two forms of self-consciousness: the inner sense (empirical apperception) grounded in a sensory form of self-awareness and transcendental apperception. The aim of this paper is to show that a sophisticated notion of basic self-consciousness, which contains a pre-reflective self-consciousness as its first level, is provided by the notion of transcendental apperception. The necessity for a pre-reflective self-consciousness has been pointed out in phenomenological literature. According to this account, every self-ascription of any property implies a more fundamental form of self-consciousness, i.e., a kind of immediate familiarity with oneself. This pre-reflective self-consciousness is a non-relational and non-identificational form of self-consciousness and concerns an immediate acquaintance of the subject with itself. In the specific terms of transcendentalism every thought contains an implicit reference to a first-personal “givenness” or a sense of “mineness” that articulates a non-relational and non-identificational form of a pre-reflective model of self-consciousness.



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