Kant and the problem of experience

Philosophical Topics 34 (1/2):59-106 (2006)
As most of its readers are aware, the Critique of Pure Reason is primarily concerned not with empirical, but with a priori knowledge. For the most part, the Kant of the first Critique tends to assume that experience, and the knowledge that is based on it, is unproblematic. The problem with which he is concerned is that of how we can be capable of substantive knowledge independently of experience. At the same time, however, the notion of experience plays a crucial role in the central arguments of the Critique. For, again as most readers of the Critique know, Kant aims to show how we can have synthetic a priori knowledge by showing that the categories, or pure concepts of the understanding, are conditions of the possibility of experience. This means that, whether or not Kant is concerned with the notion of experience for its own sake, his account of a priori knowledge carries with it at least some commitments regarding the character of experience. If the account of a priori knowledge is to be successful, then experience has to be the kind of thing for which the categories can, in principle, serve as conditions of possibility. More specifically, experience must involve not only the senses, but also thought or understanding, for otherwise the claim that it presupposes a certain specific set of concepts is simply unintelligible. And indeed at least some parts of the Critique, in particular the so-called subjective deduction in the first edition, and the briefer passages which correspond to it in the second edition, seem to be intended to show how this requirement is met. That is, they are concerned not so much with showing that experience is governed by the categories, as with elaborating a view of experience as involving conceptual activity überhaupt.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  General Interest  Philosophy of Mind
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0276-2080
DOI 10.5840/philtopics2006341/24
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
References found in this work BETA

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
The Kantian (Non)‐Conceptualism Debate.Colin McLear - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (11):769-790.
Which Kantian Conceptualism (or Nonconceptualism)?Kevin Connolly - 2014 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 52 (3):316-337.
Kant's Perceiver.Hannah Ginsborg - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (1):221-228.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
A Priori Knowledge, Experience and Defeasibility.Hamid Vahid - 1999 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 7 (2):173 – 188.
The Apriority of the Starting-Point of Kant's Transcendental Epistemology.Vasilis Politis - 1997 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 5 (2):255 – 284.
Knowledge, Belief, and the A Priori.Christian Helmut Wenzel - 2003 - Contributions of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society 11:369-370.
Critique of Pure Reason.Immanuel Kant - 1991 - In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. Blackwell. pp. 449-451.
Kant and the Explanatory Role of Experience.Anil Gomes - 2013 - Kant-Studien 104 (3):277-300.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

375 ( #6,984 of 2,163,896 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

68 ( #2,730 of 2,163,896 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums