Kant on our unquenchable desire for unknowable things in themselves: A path through the minefield

Abstract

(i) There are things in themselves. (ii) We can have no knowledge of things in themselves. An obvious worry is that the denial of knowledge should undercut Kant’s own assertion that there are things in themselves.1 Thus Jacobi quips, referring to the thing in itself as a presupposition of Kant’s system: “without that presupposition I could not enter into the system, but with it I could not stay within” (1787, 336).

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James Kreines
Claremont McKenna College

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