Review: Melnick, Kant's theory of self [Book Review]

Journal of the History of Philosophy 48 (4):535-536 (2010)
Melnick interprets the Kantian self from the first-person perspective as real abiding intellectual action. It unfolds in time but does not arise in inner or outer attending. Hence, it is neither a noumenal entity nor Kantian intuitable substance. Melnick thinks that his interpretation not only clarifies Kant’s arguments in the Paralogisms of the first Critique, but also illuminates Kant’s positive theory of self.Melnick argues that a thought is inchoate, unformed, and unsettled until the thinking self as intellectual marshaling action brings it into focus and “coalesces” around it a series of related but out-of-focus thoughts ready to replace the focal thought if necessary. This marshaling action is temporal because it shifts/adjusts progressive attending but cannot be intuited in time. Its shifting/adjusting constitutes its only reality, for it would have to be in objective time if it were intrinsically real, which Kant’s transcendental idealism does not allow.As intellectual marshaling action, the thinking self cannot know itself as simple substantial entity. Instead, it knows itself as always-subject-and-never-predicate because it is constant and never swallowed up by particular thoughts, and as indivisible because its self-awareness as marshaling action in a whole thought is not the sum of its
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DOI 10.1353/hph.2010.0014
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