Philosophical Topics 34 (1/2):189-220 (2006)

Authors
Thomas Land
Ryerson University
Abstract
Philosophers seeking to formulate a philosophy of mind that offers an alternative to the cur-rently dominant reductionist positions frequently appeal to the Kantian thesis that the mind is essentially spontaneous. Yet it is far from clear what the content of this thesis is, and what recommends it. In this paper, I discuss this question and propose a new answer – one that makes better philosophical and textual sense of Kant’s own claims than I believe has hitherto been offered. I do this by focusing on Kant’s claim that, in particular, the represen-tation of categorial unity is spontaneous, rather than receptive. What I call the Single Spe-cies View of Spontaneity locates the rationale for this thesis in the fact that all representa-tion of categorial unity takes place in judgment and that judgment must be conceived as spontaneous. Against this I argue that Kant accepts a Two Species View of Spontaneity, according to which categorial unity can be represented in acts other than judgment. I defend this view by giving an account of Kant’s motivation for regarding categorial unity as spon-taneous, which has both a negative and a positive component. The negative component shows that categorial unity could not be accounted for by a mind whose representational capacities are entirely receptive. The positive component argues that Kant’s conception of cognition as the non-accidental agreement of a representation with its object requires him to hold that the mind is capable of an exercise of spontaneity that is directly involved in sense-perception and, therefore, distinct from judgment. It thus emerges that, properly under-stood, Kant’s thesis about the spontaneity of the mind has a much wider scope and rests on very different grounds than is commonly believed.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  General Interest  Philosophy of Mind  Kant  Spontaneity  Perception
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0276-2080
DOI philtopics2006341/28
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 53,666
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Kant on Perceptual Content.Colin McLear - 2016 - Mind 125 (497):95-144.
Spatial Representation, Magnitude and the Two Stems of Cognition.Thomas Land - 2014 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 44 (5-6):524-550.
Minding the Gap: Subjectivism and the Deduction.Anil Gomes - 2018 - Kantian Review 23 (1):99-109.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Kant on Freedom of Empirical Thought.Markus Kohl - 2015 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 53 (2):301-26.
Spatial Representation, Magnitude and the Two Stems of Cognition.Thomas Land - 2014 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 44 (5-6):524-550.
Reflection, Enlightenment, and the Significance of Spontaneity in Kant.Melissa McBay Merritt - 2009 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 17 (5):981-1010.
Allison on Rational Agency.Stephen Engstrom - 1993 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 36 (4):405 – 418.
Kant and Strawson on the Objectivity Thesis.Patrick Fleming - 2004 - Idealistic Studies 34 (2):173-180.
Freedom of Judgement in Descartes, Hume, Spinoza and Kant.Leslie Stevenson - 2004 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 12 (2):223 – 246.
Three Types of Spontaneity and Teleology in Leibniz.Julia Jorati - 2015 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 53 (4):669-698.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
125 ( #73,994 of 2,349,163 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #331,146 of 2,349,163 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes