Constituting the mind: Kant, Davidson, and the unity of consciousness

International Journal of Philosophical Studies 7 (1):1-30 (1999)
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Abstract

Both Kant and Davidson view the existence of mental states, and so the possibility of mental content, as dependent on the obtaining of a certain unity among such states. And the unity at issue seems also to be tied, in the case of both thinkers, to a form of self-reflexivity. No appeal to self-reflexivity, however, can be adequate to explain the unity of consciousness that is necessary for the possibility of content- it merely shifts the focus of the question from the unity of consciousness in general to the unity of self-reflexivity in particular. Through a comparison of the views of Kant and Davidson on these matters, the nature of the unity of consciousness is explored, in relation to both the idea of the unity of the self and the unity that would seem to be required for the possibility of content. These forms of unity are seen to be indeed connected, and to be grounded, in Davidson and perhaps also in Kant, in organized, oriented, embodied activity.

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Author's Profile

Jeff Malpas
University of Tasmania

References found in this work

Thought and talk.Donald Davidson - 1975 - In Samuel D. Guttenplan & Samuel Guttenplan (eds.), Mind and Language. Clarendon Press. pp. 1975--7.
Persons and their pasts.Sydney Shoemaker - 1970 - American Philosophical Quarterly 7 (4):269-85.
Thought and Talk.Donald Davidson - 2003 - In John Heil (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press.
Kant and reductionism.Quassim Cassam - 1989 - Review of Metaphysics 43 (1):72-106.

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