Attention and Synthesis in Kant's Conception of Experience

Philosophical Quarterly 67 (268):571-592 (2017)
Authors
Melissa M Merritt
University of New South Wales
Markos Valaris
University of New South Wales
Abstract
In an intriguing but neglected passage in the Transcendental Deduction, Kant appears to link the synthetic activity of the understanding in experience with the phenomenon of attention (B156-7n). In this paper, we take up this hint, and draw upon Kant's remarks about attention in the Anthropology to shed light on the vexed question of what, exactly, the understanding's role in experience is for Kant. We argue that reading Kant's claims about synthesis in this light allows us to combine two aspects of Kant's views that many commentators have thought are in tension with one another: on the one hand, Kant's apparent commitment to naïve realism about perception and, on the other, his apparent commitment to the necessity of synthetic activity by the understanding for any kind of cognitive contact with external objects.
Keywords perception  conceptualism  non-conceptualism  naïve realism  Critique of Pure Reason  Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View
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DOI 10.1093/pq/pqw085
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References found in this work BETA

The Transparency of Experience.Michael G. F. Martin - 2002 - Mind and Language 17 (4):376-425.
The Silence of the Senses.Charles S. Travis - 2004 - Mind 113 (449):57-94.
Perceptual Experience: Both Relational and Contentful.John McDowell - 2013 - European Journal of Philosophy 21 (1):144-157.
Two Kinds of Unity in the Critique of Pure Reason.Colin McLear - 2015 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 53 (1):79-110.
Kant and Nonconceptual Content.Robert Hanna - 2005 - European Journal of Philosophy 13 (2):247-290.

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Citations of this work BETA

Consciousness as Inner Sensation: Crusius and Kant.Jonas Jervell Indregard - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5.

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