A system of rational faculties: Additive or transformative?

European Journal of Philosophy 29 (4):918-936 (2021)
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In this essay, I focus on two questions. First, what is Kant's understanding of the sense in which our faculties form a unified system? And, second, what are the implications of this for the metaphysical relationships between the faculties within this system? To consider these questions, I begin with a brief discussion of Longuenesse's groundbreaking work on the teleological unity of the understanding as the faculty for judgment. In doing so, I argue for a generalization of Longuenesse's account along two dimensions. The result is a picture of our faculties as forming a teleological system—unified under the overarching aims of reason as the highest rational faculty. Then I discuss the recent debate between “additive” and “transformative” interpretations of the relationship between sensibility and the understand- ing, before proposing that we should interpret Kant as endorsing a moderate form of the “transformative” reading, which captures important elements of both the “additive” and the “transformative” account.



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Karl Schafer
University of Texas at Austin

Citations of this work

Transcendental Philosophy As Capacities‐First Philosophy.Karl Schafer - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (3):661-686.
Kant on Reason as the Capacity for Comprehension.Karl Schafer - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-19.
The Shape of the Kantian Mind.T. A. Pendlebury - 2022 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 104 (2):364-387.
Rationality: What Difference Does It Make?Colin McLear - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research:1-26.

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References found in this work

Additive Theories of Rationality: A Critique.Matthew Boyle - 2016 - European Journal of Philosophy 24 (3):527-555.
Kant.Paul Guyer - 2007 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 69 (4):767-767.
Kant’s Account of Cognition.Eric Watkins & Marcus Willaschek - 2017 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 55 (1):83-112.

View all 26 references / Add more references