A Study of Kant's Theoretical Philosophy and Idealism

Dissertation, University of California, San Diego (1996)

Camilla Serck-Hanssen
University of Oslo
The main purpose of this dissertation is to show how Kant's critical understanding of "apperception" emerged from systematic reasoning on the problem of cognition. I argue that my inquiry yields new insights into the meaning of "transcendental apperception" which resolve problems other interpreters have had with reconciling Kant's apparently vacillating and conflicting views on the self and the awareness thereof, show that Kant has a novel and radical conception of the self, and are pivotal for a proper understanding of Kant's idealism. ;Chapter 1 focuses on Kant's pre-critical writings. I suggest how Kant's explicit dissatisfaction with the Dissertation , and his move toward transcendental idealism, follow from certain arguments which are well in accord with Kant's views on thought and judgment in Spitzfindigkeit . In Chapter 2, I discuss Kant's Reflexionen in the so-called silent decade. The focus is his understanding of "I", "inner sense" and "apperception" and their relation, in his different attempts to answer that and how pure representations relate to objects. Chapter 3 offers an interpretation of the A-deduction as well as a discussion of two premises on which the deduction rests, the distinction in principle between sensibility and understanding, the existence of a priori concepts. Chapter 4 is mainly devoted to an interpretation of the B-deduction. I show how my understanding of "transcendental apperception" resolves a number of problems. It also gives rise to an interesting and original philosophical conception of thought as an act irreducible to natural processes. In Ch. 5, I show how the Dialectic in general and the Paralogisms in particular, support my reading of "transcendental apperception" as well as provide arguments which are pivotal for the proper understanding of Kant's idealism
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