Kant on Consciousness

In Sara Heinämaa & Martina Reuter (eds.), Psychology and Philosophy: Inquiries into the Soul from Late Scholasticism to Contemporary Thought. Springer Verlag (2008)

Camilla Serck-Hanssen
University of Oslo
The chapter examines Kant’s conceptions of consciousness and their relation to his views on psychology as a science. Kant does not develop a philosophy of mind as such, but through his reinterpretation of metaphysics he develops different notions of consciousness. The most central and specifically Kantian concept of consciousness is that of apperception. It is argued that ‘apperception’ is not to be understood as self-consciousness or self-awareness. Rather, apperception is a capacity to be aware of one’s spontaneous activities, and it can be further analyzed as the ability to respond to rules and norms. Thus understood, ‘apperception’ plays a central role not only in Kant’s theoretical philosophy but also in his moral and aesthetic theory. ‘Inner sense’ is another central concept for Kant. In the first Critique and later works, Kant distinguishes between apperception and inner sense: inner sense is the consciousness of what takes place within the mind as opposed to apperception, which is the consciousness of one’s activities. These two concepts of consciousness, ‘inner sense’ and ‘apperception’, generate two very different questions about the relation between consciousness and nature. On the one hand, there is the question of how inner or mental nature is related to physical nature; on the other hand, there is the question of how spontaneity is related to the whole of nature, inner nature as well as outer. As we shall see, Kant’s answer to the first question is closely related to his pessimism regarding the status of psychology as a science.
Keywords Apperception  Inner Sense  Mind-Body Relation  Transcendental Condition  Kant
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on Amazon.com
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 63,319
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Consciousness as Inner Sensation: Crusius and Kant.Jonas Jervell Indregard - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5.
Kant’s View of the Mind and Consciousness of Self.Andrew Brook - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Kant and the Scientific Study of Consciousness.Thomas Sturm & Falk Wunderlich - 2010 - History of the Human Sciences 23 (3):48-71.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Kant's Thinker.Patricia Kitcher - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
Non-Apperceptive Consciousness.Dennis Schulting - 2012 - In Riccardo Pozzo, Piero Giordanetti & Marco Sgarbi (eds.), Kant's Philosophy of the Unconscious. de Gruyter.
Kant's Argument for the Apperception Principle.Melissa McBay Merritt - 2011 - European Journal of Philosophy 19 (1):59-84.
On Strawson on Kantian Apperception.Dennis Schulting - 2008 - South African Journal of Philosophy 27 (3):257-271.
Kant and the Scientific Study of Consciousness.Thomas Sturm & Falk Wunderlich - 2010 - History of the Human Sciences 23 (3):48-71.
Deducing the Categories of Modality and Relation - Reich Revisited.Dennis Schulting - 2008 - In Valerio Rohden, Riccardo Terra & Guido de Almeida (eds.), Akten des 10. Internationalen Kant-Kongresses. de Gruyter. pp. 691--702.
Apperception and Spontaneity.Wolfgang Carl - 1997 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 5 (2):147 – 163.
Sartre on Kant in the Transcendence of the Ego.Liu Zhe - 2007 - Idealistic Studies 37 (1):67-76.


Added to PP index

Total views
37 ( #291,260 of 2,448,697 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #445,641 of 2,448,697 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes