Who’s Afraid of Double Affection?

Philosophers' Imprint 15 (2015)
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Abstract

There is substantial textual evidence that Kant held the doctrine of double affection: subjects are causally affected both by things in themselves and by appearances. However, Kant commentators have been loath to attribute this view to him, for the doctrine of double affection is widely thought to face insuperable problems. I begin by explaining what I take to be the most serious problem faced by the doctrine of double affection: appearances cannot cause the very experience in virtue of which they have their empirical properties. My solution consists in distinguishing the sense of ‘experience’ in which empirical objects cause experience from the sense of ‘experience’ in which experience determines empirical objects. I call the latter “universal experience”. I develop my conception of universal experience, and then I explain how it solves the problem of double affection. I conclude by addressing several objections

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Nicholas Stang
University of Toronto, St. George

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