Kant, Grounding, and Things in Themselves

Philosophers' Imprint 18 (2018)
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Abstract

One of the central issues dividing proponents of metaphysical interpretations of transcendental idealism concerns Kant’s views on the distinctness of things in themselves and appearances. Proponents of metaphysical one-object interpretations claim that things in themselves and appearances are related by some kind of one-object grounding relation, through which the grounding and grounded relata are different aspects of the same object. Proponents of metaphysical two-object interpretations, by contrast, claim that things in themselves and appearances are related by some kind of two-object grounding relation, through which the grounding and grounded relata involve distinct objects. By way of investigating Kant’s overarching account of grounding, I will argue that the most plausible metaphysical interpretation of transcendental idealism is one on which we can know that there are things in themselves grounding appearances, but not which specific kind of one- or two-object grounding relation obtain between them. Our ignorance of things in themselves therefore extends to their distinctness from appearances — pace both metaphysical one-object interpretations and metaphysical two-object interpretations.

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Joe Stratmann
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Citations of this work

On the Transcendental Freedom of the Intellect.Colin McLear - 2020 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 7:35-104.
Rationality: What Difference Does It Make?Colin McLear - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research:1-26.
Kant on the Givenness of Space and Time.Rosalind Chaplin - 2022 - European Journal of Philosophy 30 (3):877-898.

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