Kant on the original synthesis of understanding and sensibility

Jessica Williams
St. John's University
In this paper, I propose a novel interpretation of the role of the understanding in generating the unity of space and time. On the account I propose, we must distinguish between the unity that belongs to determinate spaces and times – which is a result of category-guided synthesis and which is Kant’s primary focus in §26 of the B-Deduction, including the famous B160–1n – and the unity that belongs to space and time themselves as all-encompassing structures. Non-conceptualist readers of Kant have argued that this latter unity cannot be the product of categorial synthesis. While they are correct that this unity is not the product of any particular act of category-guided synthesis, I argue that conceptualists are right to nevertheless attribute this unity to the understanding. I argue that it is a result of what we can think of as the ‘original’ synthesis of understanding and sensibility themselves – it is a synthesis, moreover, in which the whole is logically prior to the parts.
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Reprint years 2017, 2018
DOI 10.1080/09608788.2017.1334189
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References found in this work BETA

Two Kinds of Unity in the Critique of Pure Reason.Colin McLear - 2015 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 53 (1):79-110.
Critique of Pure Reason.I. Kant - 1787/1998 - Philosophy 59 (230):555-557.
Kant, Non-Conceptual Content and the Representation of Space.Lucy Allais - 2009 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 47 (3):pp. 383-413.
Kant and Nonconceptual Content.Robert Hanna - 2005 - European Journal of Philosophy 13 (2):247-290.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Shortest Way: Kant’s Rewriting of the Transcendental Deduction.Nathan Bauer - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-29.

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