kant’s critique of pure reason undertakes a systematic investigation of the possibility of synthetic cognition a priori so as to determine whether this kind of cognition is possible in the case of traditional metaphysics.1 While much scholarly attention has been devoted to the distinction between analytic and synthetic judgments as well as to that between the a priori and the a posteriori, less attention has been devoted to understanding exactly what cognition is for Kant. In particular, it is often insufficiently (...) clear what kind of mental state cognition is, what the exact nature of the conditions on cognition is, and how they are satisfied in the case of human beings. To bring greater clarity to... (shrink)
In the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant famously criticizes traditional metaphysics and its proofs of immortality, free will and God's existence. What is often overlooked is that Kant also explains why rational beings must ask metaphysical questions about 'unconditioned' objects such as souls, uncaused causes or God, and why answers to these questions will appear rationally compelling to them. In this book, Marcus Willaschek reconstructs and defends Kant's account of the rational sources of metaphysics. After carefully explaining Kant's conceptions of (...) reason and metaphysics, he offers detailed interpretations of the relevant passages from the Critique of Pure Reason in which Kant explains why reason seeks 'the unconditioned'. Willaschek offers a novel interpretation of the Transcendental Dialectic, pointing up its 'positive' side, while at the same time it uncovers a highly original account of metaphysical thinking that will be relevant to contemporary philosophical debates. (shrink)
Even though Kant’s theory of cognition is central to his Critique of Pure Reason, it has rarely been asked what exactly Kant means by the term “cognition”. Against the widespread assumption that cognition can be identified with knowledge or if not, that knowledge is at least a species of cognition, we argue that the concepts of cognition and knowledge in Kant are not only distinct, but even disjunct. To show this, we first investigate Kant’s explicit characterizations of the nature of (...) cognition. As it turns out, he introduces several different notions that must be carefully distinguished before identifying the one that is central to his project in the first Critique. We then consider the basic features of Kant’s conception of knowledge, indicating both how it involves assent and objective justification and how it relates to our contemporary conception. Next, we compare and contrast Kant’s understanding of cognition and his conception of knowledge in a way that allows us to present their fundamental differences and connections. We argue that while cognition, in the most relevant sense, is a species of representation that differs from other representations in that it involves the conceptual determination of a sensibly given object, knowledge is a kind of assent to a judgment that requires consciousness of a sufficient epistemic ground. Finally, by appreciating the differences between cognition and knowledge, we explain several of the implications this conception of cognition has for some of Kant’s main claims in the Critique of Pure Reason as a whole. Among other things, we show how Kant can deny cognition of specific things in themselves while allowing philosophical knowledge about things in themselves in general. (shrink)
Recently, there has been some discussion about the relationship between Kant's conception of right (the sphere of juridical rights and duties) and his moral theory (with the Categorical Imperative as its fundamental norm). In section 1, I briefly survey some recent contributions to this debate and distinguish between two different questions. First, does Kant's moral theory (as developed in the Groundwork and the Critique of Practical Reason ) imply , or validate, a Kantian conception of right (as developed in the (...) first part of the Metaphysics of Morals , the Doctrine of Right)? In other words, is the Categorical Imperative sufficient to show that the fundamental principles of right are normatively valid? Second, does Kant's conception of right presuppose his moral theory? In other words, is the Categorical Imperative necessary to show that the basic principles of right are normatively valid? In this paper, I will be primarily concerned with defending a negative answer to the first of these questions. In section 2, I will discuss Paul Guyer's attempt to vindicate a positive answer to the same question. In section 3, reasons will be given why any attempt to derive Kant's conception of right from the Categorical Imperative must fail because of the analytic connection between right and coercion. (shrink)
Within Kantian ethics and Kant scholarship, it is widely assumed that autonomy consists in the self-legislation of the principle of morality. In this paper, we challenge this view on both textual and philosophical grounds. We argue that Kant never unequivocally claims that the Moral Law is self-legislated and that he is not philosophically committed to this claim by his overall conception of morality. Instead, the idea of autonomy concerns only substantive moral laws, such as the law that one ought not (...) to lie. We argue that autonomy, thus understood, does not have the paradoxical features widely associated with it. Rather, our account highlights a theoretical option that has been neglected in the current debate on whether Kant is best interpreted as a realist or a constructivist, namely that the Moral Law is an a priori principle of pure practical reason that neither requires nor admits of being grounded in anything else. (shrink)
Der Aufsatz behandelt den Zusammenhang zwischen Recht, Ethik und Moral in der MdS. Ausgangspunkt ist der Befund, daß Kants System der Pflichten in der MdS weder konsistent noch vollständig ist, weil Rechts- und Tugendpflichten, entgegen Kants Annahme, den Bereich der moralischen Pflichten nicht erschöpfen . Kants System der Pflichten beruht auf den Unterscheidungen zwischen Recht und Ethik und zwischen Legalität und Moralität. Letztere konzipiert Kant in der MdS anders als in früheren Werken, indem er sie nun auf die beiden Arten (...) der "Gesetzgebung" in Recht und Ethik und die daraus entspringenden Gesetze zurückführt . Im Zusammenhang mit der "ethischen" Gesetzgebung ergibt sich das Problem, wie es ethisch geboten sein kann, aus Pflicht zu handeln . Analog dazu stellt sich mit Blick auf die "juridische" Gesetzgebung die Frage, warum man befugt ist, andere zu rechtlichem Handeln zu zwingen. Handelt es sich um eine moralische oder eine spezifisch rechtliche Befugnis? Es zeigt sich, daß Kant zwei unvereinbare Auffassung miteinander verbindet: Aus seiner "offiziellen" Auffassung, wonach das Recht ein Teil der Moral ist, würde folgen, daß die Zwangsbefugnis im Recht moralisch gerechtfertigt werden kann. Tatsächlich ist eine solche Rechtfertigung aber nicht möglich, die "offizielle" Auffassung also unzureichend. Kant greift in der MdS aber auch mehrfach auf eine "alternative" Auffassung zurück, der zufolge das Recht als eine eigenständige Form autonomer Gesetzgebung neben der Moral steht . Dieser alternativen Auffassung zufolge, die der "offiziellen" insgesamt überlegen ist, würde die "Rechtslehre" also gar nicht in die Metaphysik der Sitten gehören. (shrink)
In der "Transzendentalen Ästhetik" der KrV will Kant zeigen, daß Raum und Zeit Anschauungsformen und daher keine Eigenschaften der Dinge an sich sind. Es scheint jedoch, als übersehe er dabei die Möglichkeit, daß Raum und Zeit Anschauungsformen und zugleich Eigenschaften der Dinge an sich sein könnten. Dagegen soll hier gezeigt werden, daß Kants Beweis durchaus schlüssig ist. Dabei kommt es zunächst darauf an, die genaue Struktur des Kantischen Beweises zu verstehen. Darauf folgt eine Diskussion der Kantischen Begriffe Anschauung sowie Form (...) der Anschauung und reine Anschauung, in der sich unter anderem herausstellt, daß Kants Anschauungsbegriff im Sinne der aktuellen Philosophie des Geistes "externalistisch" konzipiert ist. Dies erlaubt es dann, den Schluß auf die Idealität von Raum und Zeit tatsächlich als Folgerung aus Kants vorhergehenden Ausführungen zu verstehen. Abschließend geht es um einige der Konsequenzen, die sich aus dieser Interpretation für das Verständnis des transzendentalen Idealismus ergeben. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to suggest that a necessary condition of autonomy has not been sufficiently recognized in the literature: the capacity to critically reflect on one’s practical attitudes (desires, preferences, values, etc.) in the light of new experiences . It will be argued that most prominent accounts of autonomy—ahistorical as well as history-sensitive—have either altogether failed to recognize this condition or at least failed to give an explicit account of it.
Defeasibility, most generally speaking, means that given some set of conditions A, something else B will hold, unless or until defeating conditions C apply. While the term was introduced into philosophy by legal philosopher H.L.A. Hart in 1949, today, the concept of defeasibility is employed in many different areas of philosophy. This volume for the first time brings together contributions on defeasibility from epistemology , legal philosophy and ethics and the philosophy of action . The volume ends with an extensive (...) bibliography. (shrink)
Kant’s revolutionary new approach to philosophy was accompanied by the introduction of a largely novel terminology. With the Kant-Lexikon, a lexical reference gives the modern reader access to his work on the basis of present-day editions and takes into account 20th century and contemporary research and advances in lexicology. The Kant-Lexikon includes 2395 entries authored by 221 scholars.
: Contextualist accounts of free will recently proposed by Hawthorne and Rieber imply that the same action can be both free and unfree. This paradoxical consequence can be avoided by thinking of contexts not as constituted by arbitrary moves in a conversation, but rather by social practices. The following two conditions are suggested as each necessary and jointly sufficient for free will: the agent is able to form considered practical judgements and to act accordingly, and the agent is the original (...) cause of her actions. A contextualist reformulation of the second condition is developed according to which only contexts in which responsibility is attributed are relevant for the kind of original causation required for free will, which allows for a non‐relativist contextualism about free will. (shrink)
This paper develops a non-relativist version of contextualism about knowledge. It is argued that a plausible contextualism must take into account three features of our practice of attributing knowledge: (1) knowledge-attributions follow a default-and-challenge pattern; (2) there are preconditions for a belief's enjoying the status of being justified by default (e.g. being orthodox); and (3) for an error-possibility to be a serious challenge, there has to be positive evidence that the possibility might be realized in the given situation. It is (...) argued that standard "semantic" versions of contextualism (e.g. those of Lewis, Cohen, DeRose) fail to take these features into account, which makes them overly hospitable to the sceptic, and that Williams' version of contextualism, although incorporating (1), fails to do justice to (2) and (3). According to the contextualism developed here, although epistemic standards vary with the context, the truth-value of particular knowledge-attributions does not. Contexts here are understood as being constituted by two elements: an epistemic practice (a rule-governed social practice such as a scientific discipline, the law, a craft etc., in which knowledge-claims are evaluated according to specific standards) and the "facts of the matter" (i.e. those facts which, together with the epistemic standards in question, determine which error-possibilities are relevant and thus have to be eliminated for a knowledge-claim to be true). If there are several epistemic practices, and thus several contexts, in which a knowledge-claim can be evaluated, it is the "strictest" practice that counts. In this way, the counterintuitive consequence of other versions of contextualism that the same knowledge-claim can be true in one context, but false in another, can be avoided. At the same time, scepticism can be resisted since even in the "strictest" epistemic practices, error-possibilities become relevant only when backed by positive evidence that they might in fact obtain. (shrink)
Unter „Skeptizismus" wird hier die Auffassung verstanden, daß unsere Meinungen, selbst wenn sie zufälligerweise wahr sein sollten, sind niemals gut genug begründet, um als Wissen gelten zu können. Die „kontextualistische" Reaktion auf den Skeptizismus beruht auf dem Gedanken, daß die Berechtigung von Wissensansprüchen u.a. vom jeweiligen Kontext abhängt, in dem sie erhoben werden. Diese Auffassung findet sich in unterschiedlicher Form zum Beispiel bei Peirce, Austin, dem späten Wittgenstein und, unter den neueren Autoren, bei Michael Williams, David Lewis und Hilary Putnam. (...) Der entscheidende Unterschied der hier vorgeschlagenen Lösung zu anderen Formen des epistemischen Kontextualismus liegt in einer Unterscheidung zwischen zwei Argumentationsebenen: der Ebene epistemischer Bewertung, auf der man sich mit Blick auf konkrete Inhalte ernsthaft die Frage stellt, ob man etwas weiß oder nicht, und der Ebene philosophischer Epistemologie, auf der man nach den Bedingungen und der Möglichkeit von Wissen im allgemeinen fragt. (shrink)
The Kant-Lexikon is a guide to the philosophical work of Immanuel Kant and incorporates the latest scholarship. This textbook edition presents the most important entries contained in the comprehensive, three-volume lexicon released in 2015.
Does perception provide us with direct and unmediated access to the world around us? The so-called 'argument from illusion ' has traditionally been supposed to show otherwise: from the subject's point of view, perceptual illusions are often indistinguishable from veridical perceptions; hence, perceptual experience, as such, cannot provide us with knowledge of the world, but only with knowledge of how things appear to us. Disjunctive accounts of perceptual experience, first proposed by John McDowell and Paul Snowdon in the early 1980s (...) and at the centre of current debates in the philosophy of perception, have been proposed to block this argument. According to the traditional view, a case of perception and a subjectively indistinguishable illusion or hallucination can exemplify what is fundamentally the same kind of mental state even though they differ in how they relate to the non-mental environment. In contrast, according to the disjunctive account, the concept of perceptual experience should be seen as essentially disjunctive, encompassing two distinct kinds of mental states, namely genuinely world-involving perceptions and mere appearances. This book presents seven recent essays on disjunctivism first published in two special issues of Philosophical Explorations: An International Journal for the Philosophy of Mind and Action. (shrink)
In his book Willensfreiheit , Geert Keil argues against the compatibility of free will and determinism by starting from the claim that the possibility to do otherwise than one actually does is an „analytic component“ of the concept of action. This he takes to imply that at no point in time prior to the action it is determined whether the action will take place. I argue against the move from to by pointing out that the kind of possibility mentioned in (...) should best be understood as a „practical possibility“ that requires no more than the agent's ability, and opportunity, to do the kind of action in question. I argue that it is extremely implausible to deny that agents can have the relevant abilities and opportunities in a deterministic universe and that Keil's arguments for such a denial already presuppose the incompatibilism they are meant to establish. (shrink)