Kant's Theory of Knowledge: An Outline of One Central Argument in the Critique of Pure Reason

By Graham Bird | Go to book overview

2
NOUMENA AND NOUMENALISM

'This latter must therefore be an external thing distinct from all my representations . . .' (B xli).

'. . . we shall never dream of seeking to inform ourselves about the objects of our senses as they are in themselves, that is, out of all relation to the senses' (A 380).

IT has often been supposed that Kant distinguished his theory from that of Berkeley only by admitting the existence of things in themselves or noumena, which served to explain and guarantee regularities to be found in the appearances immediately presented to our senses. Adickes, for example, held a view of this kind ( Kant und das Ding an sich, Ch. 3, p. 35), and Prichard's theory, outlined above, also ascribes it to Kant. Passages like that at A 109 (Ch. 1, pp. 4 ff.), in which Kant appeals to the notion of a transcendental object, might, mistakenly, be understood in Prichard's way. But there are many other passages in which Kant appears to speak, even more committally, of a causal relation between things in themselves and appearances, or of appearances as appearances of such noumenal objects. At the very start of the Aesthetic (B 34) Kant talks of objects affecting our senses, and although he does not there identify these objects as noumena, it has very often been supposed that they are identifiable in this way. In this chapter a number of passages will be examined which argue against the ascription of such views to Kant.

Before these passages are considered it is as well to project something of the background in which Kant uses the terms

-18-

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Kant's Theory of Knowledge: An Outline of One Central Argument in the Critique of Pure Reason
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • I - Phenomena And Phenomenalism 1
  • 2 - Noumena And Noumenalism 18
  • 3 - Transcendental And Empirical 36
  • 4 - Sensibility And Understanding 52
  • 5 - Intelligible Objects 65
  • 6 - The Transcendental Analytic 82
  • 7 - Categories And Judgments 91
  • (i) Introduction 110
  • 9 - The Transcendental Deduction (continued) 126
  • 10 - The First and Second Analogies 149
  • II - Personality 168
  • 12 - The Transition To Moral Philosophy 189
  • List of Books 205
  • Index 207
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