PHENOMENA AND THINGS IN THEMSELVES
THE distinction between phenomena and things in themselves can be best approached by considering Kant's formulation of the alternative views of the nature of space and time. "What are space and time? Are they real existences? Or are they merely determinations or relations of things, such, however, as would also belong to them in themselves, even if they were not perceived, or are they attached to the form of perception only, and consequently to the subjective nature of our mind, without which these predicates can never be attributed to any thing?"1
Of these three alternatives, the first can be ignored. It is opposed to the second, and is the view that space and time are things rather than relations between things. This opposition falls within the first member of the wider opposition between things as they are in themselves and things as they are as perceived, and Kant, and indeed any one, would allow that if space and time belong to things as they are in themselves and not to things only as perceived, they are relations between things rather than things. The real issue, therefore, lies between the second and third alternatives. Are space and time relations between things which belong to them both in themselves and also as perceive by us, or are they relations which belong to things only as perceived?____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Kant's Theory of Knowledge. Contributors: H. A. Prichard - Author. Publisher: Clarendon Press. Place of publication: Oxford. Publication year: 1909. Page number: 71.