Kant on Representation and Objectivity

Kant on Representation and Objectivity

Kant on Representation and Objectivity

Kant on Representation and Objectivity

Synopsis

This book is a study of the second-edition version of the "Transcendental Deduction" (the so-called "B-Deduction"), one of the most important and obscure sections of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. Adam Dickerson analyzes most of the key themes in Kant's theory of knowledge, including the nature of thought and representation, the notion of objectivity, and the way in which the mind structures our experience of the world.

Excerpt

This book is a study of the argument that lies at the heart of Kant's epistemology: the argument of the 'Transcendental Deduction of the Pure Concepts of the Understanding'. It focuses on the version of that argument given in the second edition of the Critique of Pure Reason (i.e., the so-called 'B-Deduction'). the main interpretations of this argument that are to be found in the secondary literature read it as hinging on notions such as personal identity, the 'ownership' of mental states, or the ontological unity of the mind. I, on the other hand, will argue that in the B-Deduction Kant is crucially concerned with the problem of how the 'objective reality' or content of a representation – and, in particular, of a complex representation – becomes accessible to the subject that has the representation. in other words, he is concerned with the representationalist parallel of the semantic question of what it is to understand a complex sign.

In summary, my interpretation of Kant's argument in the B-Deduction is as follows. in order for the subject to have a unified grasp of a complex representation – or, as Kant puts it, for the 'unity of apperception' to be possible – an act of 'spontaneous synthesis' is required. This is an act of the mind that plays a role in generating the representational content of the subject's experience. Kant then argues that such spontaneity can retain its objectivity – that is, can generate a representation genuinely deserving to be called 'cognition' – only if the synthesis is determined solely by the essential features of the subject qua cognising discursive mind, and not by any contingent features of the subject's psychology. the cognising discursive mind is essentially a judging mind, and therefore the spontaneous synthesis must be governed by rules having their source in the essential structure of judgment – that is, by the categories. Hence, the categories make our cognition possible.

What is perhaps my key interpretative claim is that at the core of the B-Deduction is a problem – the problem of making intelligible the unity of complex representations – that is the representationalist parallel of the . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.