Kant and the Demands of Self-Consciousness

By Pierre Keller | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
Time-consciousness in the Analogies

So far, we have seen that an impersonal consciousness of self can be regarded as a necessary condition for experience in as much as an impersonal perspective is built into our ability to interpret the world in terms of concepts. And, in a very general way, Kant has connected the possibility of such impersonal self-consciousness with the existence of categories. The task of this chapter is to explain how the categories can serve as enabling conditions of experience. Carrying out this task involves an explanation of the link between self-consciousness and the kind of time-consciousness that is necessary to any experience that is intelligible to us. For the sake of brevity, I shall restrict my discussion to the arguments Kant develops in the Analogies of Experience for the enabling role in experience of the most significant set of categories: the relational categories of substance, causation, and interaction.

In contrast to the categories of quantity and quality, the so-called mathematical categories, Kantdoes not regardthe dynamic categories in general, or the relational categories in particular, as constitutive of intuition. Kant insists that there cannot be intuitions that do not have some kind of extensive magnitude or metric, or some kind of intensive magnitude, or magnitude corresponding to the intensity of sensation involved in them. Nevertheless, he does regard the dynamic categories as constitutiveof any concept thatwe mighthave of an objectin experience:

In the transcendental analytic, we have distinguished amongst the principles of the understanding, between the dynamic, as merely regulative principles of intuition, and the mathematical, that are constitutive of the latter. Nevertheless, the dynamic laws in question are indeed constitutive of experience in that they make concepts possible a priori, without which no experience would take place. (A 664/B 692)

we might be able to have an immediate awareness of the contents of our perceptual field, even if the concepts of substance, cause, and interaction

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