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

By Graham Bird | Go to book overview

I
PHENOMENA AND PHENOMENALISM

'. . . which constrains us to regard all appearances (Erscheinungen) as data of the senses . . .' (A 122).

There is no one passage in the Critique of Pure Reason where Kant develops his account of perception. Such an account is nonetheless implicit in Kant's use of perceptual terms, and especially of his key term 'Erscheinung', which it is natural to translate either as 'appearance' or as 'phenomenon'. This lack of systematic development reflects important differences of aim and emphasis between Kant and modern philosophers of perception, which make it hard to attach any modern label to his account without adding some qualification. Yet both natural translations of the term 'Erscheinung' in English, as well as some of the ways in which Kant uses the term, strongly encourage the assumption that Kant must be a phenomenalist of some kind. Many philosophers, including Kemp Smith, Paton, Vleeschauwer, and Ayer, have indeed ascribed such a theory to Kant, although there is no guarantee that they have all understood this attribution in precisely the same way. For these reasons it is as well to be careful before classing Kant as an adherent of this, or any other, theory, however firmly such labels have stuck to him. In this chapter I want to indicate some difficulties in the way of at least some attributions of such a theory to Kant. It would not be sensible, in the space of one short chapter, to try to show that all such attributions are wholly wrong. It may nevertheless be useful to indicate defects in one such attribution, so that permission may be provisionally

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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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