Three kinds of rationalism and the non-spatiality of things in themselves

Journal of the History of Philosophy 47 (3):pp. 355-382 (2009)
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In the transcendental aesthetic of the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant claims that space and time are neither things in themselves nor properties of things in themselves but mere subjective forms of our sensible experience. Call this the Subjectivity Thesis. The striking conclusion follows an analysis of the representations of space and time. Kant argues that the two representations function as a priori conditions of experience, and are singular "intuitions" rather than general concepts. He also contends that the representations underwrite some non-trivial a priori cognition of the objects of sensible experience. The Subjectivity Thesis is then presented as an immediate consequence: Space represents no property at all of any things in themselves nor any relation of them to each other. . . . For neither absolute nor relative determinations can be intuited prior to the existence of the things to which they pertain, thus [neither] can be intuited a priori. Time is not something which exists of itself, or which inheres in things as an objective determination. . . . [Were it] a determination or order inhering in things themselves, it could not precede the objects as their condition, and be known and intuited a priori by means of synthetic propositions. Kant's argument for the Subjectivity Thesis seems to have the following structure: * No absolute or relational features of things in themselves can be cognized a priori



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Desmond Hogan
Princeton University

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Kant. [REVIEW]Karl Ameriks - 1980 - Teaching Philosophy 3 (3):359-363.

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