Infinity and givenness: Kant on the intuitive origin of spatial representation

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 44 (5-6):551-579 (2014)


I advance a novel interpretation of Kant's argument that our original representation of space must be intuitive, according to which the intuitive status of spatial representation is secured by its infinitary structure. I defend a conception of intuitive representation as what must be given to the mind in order to be thought at all. Discursive representation, as modelled on the specific division of a highest genus into species, cannot account for infinite complexity. Because we represent space as infinitely complex, the spatial manifold cannot be generated discursively and must therefore be given to the mind, i.e. represented in intuition


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Daniel Smyth
Wesleyan University

Citations of this work

Kant on the Original Synthesis of Understanding and Sensibility.Jessica J. Williams - 2018 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 26 (1):66-86.
Self-Affection and Pure Intuition in Kant.Jonas Jervell Indregard - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (4):627-643.
Kant on the Givenness of Space and Time.Rosalind Chaplin - 2022 - European Journal of Philosophy.

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