According to non-conceptualist interpretations, Kant held that the application of concepts is not necessary for perceptual experience. Some have motivated non-conceptualism by noting the affinities between Kant's account of perception and contemporary relational theories of perception. In this paper I argue (i) that non-conceptualism cannot provide an account of the Transcendental Deduction and thus ought to be rejected; and (ii) that this has no bearing on the issue of whether Kant endorsed a relational account of perceptual experience.
For Kant, the human cognitive faculty has two sub-faculties: sensibility and the understanding. Each has pure forms which are necessary to us as humans: space and time for sensibility; the categories for the understanding. But Kant is careful to leave open the possibility of there being creatures like us, with both sensibility and understanding, who nevertheless have different pure forms of sensibility. They would be finite rational beings and discursive cognizers. But they would not be human. And this raises a (...) question about the pure forms of the understanding. Does Kant leave open the possibility of discursive cognizers who have different categories? Even if other discursive cognizers might not sense like us, must they at least think like us? We argue that textual and systematic considerations do not determine the answers to these questions and examine whether Kant thinks that the issue cannot be decided. Consideration of his wider views on the nature and limits of our knowledge of mind shows that Kant could indeed remain neutral on the issue but that the exact form his neutrality can take is subject to unexpected constraints. The result would be an important difference between what Kant says about discursive cognizers with other forms of sensibility and what he is in a position to say about discursive cognizers with other forms of understanding. Kantian humility here takes on a distinctive character. (shrink)
Visual experiences seem to exhibit phenomenological particularity: when you look at some object, it – that particular object – looks some way to you. But experiences exhibit generality too: when you look at a distinct but qualitatively identical object, things seem the same to you as they did in seeing the first object. Naïve realist accounts of visual experience have often been thought to have a problem with each of these observations. It has been claimed that naïve realist views cannot (...) account for the generality of visual experiences, and that the naïve realist explanation of particularity has unacceptable implications for self- knowledge: the knowledge we have of the character of our own experiences. We argue in this paper that neither claim is correct: naïve realism can explain the generality of experiences, and the naïve realist explanation of particularity raises no problems for our self-knowledge. (shrink)
Early twentieth-century philosophers of perception presented their naïve realist views of perceptual experience in anti-Kantian terms. For they took naïve realism about perceptual experience to be incompatible with Kant’s claims about the way the understanding is necessarily involved in perceptual consciousness. This essay seeks to situate a naïve realist account of visual experience within a recognisably Kantian framework by arguing that a naïve realist account of visual experience is compatible with the claim that the understanding is necessarily involved in the (...) perceptual experience of those rational beings with discursive intellects. The resultant view is middle way between recent conceptualist and non-conceptualist interpretations of Kant, holding that the understanding is necessarily involved in the kind of perceptual consciousness that we, as rational beings, enjoy whilst allowing that the relations of apprehension which constitute perceptual consciousness are independent of acts of the understanding. (shrink)
James Van Cleve has argued that Kant’s Transcendental Deduction of the categories shows, at most, that we must apply the categories to experience. And this falls short of Kant’s aim, which is to show that they must so apply. In this discussion I argue that once we have noted the differences between the first and second editions of the Deduction, this objection is less telling. But Van Cleve’s objection can help illuminate the structure of the B Deduction, and it suggests (...) an interesting reason why the rewriting might have been thought necessary. (shrink)
Scepticism is sometimes expressed about whether there is any interesting problem of other minds. In this paper I set out a version of the conceptual problem of other minds which turns on the way in which mental occurrences are presented to the subject and situate it in relation to debates about our knowledge of other people's mental lives. The result is a distinctive problem in the philosophy of mind concerning our relation to other people.
Phenomenal particularism is the view that particular external objects are sometimes part of the phenomenal character of perceptual experience. It is a central part of naïve realist or relational views of perception. We consider a series of recent objections to phenomenal particularism and argue that naïve realism has the resources to block them. In particular, we show that these objections rest on assumptions about the nature of phenomenal character that the naïve realist will reject, and that they ignore the full (...) resources that naïve realism has to offer in explaining phenomenal character. (shrink)
In the first part of this chapter, I summarise some of the issues in the philosophy of mind which are addressed in Kant’s Critical writings. In the second part, I chart some of the ways in which that discussion influenced twentieth-century analytic philosophy of mind and identify some of the themes which characterise Kantian approaches in the philosophy of mind.
In this paper I defend the claim that testimony can serve as a basic source of knowledge of other people’s mental lives against the objection that testimonial knowledge presupposes knowledge of other people’s mental lives and therefore can’t be used to explain it.
The aim of the Analytic of Concepts is to derive and deduce a set of pure concepts of the understanding, the categories, which play a central role in Kant’s explanation of the possibility of synthetic a priori cognition and judgment. This chapter is structured around two questions. First, what is a pure concept of the understanding? Second, what is involved in a deduction of a pure concept of the understanding? In answering the first, we focus on how the categories differ (...) from the pure forms of sensibility and examine whether they are known only to be the pure forms of human thinking or rather the forms of discursive cognition as such. In answering the second, we draw a distinction between the application and the exemplification of the categories and use it to identify different ways of understanding Kant’s project in the Transcendental Deduction of the Categories. These questions connect because the answer to the first determines how we should understand the kind of entitlement which is to be established in the Deduction. (shrink)
Our aim in this chapter is to shed light on Kant’s account of the pure forms of sensibility by focusing on a somewhat neglected issue: Kant’s restriction of his claims about space and time to the case of human sensibility. Kant argues that space and time are the pure forms of sensibility for human cognizers. But he also says that we cannot know whether space and time are likewise the pure forms of sensibility for all discursive cognizers. A great deal (...) of attention has focused on the first of these claims, both on how Kant argues for it and how it relates to transcendental idealism. But a satisfactory interpretation must also account for the second claim, and it must account for the fact that Kant endorses both of them. What we need is an explanation of why Kant thinks our knowledge that space and time are the pure forms of sensibility extends to all human beings but no further. (shrink)
In the section ‘Unity and Objectivity’ of The Bounds of Sense, P. F. Strawson argues for the thesis that unity of consciousness requires experience of an objective world. My aim in this essay is to evaluate this claim. In the first and second parts of the essay, I explicate Strawson's thesis, reconstruct his argument, and identify the point at which the argument fails. Strawson's discussion nevertheless raises an important question: are there ways in which we must think of our experiences (...) if we are to self-ascribe them? In the third part of the essay, I use Kant's remarks concerning the passivity of experience to suggest one answer to this question: in self-ascribing experiences, we must be capable of thinking of them as passive to their objects. This can be used to provide an alternative route from unity to objectivity. (shrink)
What method should we use to determine the nature of perceptual experience? My focus here is the Kantian thought that transcendental arguments can be used to determine the nature of perceptual experience. I set out a dilemma for the use of transcendental arguments in the philosophy of perception, one which turns on a comparison ofthe transcendental method with the first-personal method of early analytic philosophy, and with the empirical methods of much contemporary philosophy of mind. The transcendental method can avoid (...) this dilemma only if it commits to our possessing a capacity for imaginative reflection, one which is capable of identifying certain formal properties of experience.This result indicates some of the commitments which must be made if transcendental arguments are to be used in the philosophy of perception, and it has implications for those views that take the philosophy of perception to be autonomous of the empirical science of perception. (shrink)
Lucy Allais seeks to provide a reading of the Transcendental Deduction of the Categories which is compatible with a nonconceptualist account of Kant’s theory of intuition. According to her interpretation, the aim of the Deduction is to show that a priori concept application is required for empirical concept application. I argue that once we distinguish the application of the categories from the instantiation of the categories, we see that Allais’s reconstruction of the Deduction cannot provide an answer to Hume’s problem (...) about our entitlement to use a priori concepts when thinking about the objects of empirical intuition. If the Deduction is to provide a response to Hume, Allais’s interpretation must be rejected. (shrink)
What is the status of the claims which make up Kant’s arguments in the Critique of Pure Reason? This question seemed to Kant’s contemporaries to require a metacritique. Strawson’s criticisms of Kant should be understood in this context: as raising a metacritical challenge about Kant’s grounds for the claims which make up his arguments. What about the claims which make up Strawson’s own arguments in The Bounds of Sense? I argue in this chapter, against what I take to be the (...) general consensus, that Strawson did not and should not have understood these claims to be analytic. Rather he is somewhat puzzlingly committed to our possessing non-analytic but still a priori knowledge of his claims. What could such knowledge consist in? I’ll extract from G.E. Moore’s early writings on Kant a model for understanding such knowledge, one which enables us to better appreciate the way in which Strawson’s methodology dovetails with Kant’s own. (shrink)
Can the experience of great art play a role in our coming to understand the ethical framework of another person? In this article I draw out three themes from Iris Murdoch’s ‘The Sovereignty of Good’ in order to show the role that communal attention to works of art can play in our ethical lives. I situate this role in the context of Murdoch’s wider philosophical views.
In this paper I distinguish two ways of raising a sceptical problem of others' minds: via a problem concerning the possibility of error or via a problem concerning sources of knowledge. I give some reason to think that the second problem raises a more interesting problem in accounting for our knowledge of others’ minds and consider proposed solutions to the problem.
In a recent paper, Gray, Knickman, and Wegner present three experiments which they take to show that people perceive patients in a persistent vegetative state to have less mentality than the dead. Following on from Gomes and Parrott, we provide evidence to show that participants' responses in the initial experiments are an artifact of the questions posed. Results from two experiments show that, once the questions have been clarified, people do not ascribe more mental capacity to the dead than to (...) PVS patients. There is no reason to think that people perceive PVS patients as more dead than dead. (shrink)
‘How, then, she had asked herself, did one know one thing or another thing about people, sealed as they were?’ So asks Lily Briscoe in To the Lighthouse. It is this question, rather than any concern about pretence or deception, which forms the basis for the philosophical problem of other minds. Responses to this problem have tended to cluster around two solutions: either we know others’ minds through perception; or we know others’ minds through a form of inference. In the (...) first part of this paper I argue that this debate is best understood as concerning the question of whether our knowledge of others’ minds is based on perception or based on evidence. In the second part of the paper I suggest that our ordinary ways of thinking take our knowledge of others’ minds to be both non- evidential and non-perceptual. A satisfactory resolution to the philosophical problem of other minds thus requires us to take seriously the idea that we have a way of knowing about others’ minds which is both non-evidential and non-perceptual. I suggest that our knowledge of others’ minds which is based on their expressions – our expressive knowledge - may fit this bill. (shrink)
We are able to think of empirical objects as capable of existing unperceived. What explains our grasp of this conception of objects? In this paper I examine the claim that experience explains our understanding of objects as capable of existing unperceived with reference to Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. I argue that standard accounts of experience’s explanatory role are unsatisfactory, but that an alternative account can be extracted from the first Critique – one which relies on Kant’s transcendental idealism.
Internalism and externalism disagree about whether agents who are internally the same can differ in their mental states. But what is it for two agents to be internally the same? Standard formulations take agents to be internally the same in virtue of some metaphysical fact, for example, that they share intrinsic physical properties. Our aim in this chapter is to argue that such formulations should be rejected. We provide the outlines of an alternative formulation on which agents are internally the (...) same in virtue of facts about their epistemic capacities. The resulting formulation is one on which internalism and externalism are views about the extent to which an agent’s mental states can vary independently of the capacity for introspective discrimination. We suggest that this epistemic formulation of internalism and externalism picks out a substantive disagreement in philosophical theorizing about the nature of the mind. (shrink)
Quassim Cassam has recently defended a perceptual model of knowledge of other minds: one on which we can see and thereby know that another thinks and feels. In the course of defending this model, he addresses issues about our ability to think about other minds. I argue that his solution to this 'conceptual problem' does not work. A solution to the conceptual problem is necessary if we wish to explain knowledge of other minds.
John McDowell’s original motivation of disjunctivism occurs in the context of a problem regarding other minds. Recent commentators have insisted that McDowell’s disjunctivism should be classed as an epistemological disjunctivism about epistemic warrant, and distinguished from the perceptual disjunctivism of Hinton, Snowdon and others. In this paper I investigate the relation between the problem of other minds and disjunctivism, and raise some questions for this interpretation of McDowell.
Recent debates in the interpretation of Kant’s theoretical philosophy have focused on the nature of Kantian intuition and, in particular, on the question of whether intuitions depend for their existence on the existence of their objects. In this paper we show how opposing answers to this question determine different accounts of the nature of Kantian cognition and we suggest that progress can be made on determining the nature of intuition by considering the implications different views have for the nature of (...) cognition. (shrink)
Chapter 4 of Dennis Schulting’s book Kant’s Radical Subjectivism targets those commentators who take there to be a gap in the transcendental deduction of the categories, arguing instead that there is no gap between the necessary application of the categories and their exemplification in the object of experience. In these comments on the chapter, I suggest a minimal sense in which the fact that there is a gap is non-negotiable. The interesting question is not whether there is a gap which (...) needs to be bridged, but how and why Kant makes the step from subjectivity to objectivity. (shrink)
Peter Goldie has argued for a virtue theory of art, analogous to a virtue theory of ethics, one in which the skills and dispositions involved in the production and appreciation of art are virtues and not simply mere skills. In this note I highlight a link between the appreciation of art and its production, and explore the implications of such a link for a virtue theory of art.
In the essays which make up The Sovereignty of Good, Iris Murdoch gives us a picture of moral life in which ‘the metaphor of vision [is] almost irresistibly suggested’. This chapter aims to clarify the role played by the metaphor of vision in Murdoch’s philosophical thinking. I’ll examine two different things which might be meant by the term ‘moral vision’: vision of moral things or vision which is itself moral. The suggestion will be that whilst both capture something important about (...) Murdoch’s work, each may mislead about what is distinctive in her views. For Murdoch, I shall suggest, there is no distinctively moral vision. There is only vision: a loving gaze directed upon the reality of others. (shrink)
The essays in this volume explore those aspects of Kant’s writings which concern issues in the philosophy of mind. These issues are central to any understanding of Kant’s critical philosophy and they bear upon contemporary discussions in the philosophy of mind. Fourteen specially written essays address such questions as: What role does mental processing play in Kant’s account of intuition? What kinds of empirical models can be given of these operations? In what sense, and in what ways, are intuitions object-dependent? (...) How should we understand the nature of the imagination? What is inner sense, and what does it mean to say that time is the form of inner sense? Can we cognize ourselves through inner sense? How do we self-ascribe our beliefs and what role does self-consciousness play in our judgments? Is the will involved in judging? What kind of knowledge can we have of the self ? And what kind of knowledge of the self does Kant proscribe? These essays showcase the depth of Kant’s writings in the philosophy of mind, and the centrality of those writings to his wider philosophical project. Moreover, they show the continued relevance of Kant’s writings to contemporary debates about the nature of mind and self. Contents: 0. Introduction Anil Gomes and Andrew Stephenson 1. Kant, The Philosophy Of Mind, And Twentieth Century Analytic Philosophy Anil Gomes 2. Synthesis And Binding Lucy Allais 3. Understanding Non-Conceptual Representation Of Objects: Empirical Models Of Sensibility’s Operation Katherine Dunlop 4. Are Kantian Intuitions Object-Dependent? Stefanie Grüne 5. Intuition And Presence Colin McLear 6. Imagination And Inner Intuition Andrew Stephenson 7. Inner Sense And Time Ralf M. Bader 8. Can’t Kant Cognize Himself? Or, A Problem For (Almost) Every Interpretation Of The Refutation Of Idealism Andrew Chignell 9. A Kantian Critique Of Transparency Patricia Kitcher 10. Judging For Reasons: On Kant And The Modalities Of Judgment Jessica Leech 11. Kant On Judging And The Will Jill Vance Buroker 12. Self and Selves Ralph C. S. Walker 13. Subjects Of Kant’s First Paralogism Tobias Rosefeldt 14. The Lessons Of Kant’s Paralogisms Paul Snowdon. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Gray, Knickman, and Wegner present three experiments which they take to show that people judge patients in a persistent vegetative state to have less mental capacity than the dead. They explain this result by claiming that people have implicit dualist or afterlife beliefs. This essay critically evaluates their experimental findings and their proposed explanation. We argue first that the experiments do not support the conclusion that people intuitively think PVS patients have less mentality than the dead. (...) And second, we provide an alternative explanation of our ascriptions of mentality to the dead and PVS patients, one which turns on Epicurean considerations about the nature of death. (shrink)
One of the abiding themes of the three essays which make up Iris Murdoch’s wonderful The Sovereignty of Good1 is that experience can be a way of our coming to possess aesthetic concepts. “We learn through attending to contexts, vocabulary develops through close attention to objects, and we can only understand others if we can to some extent share their [spatio-temporal and conceptual] contexts.” (IP, p.31). My interest in this paper is in what account of aesthetic experience can respect this (...) intuition; that “close attention to objects” can play an important role in our acquisition of aesthetic knowledge and concepts. I want to suggest that certain debates in the philosophy of mind can help us consider how aesthetic experience must be structured in order to play this role. (shrink)
Some comments on Quassim Cassam’s Self and World written for a conference at the Institute of Philosophy in 2017. I consider the objection that Cassam raises to Strawson’s argument from unity to objectivity in The Bounds of Sense and raise some general questions about Cassam’s problem of misconception and its application to transcendental arguments.
We are grateful to Ganson and Mehta (forthcoming) for their reply to our defence of phenomenal particularism against the objections raised by Mehta in his (2014). Their reply clarifies the nature of their objections to phenomenal particularism and helps identify the locus of our disagreements. In what follows we aim to defend phenomenal particularism against the objections raised in their reply.
P.F. Strawson (1919-2006) was one of the most significant philosophers of the twentieth-century. His career centred around Oxford – first as Tutor and Fellow at University College, then as Waynflete Professor of Metaphysical Philosophy at Magdalen College. His careful, thoughtful, and characteristically elegant written work was influential in moving Oxford philosophy from the anti-metaphysical leanings of A.J. Ayer and J.L. Austin to a renewed and rejuvenated era of traditional philosophy theorising, albeit domesticated in a distinctively Strawsonian fashion. His influence on (...) British philosophy persists through a generation of students who were brought up on his writings. (shrink)