Incongruent counterparts are pairs of objects which cannot be enclosed in the same spatial limits despite an exact similarity in magnitude, proportion, and relative position of their parts. Kant discerns in such objects, whose most familiar example is left and right hands, a “paradox” demanding “demotion of space and time to mere forms of our sensory intuition.” This paper aims at an adequate understanding of Kant’s enigmatic idealist argument from handed objects, as well as an understanding of its relation to (...) the other key supports of his idealism. The paper’s central finding is that Kant’s idealist argument from incongruent counterparts rests essentially on his theory of freedom. The surprising result sheds new light on deep and overlooked links among the pillars of transcendental idealism, pointing the way to a comprehensive and unified reading of Kant’s system of idealist arguments. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
A central doctrine of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason holds that the content of human experience is rooted in an affection of sensibility by unknowable things in themselves. This famous and puzzling affection doctrine raises two seemingly intractable old problems, which can be termed the Indispensability and the Consistency Problems. By what right does Kant present affection by supersensible entities as an indispensable requirement of experience? And how could any argument for such indispensability avoid violating the Critique's doctrine of noumenal (...) ignorance? This essay develops a new solution to both problems, setting out from the continuity between Kant's early and mature views on sensibility and mind-world relations. Kant's early writings subscribe to an interactionist cosmology opposed to both Leibniz's preestablished harmony and Malebranche's occasionalism. The modern debate on mind-world relations shaping Kant's early cosmology points us to a widely recognized motivation for interactionism, turning on a constraint on agency within certain noninteractionist cosmologies. In particular, Kant's early conversion to a libertarian theory of freedom, together with his rejection of occasionalism, provides the basis for a compelling argument for the indispensability of world-mind affection relations. Extended to the transcendental idealist framework, the same argument reveals noumenal affection as an indispensable presupposition of some knowledge claims consistently upheld by Kant. This leads in turn to a satisfying solution to the Consistency Problem, showing that the doctrine of noumenal affection is not merely consistent with, but is partly motivated by, Kant's commitment to noumenal ignorance. (shrink)
Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (KrV) presents a priori knowledge of synthetic truths as posing a philosophical problem of great import whose only possible solution vindicates the system of transcendental idealism. The work does not accord any such significance to a priori knowledge of analytic truths. The intelligibility of the contrast rests on the well-foundedness of Kant’s analytic–synthetic distinction and on his claim to objectively or correctly classify key judgments with respect to it. Though the correctness of Kant’s classification is (...) vital to his philosophical project, it has been vigorously challenged since he introduced his famous distinction of judgments. The aim of this essay is to explore several metaphysical motives contributing to Kant’s objective classification claim that have been underemphasized and in part overlooked in the large literature on the topic. (shrink)
The paper examines Kant’s views on divine foreknowledge of contingent truths, in particular truths concerning free actions of creatures. It first considers the shape this traditional philosophical problem takes in the transcendental idealist context. It then situates Kant’s views relative to three competing theories of foreknowledge discussed by Leibniz. These are Molina’s theory of middle knowledge, the Thomist theory of foreknowledge through divine predeterminations, and Leibniz’s own ‘possible worlds’ theory. The paper concludes that no consistent theory of divine foreknowledge emerges (...) in Kant’s philosophy. His discussions alternate between two inadequate and incompatible models. One is a post-volitional model suggested by his conception of the intuitive intellect’s relation to creation. Extended to creaturely free action, it is incompatible with his commitment to the relative autonomy of free action. The other is a version of Leibniz’s possible worlds solution; it cannot underwrite certain foreknowledge of determinate outcomes in a libertarian setting. (shrink)
This fine collection of essays is dedicated to Paul Guyer. It includes work by distinguished experts and younger scholars across a range of topics in Kant’s theoretical, moral, and political philosophy.Karl Ameriks’s “On the Many Senses of ‘Self-Determination’” responds to two misreadings of Kantian autonomy. One dismisses its notion of self-determination, the source of the auto-in autonomy, as an excessively subjective basis for morality; the other interprets its nomos as involving excessive determination of will by reason or sensibility. Ameriks responds (...) with careful analysis of Kant’s “provocative language” concerning the authorship and legislation of morality. This includes Kant’s famous description of... (shrink)
Langton’s study is a powerful new interpretation of Kant’s doctrine of the thing in itself. It offers an illuminating and thoughtful resolution of Kant’s allegedly inconsistent theses that things in themselves exist, they are the causes of appearances, and we cannot know them. The interpretation draws on central pre-Critical doctrines regarding the nature of substance and world, and finds in them the metaphysical grounds of the Critique of Pure Reason’s “humility” with regard to our knowledge of things in themselves.