There are two ways interpreters have tended to understand the nature of the laws of Kant’s pure general logic. On the first, these laws are unconditional norms for how we ought to think, and will govern anything that counts as thinking. On the second, these laws are formal criteria for being a thought, and violating them makes a putative thought not a thought. These traditions are in tension, in so far as the first depends on the possibility of thoughts that (...) violate these laws, and the second makes violation impossible. In this essay I develop an interpretation of Kant’s pure general logic that overcomes this tension. It accounts for the possibility of logical mistakes, as the first tradition does, while still establishing the absolute impossibility of logical aliens, as the second tradition does. I then argue that the formalist insight that illogical exercises of the understanding are not alternative ways coherent thoughts could have been, but are mere confusions, is fundamental for achieving a proper understanding of the absolute normativity of the laws of pure general logic. (shrink)
Do plants represent according to Kant? This is closely connected to the question of whether he held plants are alive, because he explains life in terms of the faculty to act on one’s own representations. He also explains life as having an immaterial principle of self-motion, and as a body’s interaction with a supersensible soul. I argue that because of the way plants move themselves, Kant is committed to their being alive, to their having a supersensible ground of their self-activity, (...) and to their having desires (although these are not conscious). This has important ramifications for Kant’s teleology and philosophy of mind. (shrink)
In this essay I examine Kant's analogy with life from §65 of the Critique of the power of Judgment. I argue that this analogy is central for understanding his notion of a natural end, for his account of the formative power of organisms in the third Critique, and for situating Kant's account of this power in relation to the Lebenskräfte of the vitalists.
A critical discussion of Lu-Adler's chapter on Kant's mature view of pure general logic. I sketch an alternative interpretation of its formality on which Kant would hold no deduction is possible of this logic's laws.
I give an overview of each of Quine's 1980 Kant lectures, as well as a critical discussion of the six interpretive essays in the volume. I close with a high-level reassessment of the relationship between the philosophical views of Quine, Hume, and Kant.
The consensus view in the literature is that, according to Kant, definitions in philosophy are impossible. While this is true prior to the advent of transcendental philosophy, I argue that with Kant's Copernican Turn definitions of some philosophical concepts, the categories, become possible. Along the way I discuss issues like why Kant introduces the ‘Analytic of Concepts’ as an analysis of the understanding, how this faculty, as the faculty for judging, provides the principle for the complete exhibition of the categories, (...) how the pure categories relate to the schematized categories, and how the latter can be used on empirical objects. (shrink)
Should objects count as necessarily having certain properties, despite their not having those properties when they do not exist? For example, should a cat that passes out of existence, and so no longer is a cat, nonetheless count as necessarily being a cat? In this essay I examine different ways of adapting Aldo Bressan’s MLν so that it can accommodate an affirmative answer to these questions. Anil Gupta, in The Logic of Common Nouns, creates a number of languages that have (...) a kinship with Bressan’s MLν , three of which are also tailored to affirmatively answering these questions. After comparing their languages, I argue that metaphysicians and philosophers of language should prefer MLν to Gupta’s languages in most applications because it can accommodate essential properties, like being a cat, while being more uniform and less cumbersome. (shrink)
In this essay I give a complete join semi-lattice of possible display-equivalence schemes for Display Logic, using the standard connectives, and leaving fixed only the schemes governing the star. In addition to proving the completeness of this list, I offer a discussion of the basic properties of these schemes.