What is Necessary and What is Contingent in Kant’s Empirical Self?

Authors

  • Patricia Kitcher Columbia University (USA)

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.31649/sent43.01.008

Keywords:

Transcendental Aesthetic, outer sense, inner sense, transcendental self, transcendental concepts, absolute subject, the I-think

Abstract

How does Kant understand the representation of an empirical self? For Kant, the sources of the representation must be both a priori and a posteriori. Several scholars claim that the a priori part of the ‘self’ representation is supplied by the category of ‘substance,’ either a regular substance (Andrew Chignell), a minimal substance (Karl Ameriks) or a substance analog (Katharina Kraus). However, Kant opens the Paralogisms chapter by announcing that there is a thirteenth ‘transcendental’ concept or category: “We now come to a concept that was not entered in the above general list of transcendental concepts, and that must yet be classed with them … This is the concept – or, if one prefers, the judgment – I think.” (A341/B399). I argue that it is the ‘I think’ that provides the a priori framework for the representation of the empirical self.

Author Biography

Patricia Kitcher, Columbia University (USA)

professor emeritus

References

Allison, H. E. (2015). Kant’s Transcendental Deduction: A Commentary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198724858.001.0001

Ameriks, K. (2000). Kant's Theory of Mind (2nd Edition). Oxford: Clarenden Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/0198238975.001.0001

Chignell, A. (2017). Can’t Kant Cognize Himself? Or, a Problem for (Almost) Every Interpretation of the Refutation of Idealism. In A. Gomes & A. Stephenson (Eds.), Kant and the Philosophy of Mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198724957.003.0008

Hume, D. (1978). A Treatise of Human Nature. (P. H. Nidditch & L. A. Selby-Bigge, Eds.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kant, I. (1900-). Gesammelte Schriften (Bd. 1-29). (Preussische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Deutsche Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin, Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, Hrsg.). Berlin: Reimer, & De Gruyter.

Kraus, K. T. (2020). Kant on Self-Knowledge and Self-Formation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108874304

Longuenesse, B. (2012). Two Uses of ‘I’ as Subject. In S. Prosser & F. Recanati (Eds.), Immunity to Error through Misidentification (pp. 81-103). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139043274.006

Pluhar, W. (Trans.). (1996). Immanuel Kant. Critique of Pure Reason. Unified edition (with all variants from the 1781 and 1787 editions). Indianapolis & Cambridge: Hackett.

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Published

2024-04-30

How to Cite

Kitcher, P. (2024). What is Necessary and What is Contingent in Kant’s Empirical Self?. Sententiae, 43(1), 8–17. https://doi.org/10.31649/sent43.01.008

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