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


  • Patricia Kitcher Columbia University (USA)




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


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


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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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