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KAIM: Abstracts

Abstracts

 
Title Kant’s Anatomy of the Intelligent Mind
Author Wayne Waxman
Abstract

 In a 2005 editorial in the British newspaper The Guardian, Kant was declared “the undefeated heavyweight philosophy champion of the world” because he had the “great insight … to remove psychology from epistemology, arguing that knowledge is inevitably mediated by space, time and forms within our minds.” This is an accurate reflection of the consensus view of philosophers and scientists of mind alike that Kant’s accounts of space, time, nature, mathematics, and logic on the Critique of Pure Reason are rationalist, normativist, and nativist. Wayne Waxman argues that all this is untrue. (1) Kant neither asserted nor implied that Euclid and Newton are the final word in their respective sciences, and deemed nothing specific to them innate. (2) Rather than supposing that the psyche derives its fundamental forms from epistemology, he traced the first principles of ordinary, scientific, mathematical, and even logical knowledge to the psyche. (3) Aristotelean logic, in particular, exhausts the sphere of the logical for Kant precisely because he deduced it entirely from psychological principles of the unity of consciousness, resulting in a demarcation of logic from mathematics that would almost certainly set virtually everything regarded as logic today on the mathematical side of the ledger. (4) Although Kant derived his conception of the unity of consciousness from Descartes, he gave it new life by eliminating its epistemological and metaphysical baggage, reducing it to its logical essence, and grounding what remained on a wholly original conception of the a priori unity of sensibility. (5) Thus, far from departing from the course charted by British Empiricism, Kant’s anatomy of the understanding is continuous with, indeed the culmination of, the psychologization of philosophy initiated by Locke, advanced by Berkeley, and developed to its empirical outrance by Hume.Keywords

 Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, self-consciousness (apperception), intelligence, space and time, Empiricism, psychology, epistemology, logic, mathematics, physics

 

Chapter unnumbered
Chapter title
Memo to Readers
Chapter abstract

 This introductory text signals what is new and noteworthy in the book, and provides guidance for comprehending and evaluating it. It opens with some general remarks regarding the book’s relation to the same author’s Kant and the Empiricists. Understanding Understanding (2005), and recapitulates some of the themes common to both books. It then states the thesis that sets the book apart from others, that the categories presuppose apperception (pure self-consciousness) and not vice versa, and how its acceptance leads to privileging questions that seldom get asked, while marginalizing others that are otherwise central. The Memo concludes with a part-by-part, chapter-by-chapter synopsis of the whole.Chapter keywords

 

Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, self-consciousness (apperception), cognition, psychology, post-Fregean mathematical logic, non-Euclidean geometry, post-Newtonian physics, philosophy of language, Kant and the Empiricists

 

Chapter 1
Chapter title The psychological a priori
Chapter abstract

 This is the first of two introductory chapters that recapitulate and recontextualize the main results of four-chapter General Introduction to Kant and the Empiricists. It was argued there that the seemingly huge differences that distinguish Kant from the British Empiricists are the result of what is, at its root, a very slight divergence: Kant identified a source of representational content in the mind that neither Hume nor anyone before him ever thought of, basing his psychological philosophy on a doctrine of representations that are at once sensible and pure (i.e. in no respect empirical). Chapter one provides a preliminary textual tour intended to convince readers that there is indeed something in Kant’s treatment of the understanding in the Transcendental Analytic of the Critique of Pure Reason that can and should be construed as the “psychological a priori.”Chapter keywords

 

Transcendental Analytic, psychology, a priori, transcendental philosophy, metaphysics, consciousness, self-consciousness (apperception), spontaneity, the senses (sensibility, receptivity), the imagination

 

Chapter 2
Chapter title
Kant’s debt to British Empiricism
Chapter abstract

 Contrary to what Kant scholars tend to suppose, Kant owed by far his greatest debt to the British Empiricists, especially Hume. Kant owed to Hume not only the problem of the possibility of synthetic a priori judgments addressed in the Critique of Pure Reason, but the method of solving it is well, termed psychologism by the author. It consists in explicating the meaning and delimiting the scope of concepts at the heart of age-old philosophical disputes by tracing them to their origin as representations in the mind, with an eye to determining whether the psychological operations responsible for forming those representations contribute essential elements of their content. Kant’s debts to Locke for according philosophical pride of place to the psychology of intellection and to Berkeley for the anti-abstractionist separability principle are examined as well.Chapter keywords

 

Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Empiricism, Rationalism, sensibilism, intellectualism, psychologism, propositional thought, language, idealism

 

Chapter 3
Chapter title Unity of sensibility (1): sensation, intuition, and appearance
Chapter abstract

 Chapter three is the first of six on sensibility and its relation to the understanding. Its focus is sensation, intuition, and appearance. It also examines why Kant deemed pure intuition necessary to sensibility as such, without regard to the conceptual and cognitive uses to which it may be put. To this end, it is argued that given sensations alone, nothing like a unified sensibility would be possible, i.e. there would be no capacity to represent all possible affections of sense as a single, homogeneous manifold, united in one and the same consciousness. Pure intuition is therefore just as essential to sensibility as sense affections because only it can provide for such a unity of sensibility, a unity that proves to be nothing else than a prediscursive, precategorial expression of the original synthetic unity of apperception.

Chapter keywords

 

sensation, intuition, appearance, the manifold, self-consciousness (apperception), imagination, the senses (sensibility, receptivity), perceptual psychology, Transcendental Aesthetic, intensive magnitude

 

Chapter 4
Chapter title  Unity of sensibility (2): space and time
Chapter abstract

 This chapter applies the interpretation in chapter three of pure intuition as the basis for unity of sensibility to the particular cases of space and time. Beside detailing the features common to them as pure intuitions, it analyzes Kant’s account of space as the basis of the unity of the data of the outer senses (sensations), and then shows how his account of time as the basis of the unity of the data of inner sense impressions (self-affections) secures the a priori unity of all sensibility. Where the Transcendental Analytic is concerned, the key result of the chapter is that pure sensibility alone cannot account for how each space and time comes to be uniquely differentiated from and completely determined in relation to every one of the infinitely many other spaces and times made possible by pure intuitions. The task thus falls to the understanding and its pure concepts.Chapter keywords

 

Space and time, manifold, infinity, psychology, perception (apprehension), Transcendental Aesthetic, the senses (sensibility, receptivity), self-consciousness (apperception), spontaneity, Berkeley

 

Chapter 5
Chapter title A new understanding of understanding
Chapter abstract

 Chapter five focuses on those texts in the Transcendental Deduction of the Categories that support the thesis that pure space and time are prediscursive expressions of the unity of apperception: B136n, B140, B160-1, as well as A99-100 and A107. The aim of these analyses is to show that Kant developed a wholly new conception of the understanding as being, in the first instance, a faculty of apperception, responsible not only for concept-formation and judgment but for the pure formal intuitions of space and time as well. The chapter concludes with a synoptic overview of the multiple convergent lines of evidence expounded over the course of the book that show apperception to be necessary but not sufficient for the categories and the categories to be sufficient but not necessary for apperception.Chapter keywords

 

the understanding, self-consciousness (apperception), Transcendental Deduction of the Categories, synthesis, the senses (sensibility, receptivity), space and time, formal intuition, form of intuition

 

Chapter 6
Chapter title Mathematics and the unity of sensibility
Chapter abstract

 This chapter focuses on Kant’s account of the possibility of mathematics in relation to the transcendental expositions of space and time in the Transcendental Aesthetic, that is, the role of sensibility therein (space and time) rather than understanding (through the categories). It is argued that Kant was nothing like the Euclidean dogmatist he is commonly portrayed as being by showing that and how his account of sensibility is perfectly capable of accommodating mathematical spaces of any curvature and number of dimensions. It is also shown how this account enabled him to explain the possibility not only of geometry but even the most abstract, purely symbolic varieties of mathematics, among which post-Fregean mathematical logic should probably be included.Chapter keywords

 

Transcendental Aesthetic, transcendental exposition, space and time, non-Euclidean geometry, arithmetic, algebra, mathematical logic, quantification theory, set theory, Frege

 

Chapter 7
Chapter title Idealism and realism
Chapter abstract

 Chapter seven makes the case that the distinction drawn between appearances and sensations in chapter three is essential to comprehending Kant’s distinction between idealism and realism, especially his claim that transcendental idealism always pairs with empirical realism and transcendental realism with empirical idealism. Crucial to the distinction is recognizing the distinctness from sensations of both components of appearances, their matter no less than their form. The chapter also addresses the question of why Kant seems to preclude non-idealism – being neither a transcendental nor an empirical idealist – as a possible philosophical option, and considers his distinctions between appearance and illusion and between appearance and reality.Chapter keywords

Idealism, realism, Descartes, Malebranche, Leibniz, Berkeley, Hume, sensation, appearance, illusion

 

Chapter 8
Chapter title Things in themselves: a Kantian refutation of Berkeley’s idealism
Chapter abstract

 This chapter presents Kant’s doctrine of things in themselves as the affirmation of a robust esse is NOT percipi realism that trumps Berkeley’s esse is percipi idealism. It opens with a recapitulation of the analysis of Berkeley’s idealism in Kant and the Empiricists, then shows how Kant’s thesis that perception – the most primitive level of consciousness – involves imagination as well as sense serves to distinguish sense affection from perception, and how this enabled him to extract a concept of subjectively unconditioned existence from the fact of affection sufficient to represent and affirm things in themselves. It is argued that this thesis is analytic, and therefore not a violation of Kant’s proscription of synthetic cognition beyond the field of appearances. The transcendental subject, the nature of representation (Vorstellung), and the basis of Kant’s fundamental ontological dichotomy between representations and things in themselves are also discussed.Chapter keywords

 

realism, idealism, Berkeley, consciousness, perception, sensation, thing in itself, representation, mind, the subject

 

Chapter 9
Chapter title Concepts in mind
Chapter abstract

 This is the first of three chapters on the metaphysical deduction of the categories. Its focus is Kant’s vital but neglected account of the possibility of thought as such, be it cognitive or not. At its core is his explanation of how concepts are possible, i.e. the logical universality that constitutes their form irrespective of their matter (the object thought in them). This Kant did by explicating logical universality in terms of the representation of the identity of the I think (pure self-consciousness as analytic unity of apperception). It is then argued that neither the I think nor the synthetic unity of apperception it presupposes in any way involve the categories, and that this presupposed synthetic unity is none other than the unity of sensibility effected by pure intuition. It thus becomes possible to conceptualize prior to the categories, logical functions, and even the psychological operations of reflection, comparison, and abstraction.Chapter keywords

 

logic, universals, concepts, language, Rationalism, Hume, self-consciousness (apperception), the I think, space and time

 

Chapter 10
Chapter title A defense of Kant’s table of judgments
Chapter abstract

 Once concepts (representations made universal by the I think) are present in the mind, a means is required to put them to representational use. Since it is the very nature of general representations not to be combinable by purely aesthetic means (juxtaposition or succession, by color, smell, etc.), doing so demands a set of forms completely different in nature from space and time: logical functions of judgment. Insofar as the latter make each representation logically combinable with every other, they constitute a discursive yet precategorial synthetic unity of apperception. Along the way, the logical functions in Kant’s table of judgments are analysed individually with an eye to showing that there can be no other properly logical forms than these twelve, which uniquely pertain exclusively to the logical form conferred on representations by the I think.Chapter keywords

 

logical form, propositional thought (judgment), truth-functional logic, language, subject-predicate form, ground-consequent relations, disjunctive form, modality, logical quantity, logical quality

 

Chapter 11
Chapter title The Metaphysical Deduction of the Categories
Chapter abstract

 This chapter deals with the metaphysical deduction of the categories proper: their derivation from logical functions of judgment as pure concepts of the understanding that enable us to think objects. It focuses first on the derivation itself, proceeding by extending Kant’s treatment of substance at B128-9 to each of the other categories. The remainder is centered on the problem of how an object can be thought through concepts whose contents derive entirely from purely formal logical functions. Kant’s solution involves expanding the bare bones categories of the B128-9 model into universal representations of the determination of the pure synthesis in imagination of the a priori manifold of sense conformably to the logical functions (A78-9/B104-5). As such, the categories count as concepts of the necessary relation of the distinct, and so furnish Kant’s response to the portion of Hume’s skepticism regarding the possibility of such concepts.Chapter keywords

 

metaphysical deduction of the categories, substance, cause, quantity, quality, modality, pure synthesis, Hume, skepticism

 

Chapter 12
Chapter title Interpreting the Transcendental Deduction of the Categories
Chapter abstract

 This, the first of four chapters on the Transcendental Deduction of the Categories, asks what it is. Interpreters who emphasize Kant’s distinction at A84/B116 between a quid juris and a quid facti take it to show that the Deduction is anti-psychological and normative in character. But this places far too much weight on an inconclusive introductory text, and far too little on all the psychology that transpires in the Deduction itself. The chapter then focuses on two texts in which Kant described what he was actually doing: the distinction between subjective and objective transcendental deductions in the A edition Preface of the Critique of Pure Reason and the lengthy footnote in the Preface to the Metaphysical First Principles of Natural Science. Their analysis shows that the Transcendental Deduction of the Categories not only is an exercise in a priori psychology, but the single most psychological component of Kant’s philosophy.Chapter keywords

 

quid juris, normativism, Hume, subjective transcendental deduction of the categories, objective transcendental deduction of the categories, psychology, preestablished harmony

 

Chapter 13
Chapter title The A edition transcendental deduction: objects as concepts of the necessary synthetic unity of the manifold
Chapter abstract

 Kant raised a question about the possibility of experience-bred customary association that Hume needed to address but never did: how is it possible to represent the objectively ordered succession of perceptions implicated in our ability to cognize the constancy and frequency of conjunctions of perceptions? This problem is then sunk into a deeper question, specific to Kant’s system (chapter four): since sensibility contributes neither order nor relation to the manifolds of space and time, it can do nothing to differentiate and determine each space and each time relatively the infinitely many other spaces and times possible in those manifolds. It consequently falls to the understanding to make good this want through a transcendental synthesis founded on its pure concepts. Since this makes transcendental synthesis a condition of the possibility of experience and its objects, Kant used it provide the categories with a transcendental deduction of their application to these objects.Chapter keywords

 

Transcendental Deduction of the Categories, Hume, experience, cognition, objects, nature, self-consciousness (objective unity of apperception), association in imagination, recognition in concepts

 

Chapter 14
Chapter title The B edition transcendental deduction: objective unity of apperception and transcendental synthesis
Chapter abstract

 Chapter fourteen opens with a defense of Kant’s claim that there is no substantive divergence between the 1781 and 1787 versions of the Transcendental Deduction. It then pinpoints their expository difference in the tendency of the earlier version to fold the synthesis intellectualis, which holds for any sensible intuition in general, into the synthesis speciosa, which applies the categories to objects of our sensible spatio-temporal intuition in particular. The 1787 version improves on this by dealing with the two syntheses separately and sequentially, thereby permitting Kant to highlight the role of the logical functions and categories in the constitution of experience and its objects more effectively than in the original version. The chapter concludes with a consideration of John MacFarlane’s comparison between Kant and Frege, arguing that it falls short because it neglects Kant’s transcendental account of the possibility of general logic.Chapter keywords

 

Transcendental Deduction of the Categories, self-consciousness (objective unity of apperception), figurative synthesis (synthesis speciosa), intellectual synthesis (synthesis intellectualis), judgment, MacFarlane, general logic, Frege

 

Chapter 15
Chapter title A category by category elucidation of the transcendental synthesis speciosa of pure formal intuition
Chapter abstract

3–5 sentences, or around 120 words and no more than 150 wordsThis is the only chapter that is more a supplement to Kant’s text than an exposition. It is a category-by-category elucidation of how transcendental synthesis speciosa introduces objective unity of apperception into the manifold of pure-formal space and time. It is, in effect, a chance to see the categories in action in a way Kant himself never quite managed, at least not in this detail, and certainly not in respect to the pure formal manifold of space and time that he held to be presupposed not only by experiential cognition but pure mathematics. It is needed to solve Kant’s heterogeneity problem: how can purely sensible space and time combine with purely intellectual categories to yield cognitive experience without committing the subreption Kant termed “transcendental amphiboly” (sensibilizing the intellectual à la Locke or intellectualizing the sensible à la Leibniz)?Chapter keywords

.

figurative synthesis (synthesis speciosa), objective space and time, transcendental amphiboly, ground-consequence relations, infinite dimensional space, Berkeley, number, extensive magnitude, continuous and discrete magnitude

 

Chapter 16
Chapter title Subsuming reality: schematism and transcendental judgment
Chapter abstract

 The first of three chapters on transcendental judgment, chapter sixteen explains transcendental schematism as the extension of the transcendental synthesis speciosa of the manifold of pure-formal intuition elucidated in chapter fifteen to the empirical-material manifold of realities apprehended in perception. Schemata are needed because pure-formal space and time lack empirical-material reality, which means that whatever has such reality has no space and time in which to exist (occupy or contain). Schemata make good this want, so that empirical realities are differentiated and determined exactly as they would be if there were a space and time in the field of appearance that conformed to transcendentally synthesized pure-formal space and time. The chapter then analyzes the schemata individually and their role as the predicates of transcendental judgments.Chapter keywords

 

transcendental judgment, schematism, physical space and time, reality, number, intensive magnitude, community, modality

 

Chapter 17
Chapter title Time out of mind: Kant’s system of principles of pure understanding
Chapter abstract

 Chapter seventeen deals with Kant’s system of principles of pure understanding, focusing particularly on the three Analogies of Experience. It relates the first two Analogies to Hume by taking the linear time series of perceptions presupposed by experience and customary association (chapter thirteen) as its focus. Since the Hume portions of the discussion rely heavily on the analysis of his account of personal identity in Kant and the Empiricists chapters 3 and 17, this background is recalled to show, first, why nothing less than a true permanent will do for the principle of the First Analogy, and, second, how the principle of the Second Analogy makes possible a Kantian account of continuants comparable to Hume’s. The chapter concludes with an examination of the Third Analogy centered on Kant’s distinction between community as commercium and as communio (local community).Chapter keywords

 

principles of pure understanding, Analogies of Experience, Hume, substance, duration, cause and effect, succession, continuants, community, simultaneity, nature

 

Chapter 18
Chapter title Our place in nature and its place in us
Chapter abstract

 This chapter utilizes the distinction between community as commercium and as communio to make sense of Kant’s conception of the empirical self, its place in material nature, the explication of nature as the unity of apperception at A216/B263, and the difference between the merely epistemological worth he accorded to ordinary and scientific knowledge and the properly ontological value he ascribed to transcendental philosophical knowledge. The chapter concludes with an examination of the Postulates of Empirical Thought and the concept of nature that emerges from them. It is argued that the latter is fully compatible with the theories and models of physics, general relativity and quantum theory not excepted.Chapter keywords

 

self-consciousness (apperception), Analogies of Experience, Postulates of Empirical Thought, nature, the self, ontology, epistemology, physics, quantum theory

 

Chapter Unnumbered (conclusion)
Chapter title Reversing the frame
Chapter abstract

 The conclusion reconsiders Kant’s relation to the philosophy and sciences of mind when the frame is reversed from Kant the anti-psychological critic of psychological philosophy to Kant the preeminent psychological critic of anti-psychological philosophy. It is argued that there is a great deal more to the question of the sensible or intellectual origin of mental representations than tends to be supposed. Kant’s claim that consciousness is essential to intelligent mind is then traced back to the intellectual conception of self-consciousness originated by Descartes, but restricted by Kant to a purely logical meaning, divested of its Cartesian epistemological and metaphysical baggage. The I think thus becomes both the explanans and explanandum of an a priori psychological philosophy that retains sufficient interest to deserve a prominent place as part of the philosophical background to contemporary philosophy and science of mind.Chapter keywords

 

philosophy of mind, psychology, cognitive science, language, Empiricism, Rationalism, qualia, introspection, Descartes, self-consciousness (apperception)

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