Kantian Journal

2017 Vol. 36. No. 1

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Modality as a basis of Kant’s philosophical system and its connection to the language structure



This article examines the category of modality through the postulate of empirical thinking in general and in constructing a philosophical system where functions of consciousness are substantial elements. The system comprises ‘faculties of the mind’, as Kant calls them, namely, evaluation, cognition, and practical activity and norms. These forms of activity correlate with the world of possibilities, the actual world, and the world of necessity. Grammatical moods correspond to the modal worlds and the ‘faculties of the mind’. All this means that Kant’s system finds a reflection in the system of language, which is another argument in favour of the organicity of his philosophy. However, the philosophical ideas of Kant’s system can serve as basis for a theory of grammatical moods. Kant’s revolutionary idea of values, knowledge, and norms as three aspects of existential reality lead to a conclusion that modality and moods are not identical, despite being interrelated. The categories of modality do not express the essence of moods but rather the conditions for their functioning. This gives a new perspective on the study of moods and modalities. However, Kant’s system is a cohesive whole and no part of it can be used without considering this fact.


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