Kantian Journal

2017 Vol. 36. No. 4

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Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology and a cognitive-semantic interpretation of Kant’s transcendentalism



This article analyses one of the recent realist interpretations of Kant — the one proposed by S. L. Katrechko. This interpretation is compared with the modern realistic understanding of Husserl’s phenomenology. Defined as cognitive-semantic, the interpretation is developed in several of S. L. Katrechko’s recent publications. According to S. L. Katrechko, Kant’s phenomenon (object) is a sign, whose referent is the thing in itself in the subjective and objective modes. The article considers two variants of the cognitive-semantic interpretation. The first one is based on Kant’s famous question as to how synthetic judgments are possible a priori. The variant defines the objective thing in itself as an empirical object that affects our sensibility. The second variant is based on the question ‘On what ground rests the relation of what we call representation in us to the object?’, as Kant put it in his letter to Herz. The subjective thing in itself is defined as a transcendental object and/or phenomenon. It is emphasised that, in a certain sense, the second variant of S. L. Katrechko’s interpretation antecedes Husserl’s phenomenology, which introduced a substantive a priori justification of human experience. This is a realist interpretation of Husserl’s philosophy. At its core is a fundamental principle of phenomenology — the validation of knowledge by a reflective examination of its premises and the everyday experience through which it is obtained. It is stressed that, unlike Kant, Husserl’s phenomenology rejects the existence of unknowable things in themselves and, unlike Katrechko, it rules out the interpretation of objects as signs. The latter makes it impossible to harmonise Husserl’s phenomenology with Katrechko’s semantic interpretation paradigm.


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