Kantian Journal

2019 Vol. 38. No. 1

ARTICLES

Kant’s Philosophy

Taking Detours through the “Transcendental Dialectic”. The Principles of Homogeneity, Specification, and Continuity

Abstract

In a crucial paragraph (KrV, A 663-664 / B 691-692) of the first part of the “Appendix to the Transcendental Dialectic”, Kant discusses the specific status of the principles of homogeneity, specification, and continuity. In doing so, he refers to an already proven argument and thus to other passages of the Critique of Pure Reason. In search of this argument the “Transcendental Analytic” but in particular the “first book” of the “Transcendental Dialectic” turn out to be possible reference points. Although this contextualisation demands further systematic and editorial reflections, it also allows the clarification of the status of the principles and their justification in relation to a subjective deduction. Kant offers with the subjective deduction, as introduced in the “Preface” (of the first edition of the Critique of Pure Reason) and again in the “first book” of the “Transcendental Dialectic”, a first argumentative strategy, which differs from the objective one but provides “some objective validity” (KrV, A 664 / B 692; Kant, 1998, p. 602) and therefore has systematic importance for the principles of homogeneity, specification, and continuity. My aim is to offer immanent strategies for a justification of the principles of homogeneity, specification, and continuity in the framework of the Critique of Pure Reason.

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Types of Representational Content in Kant

Abstract

In this essay, I specify types of representational content that can be attributed to Kant’s account of representation. The more specific aim is to examine which of these types of content can be regarded as possible without the application of concepts. In order to answer the question, I proceed as follows. First, I show how intuition (in Kant’s sense) can be seen as providing indexical content independently of empirical concepts. Second, I show in what sense the generation of spatial content can be regarded as non-categorial. A key distinction is that a perceptual examination of an object can be understood as thoroughly sensible and particular, whereas a conceptual determination always grasps the object via its generalisable features. Third, I propose that the faculties of sensibility and understanding are not only separable in principle, but that their contributions remain in a certain sense separate in actual cognition as well. This is to say that a conceptual determination of an object does not entail that the object ceases to be non-conceptually available to the perceiver, which further suggests the autonomy of sensibility and its perceptual content. Finally, I raise difficulties in attributing non-conceptual representational content to Kant’s judgment-centered stance on representation and experience, only to emphasise how these difficulties easily lead to a misappreciation of Kant’s fundamental distinction between sensibility and understanding and their unique cognitive contributions.

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Deduction of Freedom vs Deduction of Experience in Kant’s Metaphysics

Abstract

My aim is to demonstrate the specificities and differences between transcendental deduction of concepts and deduction of the fundamental principles of pure practical reason in Kant’s metaphysics. First of all it is necessary to examine Kant’s attitude to the metaphysics of his time and the problem of its new justification. Kant in his philosophy explicated not only the theoretical world of cognition, but also the practical world of freedom. Accordingly, the fundamental means of proving metaphysics’ claims are the deduction of pure concepts of understanding (deduction of experience) and the deduction of the principles of pure practical reason (deduction of freedom). The underlying premises of the Kantian project of reviving metaphysics, “the Copernican Turn”, the critical methods and basic principles of transcendental (formal) idealism also provide the methodological basis of transcendental deduction, a new method of proving the claims of metaphysics in various spheres of human being. Proceeding from the above, I analyse the essence, structure and the peculiarities as well as the differences between the deduction of experience and the deduction of freedom. I single out the following features of the two types of deduction. First, theoretical use of reason is aimed at objects while practical reason is aimed at noumena, the foundations of will and freedom. Second, the transcendental deduction of space and time, as well as the deduction of categories, is preceded by transcendental reduction, which is absent in the deduction of freedom. Third, Kant orients the methodological movement of deductions in opposite directions. Theoretical deduction proceeds from pure forms of sensible intuition to concepts of understanding and thence to fundamental principles. Practical deduction proceeds from a priori principles to the concepts of the metaphysics of morals and thence to moral feelings. Fourth, deduction in the theoretical sphere forbids speculative reason to go beyond experience. Practical deduction has pointed to the intelligible world and has proved its “legitimacy”.

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Kant on Human Dignity: Autonomy, Humanity, and Human Rights

Abstract

This paper explores the new frontier within Kantian scholarship which suggests that Kant places so much special importance on the value of rational nature that the supreme principle of morality and the concept of human dignity are both grounded on it. Advocates of this reading argue that the notion of autonomy and dignity should now be considered as the central claim of Kant’s ethics, rather than the universalisation of maxims. Kant’s ethics are termed as repugnant for they place a high demand on the universalisation of maxims as a universal moral principle. As a result, they argue that there is an urgent need to rescue Kant’s ethics from the controversies surrounding maxims and universalisability, and the best way to rescue his ethics is by “leaving deontology behind”. It must be left behind because the categorical imperative is not needed in order to rescue Kant’s ethics, as deontology is often overrated. Consequently, the highest duties of the human being are to ensure that his fellow human beings enjoy unhindered autonomy and receive the honour that their dignity duly deserves, as well as to look after their welfare and treat them with respect, regardless of their dispositions. I review recent literature to appraise this new frontier within Kantian scholarship. I also explore the works of philosophers, such as Herman, Korsgaard, Wood, Höffe, and, specifically, Hill, on Kant’s conception of human dignity in relation to its conception as autonomy, humanity, and the source of human rights.

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