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The purpose of science is to transform all that exists into thought
Alexander Herzen

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Types of Representational Content in Kant

Keywordscategory, concept, content, intuition, Kant, perception, representation
ArticleDownload
AuthorLaiho, H. A.
Pages30-54
DOI10.5922/0207-6918-2019-1-2
Abstract (summary) 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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