Kantfirstpaper - Scott M Welch Dr Kinlaw Senior Seminar...

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Scott M. Welch February 23, 2007 Dr. Kinlaw Senior Seminar: Kant Transcendental Apperception: a Possibility The unity of consciousness is a notion which has been debated over many hundreds of years. In the division of modern philosophy, several key players designed proofs outlining the formation of a united consciousness and what the concept actually meant. This paper will give a brief overview of two sides of these earlier arguments; it will then change the focus towards Immanuel Kant and how his discourse on transcendental apperception linked the two sects together and provided a conclusion to the controversy. The aim here is to present a conclusion that will uphold Kant’s view and provide a foundation for a future piece that will look at Kant’s “Refutation of Idealism” and how he defeats the skeptic’s concept of, I think. The turning point into the Modern era may be attributed to two men, Francis Bacon and René Descartes. Each contributed greatly to the philosophical camps in which they respectively belonged, empiricism and rationalism. The unity of consciousness will be explored very briefly for each of these sects. By no means is this to be considered a thorough analysis of either sect’s point of view on the subject. Rather these briefs are used to show the weakness of each sect’s analysis and how Kant’s method for proving transcendental apperception, provides a sound floor in which one can thereby use to advance knowledge.
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Empiricism is generally known as a philosophy that places all knowledge, if any exists, on the basis of sense perception. The effort to show a unity of self in this manner has proved to be quite a feat. However, a generic effort for this problem in the empirical world is given by the following argument. A foundation of sensory input allows one to presume intuitive knowledge of their own existence through experience and the existence of self is proven through a reflection upon sensory inputs. Locke, a strong empiricist, states that “nothing can be more evident to us than our own existence.” (Locke, Bk.4 Ch. 9 §3) He shows this through a series of examples as in, “I think, I reason, I feel pleasure and pain,” the availability of these ideas leads him into saying that one has an “internal infallible perception” (Locke, Bk.4 Ch.9 §3) that one is. This argument begs many questions, but one question above all challenges the above conclusion he finds. How can one form the impression that they exist and have a unity of consciousness, expressed through sensory experience, without a constant condition in order to place this certainty? The idea empiricist fail to recognize is that if sensory perception is the foundation of any knowledge, there is no manner in which one can relate their own experience to those of others. Locke and other empiricist attempt to show how this can be done, yet it is apparent their arguments fail once the constant condition clause is introduced. Rationalist on the other hand attempt to show all knowledge as a priori and
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Kantfirstpaper - Scott M Welch Dr Kinlaw Senior Seminar...

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