In Remarks II and III of Part One

In Remarks II and III of Part One - back to the original...

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In Remarks II and III of Part One, Kant confronted the issue directly, and dangerously. Genuine idealists hold that the only real beings are thinking beings, everything else being representations in the thinking beings. Kant, on the other hand, denies this thesis. Appearances are appearances of things in themselves, so that what we call bodies exist not merely as representations (as stressed in the Fourth Paralogism), but as things in themselves. "I grant by all means that there are bodies without us, that is, things which, though quite unknown to us as to what they are in themselves, we yet know by the representations which their influence on our sensibility procures us. These representations we call 'bodies,' a term signifying merely the appearance of the thing which is unknown to us, but not therefore less actual. Can this be termed idealism? It is the very contrary" (Ak. 290). A vital feature of this claim is that the unknown thing is said to "influence" our sensibility, and as such, we can only postulate it as a cause. But then it seems that we are
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Unformatted text preview: back to the original problem, i.e., the dubiousness of causal inference. Kant might respond that what is dubious in causal inference is not that there is a cause, but what the cause is. And he has admitt3ed that the cause of our representations of bodies is unknown. "Neither the transcendental object which underlies outer appearances nor that which underlies inner intuition, is in itself either matter or a thinking being, but a ground (to us unknown) of the appearances which supply to us the empirical concept of the former as well as of the latter mode of existence" (A379-80). Unfortunately, Kant had also claimed that the concept of causality can be justifiably applied only to objects of experience, as the condition of rule-governed change of the states of empirical objects. Thus his appeal to the unknown cause of our representations falls victim to his limitation of the use of our understanding to experience....
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This note was uploaded on 11/09/2011 for the course PSY PSY2012 taught by Professor Scheff during the Fall '09 term at Broward College.

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