New Work on Kant (I): Kantian Nonconceptualism

 

DENNIS SCHULTING (ed.) | Kantian Nonconceptualism | Palgrave Macmillan, 2016


 

By Jessica Williams 

Is Kant a conceptualist or a nonconceptualist? Very roughly, this amounts to the following question: Do intuitions depend on concepts in order to represent objects? Much recent Kant scholarship is devoted to answering this question, which is of interest not only for its connection to contemporary debates in philosophy of mind and perception, but also because the answer one provides has important implications for how one understands crucial features of Kant’s account of cognition.

While conceptualism was for some time the default interpretation of Kant, this is no longer the case. In fact, one now finds a number of competing nonconceptualist interpretations of intuition, and conceptualists have in turn divided in their characterisations of the way in which intuitions depend on concepts in order to represent objects. As Lucy Allais notes in her contribution, an important result of this recent debate is “lively dispute and clarification of key terms in Kant’s philosophy, such as intuition, sensation, perception, cognition, and synthesis” (p. 2). The essays in this volume continue in this vein. Engaging with them has certainly helped me to clarify my own understanding of key features of Kant’s account of cognition, including his account of space and spatial representation; his precise strategy in the second-half of the B-Deduction; and the nature and role of intuitions.

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Why Kantian Nonconceptualists Can’t Have Their Cake and Eat It—Reply to Sacha Golob

 

DENNIS SCHULTING | Kant’s Radical Subjectivism. Perspectives on the Transcendental Deduction | Palgrave Macmillan 2017


 

By Dennis Schulting

I thank Sacha Golob for his challenging and interesting notes on my stance on Kantian nonconceptualism, in particular also on the concept of objectivity, one’s view upon which is crucially related to how one positions oneself in the debate about nonconceptual content in Kant. It may seem from reading Golob’s criticisms that I’m not at all sympathetic to the core idea of nonconceptualism, namely the possibility of one’s representations having nonconceptual content in terms of being directed at given spatiotemporal objects independently of the application of concepts, or indeed of animals having some kind of consciousness of objects in their surroundings, with which they interact in multiple complex ways. My actual position is much more nuanced though.

However, it is true to say that my interpretation of Kant’s position does not allow for the strong form of nonconceptualist objective* intentionality that Golob argues for in his commentary and elsewhere (see Golob forthcoming), or for any strong form of non-categorially-constituted objectivity.

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Sacha Golob on Dennis Schulting’s “Kant’s Radical Subjectivism”

 

DENNIS SCHULTING | Kant’s Radical Subjectivism. Perspectives on the Transcendental Deduction | Palgrave Macmillan 2017


 

By Sacha Golob

In his new book, Kant’s Radical Subjectivism, Schulting provides a rigorous and persuasive account of the core themes of the Transcendental Deduction. I have learnt a great deal from this work, and I am sympathetic to many of its points. In this response, however, I think it will be most interesting to concentrate on two issues where Schulting and I disagree, and where that disagreement has important structural consequences. The first issue concerns the role of objectivity in Kant’s argument, the second the prospects for nonconceptualism. I shall begin by summarising Schulting’s stance on each. I will then explain where we differ and why it matters.
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New Work on Hegel (II): Scepticism in Post-Kantian Philosophy

 

MARTIN BONDELI, JIŘÍ CHOTAŠ & KLAUS VIEWEG (eds) | Krankheit des Zeitalters oder heilsame Provokation? Skeptizismus in der nachkantischen Philosophie | Wilhelm Fink, 2016


 

By Joris Spigt 

The edited volume under review here consists of 15 essays that cover the topic of scepticism in the works of Kant, Stäudlin, Schulze, Reinhold, Maimon, Fichte, Schlegel, Schelling, Jacobi and Hegel. This collection of essays has both widened and deepened my understanding of scepticism in the wake of Kant’s philosophy. As such, I can wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone interested in what is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating and multifaceted topics in classical German philosophy.

One of the central figures in the post-Kantian landscape is the self-avowed sceptic Gottlob Ernst Schulze. Because Schulze figures in 10 of the essays, his thought emerges as one of the guiding threads of the volume. With his criticism of Kant’s and Reinhold’s philosophy in his (anonymously published) Aenesidemus (1792), attacks on philosophy in Kritik der theoretischen Philosophie (1801), parody of Schelling’s and Hegel’s philosophy in ‘Aphorismen über das Absolute’ (1803), and, finally, thoughts on scepticism in ‘Die Hauptmomente der skeptischen Denkart über die menschliche Erkenntniß’ (1805), Schulze was the agent provocateur of his time, as Klaus Vieweg aptly describes him (p. 18). My review essay focuses on the volume’s treatment of different figures’ responses to Schulze’s Aenesidemus. In particular, I shall discuss the essays of Martin Bondeli, Silvan Imhof, and Daniel Breazeale on Reinhold, Maimon, and Fichte, respectively. My reflections on their essays seek to draw out an implicit issue within them: the lack of reflection on the adequacy and significance of the different responses to Schulze’s scepticism. Read more