KIYOSHI CHIBA | Kants Ontologie der raumzeitlichen Wirklichkeit | Walter de Gruyter 2012


By Chris Onof

Kiyoshi Chiba’s book is a tightly argued and impressively well-researched interpretation of Kant’s Transcendental Idealism (henceforth TI) as a form of anti-realism about spatiotemporal objects. Chiba clearly has a thorough grasp of Kantian scholarship, philosophy of language, and philosophy of mathematics, and as a result presents a multi-layered analysis that has a wealth of interesting claims about Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (henceforth CPR), only a few of which I can discuss in this paper. I shall chiefly focus upon issues of disagreement between us, because where we agree, there is generally not much to be added to his thorough exegetical analysis.

1. Kant’s Transcendental Idealism and Antirealism

What Chiba means by anti-realism is based upon Dummett’s writings. In all debates about realism and anti-realism, there is a class of objects or statements which is at stake, and the issue is whether these objects exist or these statements are true independently of our knowledge of them. As he correctly observes (pp.16–18), there is more than one notion of anti-realism to be found in Dummett’s writings. Chiba chooses to view anti-realism as defined by a conception of the truth of statements, namely one that is opposed to the realist conception according to which statements of the class in question are true independently of our ability to verify or falsify them (‘verifikationsunabhängig’, p.19). It therefore means that for the anti-realist, the truth of statements is constituted by the subject, under some understanding of ‘constitution’ that is left open at this stage of Chiba’s analysis. Chiba adds that such a conception of truth has an ontological dimension insofar as he adopts the Tarskian equivalence thesis according to which ‘p’ is true if and only if p (p.18), so that anti-realism is also about the states of affairs and objects that the statements in question make claims about. Noteworthy is that this conception of anti-realism is not grounded in the rejection of the semantic principle of bivalence in logic, although he will show that it entails the rejection of bivalence (p.31).

With these tools clearly outlined, Chiba sets out his thesis that Kant’s TI is a thesis about the class of spatiotemporal objects (or spatiotemporal states of affairs or statements about these), namely that they are not independent of our cognition. And the first piece of evidence he introduces to support this antirealist position is a particularly powerful one as it is Kant’s oft repeated affirmation (e.g. A490–3/B518–22) that spatiotemporal objects are mere representations (p.39–40). But he makes it clear that his interpretative approach in this book does not consist in accumulating citations from Kant’s works (primarily CPR) that give support to this anti-realist view, since one can also collect quotes from Kant that provide grist to the realist mill. It is to Chiba’s credit that he views Kant’s arguments as the focus of his interpretative task, either insofar as they purport to show TI or make use of TI as assumption (p.41). This strategy is particularly useful insofar as Chiba is right to point out that there is, among Kant scholars, a widespread reluctance to adopt any interpretation of TI that is phenomenalistic, idealistic, or anti-realist (p.47): if one is to show anti-realism as useful in interpreting TI, it is important to exhibit its role in supporting or being supported by the very arguments that are at the heart of Kant’s work.

2. A Realist Alternative

Before launching into a detailed investigation of Kant’s arguments in CPR, Chiba reviews existing anti-realist and realist interpretations of TI. Among realist interpretations, he dwells on what he calls the ‘realist Two-Aspect-Interpretation’ (p.47, my trans.). This is in effect the metaphysical two-aspect interpretation of the relation between phenomena and things in themselves, about which Chiba shows later in the book (p.71) that it is committed to realism. Focussing upon Allais’ (2004) and Rosefeldt’s (2007) interpretations, Chiba analyses their dispositional understanding of spatiotemporal determinations of things. On their account, something has a spatiotemporal property F if and only if we could, under appropriate circumstances, come to know (e.g. through perception) that it has property F (p.51). Such a thing is thereby both to be viewed as a thing-in-itself, and as a spatiotemporal object, hence the terminology ‘two-aspect’. Insofar as the thing exists, the object exists too, so that this position is a realist interpretation.

Chiba rightly praises the metaphysical two-aspect reading for its solid grounding in Kant’s text and its overall coherence (p.52). But he also outlines a serious problem that it raises: it implies that the individuation of spatiotemporal objects is independent of our cognition insofar as it is the same thing-in-itself that can be said to have spatiotemporal properties (p.54). This seems to contradict the role of our cognitive faculties in the determination of objects. Chiba does not say much more about why this is indeed problematic, but one can, for instance, point to the role of the synthesis of apprehension in gathering the manifold to be brought under the transcendental unity of apperception. This synthesis would, on this account, seem to have to accord with reality in-itself, i.e. with the way things are individuated independently of our cognition, which would bring back the whole problem that Kant’s critical perspective set out to deal with in the first place (Bxx), i.e. in Kant’s terms, by re-introducing some dogmatic presuppositions into the account of cognition. As matters stand, this would seem to make this metaphysical two-aspect interpretation very unattractive, but at this point in the book, Chiba is keen to emphasise its positive aspects for strategic reasons. He will indeed (a) show its advantages compared with other options and (b) later return to it as the most worthy realist option to be countered, when he analyses Kant’s text in detail.[1]

3. Methodological Interpretation

One example of (a), in which Chiba’s book makes an important contribution to the debate around the nature of TI is in exposing the incoherence of the methodological two-aspect interpretation (e.g. Allison, Grier, Bird). Unlike the metaphysical variant of the two-aspect interpretation, the methodological one has it that to talk of things in themselves is just to talk of the objects of our experience independently of their relation to our cognition (p.74). Chiba is right to point out that the motivation behind this approach is Allison’s (1983) attempt to avoid interpreting the reality of spatiotemporal objects as having a ‘lower ontological status’ as compared to that of things in themselves. This leads to an attempt to ‘“deontologise” TI’ that is deflationist in that it avoids any metaphysical commitment to something like a ‘”standpoint-independent fact of the matter”’ (p.75–6) that would inevitably have a higher ontological status.

Chiba also correctly points out that such a position seems to be an anti-realist one insofar as things-in-themselves are now also viewed as dependent upon our cognition, i.e. insofar as they just involve a different perspective (not a perspective-independent grasp) on the objects of our cognition, and two models are considered for such a perspective: the subtraction of spatiotemporal properties, or the addition of other (necessarily non-theoretical, e.g. practical) properties (p.77). The problem arises because the methodological two-aspect theorist is keen to emphasise that his is a realist stance vis-à-vis the objects of our experience. But, if these objects exist, this entails that they must have some property that is independent of our cognition,[2] which defines a standpoint-independent fact of the matter, and contradicts the deflationist ambition of the methodological two-aspect interpretation (p.78), thus exhibiting its incoherence.

4. A Worry

Chiba considers a number of objections to his anti-realist reading in section 2.3 (pp. 57–66). While he dispatches most of them convincingly, there are two where his response does not appear sufficient to dispel the concerns they raise. I shall consider objection F (p.64) further (Section 11 below), but just briefly focus on objection B (p.59–60). This is the objection that Dummettian anti-realism is a type of Berkeleyan material idealism. Chiba responds to this by pointing out that there is a widespread tendency to lump anti-realism indiscriminately in the same bag as idealism. I note that Chiba himself classifies a certain type of idealism as anti-realism on p.35, so there is clearly some lack of clarity still remaining on this issue.

Anyway, if we assume that Chiba can correctly distinguish his anti-realism from what Kant describes as dogmatic and sceptical idealism, i.e. respectively the denial, and scepticism about the claim that spatial/temporal objects exist outside us (a task Chiba really addresses in the exegetical part of the book, when examining the Fourth Paralogism, see below Section 10), it is nevertheless worth observing that Chiba’s strategy for showing the validity of his anti-realist claim about TI certainly makes this worry particularly pressing. Indeed, Chiba uses Kant’s claims that appearances are nothing but representations (e.g. A369) as the first piece of evidence for his interpretation. Clearly, such claims (found in their clearest forms in the A-edition of CPR) lend themselves to a subjective idealist (as in Berkeley) reading. There is therefore a worry (let us call this worry W) that, in seeking to justify his anti-realist position vis-à-vis the existence of spatiotemporal objects, Chiba will be proving too much, namely some form of subjective idealism (for spatiotemporal objects).

5. The Range of Interpretative Options

Chiba considers the range of options on the table insofar as the relation between the thing-in-itself and appearances is concerned, and his conclusion is that the only viable realist option is the metaphysical dual-aspect theory, while the most attractive anti-realist option is a two-world interpretation (p.86–7). Having considered the options in detail, Chiba puts together an argument that purports to show the first of these claims (p.87–8). This is a generalisation of the argument against Allison’s methodological interpretation (see Section 3 above), and its key point is, again, that the existence of empirical objects implies the existence of these objects independently of our cognition. In the case of the previous use of this argument, since the assumption was a two-aspect theory according to which these objects can also be viewed as things in themselves, this move entailed that these things in themselves are these same objects but considered independently of our cognition, of which the argument thereby establishes the existence.

But here, Chiba’s argument (let us call it argument A) purports to be general. If the two-aspect interpretation is not presupposed, this move is questionable. What the realist claims, on Chiba’s interpretation of the distinction realism/anti-realism, is that spatiotemporal objects exist independently of our cognition. This does entail that these objects have properties which are not constituted by our cognition. But, as Chiba himself points out earlier in the book (p.19), this does not, strictly speaking, entail that these properties are cognition transcendent (i.e. ‘verification transcendent’), which is what would be required to say that they are properties of things in themselves.

This point may seem obscure, so let me clarify: there is more than one way in which something or a statement can relate to my cognition: it can be constituted by it and this is what Chiba calls cognition dependence: it is through my verification (actual or potential – see further below) that a statement is made true. But a statement can also not be constituted by my cognition while nevertheless not being cognition transcendent. For example, Chiba illustrates this difference on p.20 by using the case of colour: what constitutes the redness of an object is a property that is independent of our cognition (e.g. it is a feature of the structure of the surface of the object), but to be red is to be recognised as red under specific circumstances, and nothing more, so that ‘redness’ is not cognition transcendent.

This distinction can, for instance, be used for distinguishing merely subjective from objective secondary qualities in a transcendentally realist context, and it is used by some metaphysical two-aspect interpretations (e.g. Rosefeldt 2007) to interpret objective determinations of spatiotemporal objects. For our purposes, it is important to note that what Chiba needs is to show that a realist claim for spatiotemporal objects implies an existence claim for things in themselves, whereas it only validly leads to a claim that these spatiotemporal objects must exist in a way that is independent of our cognition, but not that they exist in a cognition transcendent way, as they could be like colours.[3]

Argument A is therefore invalid because of a covert equivocation over the relation to our cognition: the realist about spatiotemporal objects is committed to an existence claim that is independent of any notion of constitution, but this does not establish the cognition transcendence that is a feature of properties of things as they are in themselves. As a result, Chiba’s argument for his next claim (p.88) which applies argument A to reject any two-world realist interpretation as actually only amounting to a version of the (metaphysical) two-aspect interpretation, fails. Indeed, were such a theory to have different notions of existence in each world, i.e. one that is cognition transcendent for things in themselves, and one that is not for spatiotemporal objects, it would remain unscathed as a result of any of the considerations Chiba raises on pp.87–8.[4]

It is important to note that Chiba’s argument on p.87 still succeeds in its rejection of a two-world realist theory in which existence in both worlds is verification transcendent, as a viable option.[5] This is a key result against this important interpretative option.

At this point, it may still seem that the fine distinction that has been established between cognition independence (CI) and cognition transcendence (CT) is rather otiose, and constitutes only a minor flaw of argument A, as it is not clear what further consequences it may have. I shall however show below that it is connected to worry W, that it has implications connected with the need to distinguish between what is merely empirically relevant and what has transcendental implications, and that it also emerges as significant in its ability to distinguish the regulative from the constitutive.

6. The Antinomy of Pure Reason (I)

Chiba presents his analysis of the antinomy of pure reason as a cornerstone of his interpretation as it is meant to provide the key argument for his anti-realist interpretation. Aside from the discussion around anti-realism, his detailed investigation into how we should understand the regresses that are constructed in the theses and antitheses is to be commended for its rigour (I particularly appreciated his distinction between one- and higher-dimensional series, pp.115–21). It also sheds light upon Kant’s claim that the antinomial conflict arises from what Chiba calls the Series Thesis (‘Reihenthese’, p. 103) which has also been described as a Categorical Imperative of theoretical reason. This is the claim (A497/B525) that ‘If the conditioned is given, then the whole series of all conditions for it is also given’.

Kant resolves the antinomies by saying that the Series Thesis is obviously true in TR, and the rejection of TR (and adoption of TI) thereby follows. Chiba then investigates the grounds for the adoption of the Series Thesis, and finds them rooted in realism (p.139–42). In so doing he brings forth another problem of the metaphysical two-aspect theory, namely that it (he focusses upon Allais’s work) does not appear to have an explanation of why the totality of conditions cannot be posited, which is another important contribution to Chiba’s general argument against the metaphysical two-aspect theory.

Analysing the resolution of the antinomy, Chiba proceeds as follows. He understands the fact that the totality of conditions for a given object in respect of its location in time/space or its divisibility, is not given, as meaning that the totality of this set does not exist, and therefore the elements of the set do not exist either in a realist CI sense of existence. Objections against the move from the non-existence of the set to the non-existence of its elements are discussed in detail, and Chiba makes a good case for saying that there are no good reasons for rejecting this move in a realist context (p.151).[6]

But the real question is whether it is correct to equate ‘gegeben werden’ (which is the term Kant uses to describe what he argues is not the case for such sets of conditions), with ‘exist’ in the sense in which Chiba understands the notion of existence, i.e. ‘independently of our cognition’. That is, Chiba assumes that what is at stake is existence of spatio-temporal objects independently of our cognition (CI) in the realist scenario, while TI introduces the notion of their existence as constituted by our cognition (hereafter ¬CI).

On this interpretation, what the resolutions of the antinomies claim is that it is not possible for there to be a cognition of such series, where cognition is here understood as an event in time. So Chiba’s interpretation can be summarised in two claims:

(a1) The CI non-existence of totalities of series of conditions implies the CI non-existence of spatiotemporal objects, which negates TR and thereby affirms TI.

(a2) TI additionally has an account of why for ¬CI existing objects, totalities of series of conditions cannot (¬CI) exist.

But it is not clear why this impossibility (a2) should be viewed as having any transcendental meaning. Indeed, since ¬CI refers to possible or actual instantiations of acts of cognition (i.e. ‘verification’ in the standard anti-realist terminology), it would seem on the contrary that what is at stake are the limitations of our cognitive faculties understood in their empirical employment.[7]

To put the point differently, the notion of possible cognition or verification is defined, in the outlook of Chiba’s anti-realism, in terms of actual cognition or verification: what is possible is just what may happen to be actual, if contingent circumstances allow this to happen. So the impossibility described in the resolution of the antinomy is the impossibility of there ever being an actual cognition of the totality of the regress.

Consequently, the arguments put forward by Chiba would not be altered if, instead of infinitely long regresses, we were dealing with very large ones: indeed Chiba (p.151) emphasises Kant’s point (A420/B447) that with the cosmological ideas of totality which the antinomy deals with, there is a difference of degree, not in kind, with bona fide objects. So if it were to be established that the time (A500/B528) it takes (i.e. the duration) understood as the duration for the empirical synthesis of N representations (e.g. to be on the safe side, N=70 billion, which is more than the number of tenths of second in the life of a 200 year old human) were longer than the possible life-span of a human being, then Chiba’s anti-realist interpretation would be faced with the same impossibility of completing this synthesis.

This hardly seems satisfactory as an interpretation of Kant’s intent, even though it is true that some of the terminology Kant uses might suggest that it is a matter of the impossibility of carrying out the task of empirical synthesis. Indeed, Kant makes it clear that the problem is not an empirical one: thus, about the regress of the antithesis of the second Antinomy, he says: ‘But how far the transcendental division may reach is not a matter of experience’ (A527/B555). It thus seems that Chiba’s interpretation is unable to properly account for the distinction between empirical and transcendental issues.

To confirm that this problem stems from a correct understanding of what is implied by Chiba’s adoption of the CI/¬CI dichotomy as definitive of the anti-realism of spatiotemporal existence in TI, it is instructive to look at what Chiba has to say about exactly what the ‘dependence upon cognition’ of his anti-realist interpretation actually amounts to.

7. What Kind of Dependence?

Chiba explains (p.19) that insofar as the truth of statements is concerned, the dependence claim means that the verifiability of statements plays a constitutive role. Translating this in terms of the existence of spatiotemporal objects, this presumably means that existence claims are claims about the possibility of knowing that these objects exist, which could mean some direct perceptual knowledge or some indirect knowledge of their existence. This is distinct from the mind-dependence that is implied by the view that actual perceptual knowledge of objects is required for objects to exist, which is a form of dogmatic idealism à la Berkeley. This distinction (which is a double one, both in terms of possible/actual and general/perceptual knowledge) is one that Chiba does not pay enough attention to before examining some of these issues in chapter 7. As a result, we find him saying that what Van Cleve calls ‘traditional idealism’ (which certainly includes Kant’s dogmatic idealism) according to which objects are mind-dependent, is a form of anti-realism (in his understanding of the word) about spatial objects (p.35), which is somewhat confusing.

In chapter 7 (and only then, because his discussion draws upon his analysis of the antinomy), Chiba engages in a very interesting and detailed discussion of the first aspect of this distinction. He considers different understandings of the type of dependence upon cognition that is involved in anti-realism, focussing in particular upon the problem of defeasibility of any knowledge claim (p.267ff.). He considers and rejects a number of options such as Peirce’s use of an ideal epistemic situation (p.265–8) which fails to block the truth of the mathematical antinomies’ antitheses. He then develops his own interpretation in a well-argued set of steps, starting with a time-varying notion of truth according to which what is true at time t is what has indeed been verified before t (p.274). Chiba finds this version attractive as an account of some of Kant’s statements (p.275–7), but shows (p.278ff.) that it again fails to account for the required antinomial conflicts.

Focussing upon the need to remove the temporal dependence to avoid this problem, Chiba introduces a ‘time-neutral’ version according to which a statement is true if it is verified at some point (p. 286–90), and finally, because this version still does not properly address the antinomial conflict, he settles upon a version based upon verifiability according to which a statement is true if and only if it is verified at some point in the actual or possible development of our knowledge (p.290ff.). This discussion (which I have to skip here because of space constraints) is very well led by Chiba, and my only reservation is that I would have liked to see him address the second aspect of the above distinction, namely the issue of what is involved in verification which (assuming I did not miss this) I believe he left out of this chapter. I shall assume that verification is what Kant states as condition for making a judgement about an object, namely that there be intuitions which are brought under the transcendental unity of apperception by applying the categories, thereby defining a conceptual determination of this object.

8. The Antinomy of Pure Reason (II)

For the purposes of the problem flagged above in our examination of Chiba’s interpretation of the antinomy, the previous section has clearly illustrated in what sense the actual performance of cognitive acts (verification) is at the core of the anti-realist interpretation. When it becomes apparent that a dependence upon this actual performance at some point in time does not give an adequate interpretation of the antinomial conflict, Chiba (p.291–3) proposes the move to possible cognitive acts, and struggles somewhat to give a clear definition of possibility. Importantly, he settles on a notion of possibility that is clearly derived from that of actuality: what is possible is what would be actual if ‘occasional circumstances on the side of the verification subject [i.e. the subject carrying out the verification] were different’ (p.293, my trans.). This confirms the above reading of his interpretation of the antinomy as based upon what would actually be verified by a subject of cognition under certain circumstances, i.e. upon possible empirical facts. It also leaves us with the problem outlined in Section 6 above, namely that the antinomial conflict is an empirical one on Chiba’s interpretation.

As we saw, there is another dichotomy of relations to our cognition that may be relevant, and that is cognition transcendence or immanence as introduced above in Section 5. For an anti-realism based upon the CT/¬CT dichotomy, the existence of spatiotemporal objects is not constituted by our cognition (i.e. CI), but these objects nevertheless are not cognition transcendent (i.e. ¬CT) in that they exist only for our cognition.

Before continuing, I want to motivate the consideration of such a CT/¬CT anti-realism vis-à-vis the existence of spatiotemporal objects (an anti-realism that Chiba would call a form of realism). As things stand, there are three options on the table for the existence of spatiotemporal objects:

(i) This existence is constituted by our cognition (it is ¬CI). This is Chiba’s anti-realism which is encountering some problems in making sense of the transcendental nature of the antinomial conflict.

(ii) This existence transcends our cognition (it is CT), which is what the ‘realist’ about these objects, wants to claim. Argument A shows that this option leads to a commitment to these objects being identical with things in themselves, i.e. to the two-aspect metaphysical interpretation against which Chiba has formulated some powerful objections.

(iii) This existence is not constituted by our cognition, but does not transcend it (it is CI and ¬CT). By elimination, this position must therefore be examined.

As further motivation for considering this option, I would suggest the following considerations. If all the determinations of objects are constituted by our cognition (¬CI), but are nevertheless determinations of appearances of some underlying reality in itself, what is picked out by such determinations is something that, although this is only an object for our cognition, does refer (through the relation of appearing) to something that exists independently of our cognition, so that the cognitive act of determination also picks out something existing independently of our cognition. This ‘something’ (e.g. an aspect of reality in-itself) can, however, only be picked out in this way by creatures with our specific cognitive faculties, and is thereby not cognition transcendent (i.e. there is no such individuated object in the realm of things in themselves).

I would argue that, with this understanding of ‘gegeben werden’ in terms of  CT existence for the transcendental realist Kant refers to in the Antinomy, there is a subtle difference as to the meaning of the claim that the totality of the conditions does not exist. This is no longer about the possibility of actual cognitive acts, but about the kind of cognition we human beings have, i.e. it is a transcendental issue. That is, with this understanding of existence, we have:

(a1′) The CT non-existence of totalities of series of conditions implies the CT non-existence of spatiotemporal objects, which negates TR and thereby affirms TI,

analogously to Chiba’s CI/¬CI anti-realist (a1), but in a CT/¬CT setting. But the second claim, namely

(a2′) TI additionally has an account of why for ¬CT existing objects, totalities of series of conditions cannot (¬CT) exist,

involves an account that draws upon what is properly transcendental about TI, namely the dependence of knowledge upon syntheses under the transcendental unity of apperception, and thus differs fundamentally from (a2). On the CT/¬CT account, the impossibility referred to in (a2′) is the negation of a notion of possibility that is no longer defined in terms of empirical actuality. Rather, the notion of possibility/impossibility is primary, and defined by the limits on possible experience outline in CPR. This in turn defines what could be actual.

So the antinomy’s resolution points to an a priori impossibility for the kind of cognitive faculties we, as humans, possess. This can be seen in particular by considering the role of time: when Kant draws our attention to the issue of time in carrying out the synthesis (A500–1/B528–9), the problem he is flagging is not that the total duration is too large for our human abilities. Rather, the issue is that, since it is a temporal process, its completion is not a possibility: I cannot go through the series of representations one by one and get to the end, because it is either infinite (second antinomy), or at least, I know that there is always more to come (first antinomy). The role time plays is simply that of defining the process of ‘going through the series of representations one by one’: what Kant is drawing our attention to is not a contingent empirical fact about our cognitive abilities as human beings, but a truth of transcendental logic, namely that an endless temporal series of representations cannot be grasped under the Transcendental Unity of Apperception.

Now I think there is evidence that it is not Chiba’s intent to view the impossibility identified in resolving the antinomial conflict as empirical. Later in the book, Chiba seems to display an awareness that what the antinomial conflict involves is an a priori impossibility (p.295-98). What this suggests to me is that Chiba would here have good grounds for altering his understanding of his anti-realist stance vis-à-vis the notion of existence to one defined in terms of the CT/¬CT dichotomy. And this proposal receives further support from the fact that we reached exactly the same conclusion above in examining the weakness of argument A.

to be continued…

***

References:

Allais, L. (2004) ‘Kant’s One World. Interpreting Transcendental Idealism’British Journal for the History of Philosophy 12: 655-84.

Allison, H. (1983) Kant’s Transcendental Idealism: An interpretation and Defense, New Haven: Yale University Press.

Bird, G. (2006) The Revolutionary Kant: A Commentary on the Critique of Pure Reason, La Salle, Illinois: Open Court.

Guyer, P. (1987) Kant and the Claims of Knowledge, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Onof, C. (2011) ‘Thinking The In-Itself and Its Relation to Appearances’, in D. Schulting & J. Verburgt  (eds) Kant’s Idealism. New Interpretations of a Controversial Doctrine, Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 211–36.

Prauss, G. (1974) Kant und das Problem der Dinge an sich, Bonn: Bouvier Verlag.

Robinson, H. (1996) ‘Kantian Appearances and Intentional Objects’, Kant-Studien 87: 448–54.

Rosefeldt, T. (2007) ‘Dinge an sich und sekundäre Qualitäten’, in J. Stolzenberg (ed.) Kant in der Gegenwart, Berlin: de Gruyter, pp.167–209.

Schulting, D. (2011) ‘Limitation and Idealism: Kant’s “Long” Argument from the Categories’, in D. Schulting & J. Verburgt (eds) Kant’s Idealism. New Interpretations of a Controversial Doctrine, Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 159–94.


[1] Chiba does not really see in what way dogmatism is reintroduced through the back door in his critique of the metaphysical two-aspect interpretation and lets it off lightly at this point in the book, but this seems to be a strategic move.

[2] Such a property would also be cognition transcendent because the object is the same thing that exists in itself (see below an explanation of this terminology).

[3] Chiba claims that a case needs to be made to appeal for a truth-theory that is not verification transcendent but for which verification is not constitutive (i.e. realist in his sense). I agree that to put forward such a conception, I would need to exhibit how it arises,. This I will do when examining Chiba’s treatment of the Antinomy of Pure Reason below.

[4] Argument A could, of course, be reformulated for a weaker anti-realism based upon the denial of cognition transcendence.

[5] This option is not incoherent though, because it can be supplemented with a dual aspect dimension for spatiotemporal objects, in ways indicated by Chiba (p.88), but then it loses its distinctive ‘two-world’ nature.

[6] I shall however claim below that this is only valid in a realist context defined in terms of the CT/¬CT dichotomy.

[7] Some passages make this clear, for instance on p.135, when Chiba talks of the ‘absolute totality’ being ‘so large, that it cannot be synthesised’ (p.135, my trans.), and on p.140, when he in a footnote, he considers the possibility of the completion of an infinite number of tasks in a finite time.

***

Acknowledgements: I am very grateful to thoughtful comments by Kiyoshi Chiba and Dennis Schulting, which have helped to make the text clearer.

© 2013, Christian J. Onof

Christian Onof is Reader in Systems at the Faculty of Engineering, Imperial College, London, and Honorary Fellow in Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London. He holds Ph.D.s both in Engineering Mathematics (Imperial) and in Philosophy (UCL). He has published many articles on Kant’s moral and theoretical philosophy, Sartre, existentialism in general and philosophy of mind in journals such as Kant-Studien, The Kant Year Book, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research and Journal of Mind and Behavior. Currently, he collaborates with Dennis Schulting on the research project ‘Kant, Space and Nonconceptualism’, the first fruits of which will shortly be published in Kantian Review. He is also the co-founder of the journal Episteme.

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