On Wayne Waxman’s “Kant’s Anatomy of the Intelligent Mind”

 

WAYNE WAXMAN | Kant’s Anatomy of the Intelligent Mind | Oxford UP 2014


 

By John Callanan

Wayne Waxman’s Kant’s Anatomy of the Intelligent Mind is a typically original—and in many ways compelling—account of Kant’s transcendental theory of the mind. I have been reading Waxman’s work since the beginning of my graduate studies and have been confident from that first encounter that his work is on the right track and that it constitutes required reading for Kant scholars. Despite that familiarity and enthusiasm however, for many reasons this is a difficult book to assess. For one thing, it is constituted of nearly 600 pages of interlocking exegesis of the first half of the First Critique. What’s more, the claims of this book really form part of a larger project that includes Kant’s Model of the Mind (1991) and Kant and the Empiricists: Understanding Understanding (2005). Together they make around 1500 pages of exploration of Kant’s transcendental theory of the mind. Finding an entry point for critical engagement is a daunting task.

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On Waxman on Intuition and Apperception

 

WAYNE WAXMAN | Kant’s Anatomy of the Intelligent Mind | Oxford UP 2014


 

By Colin McLear

Perhaps no distinction is more central to the Critical philosophy than that between sensibility and the ‘higher’ cognitive faculties of the intellect (e.g. understanding, judgement, reason) broadly construed.[1] Upon this distinction in faculties Kant founds a central epistemological insight, namely, that cognition “in its proper sense” (A78/B103) comes only with the combination or unity of representations made possible by their joint cooperation. The seemingly deep dichotomy between these two faculties, whose functions “cannot be exchanged” (A51/B75) seems to present a problem for Kant, and the post-Kantian Germanic tradition in philosophy quickly strove to overcome or undermine it, with Hegel famously reading Kant as saying that,

the original synthetic unity of apperception is recognized also as the principle of the figurative synthesis, i.e., of the forms of intuition; space and time are themselves conceived as synthetic unities, and spontaneity, the absolute synthetic activity of the productive imagination, is conceived as the principle of the very sensibility which was previously characterized only as receptivity. (Hegel 1977:69–70)[2]

While Hegel takes himself to merely be presenting Kant’s true view—a view he construes as somewhat misleadingly presented by Kant himself—the interpretative and philosophical issues surrounding Kant’s distinction have reverberated down to the present day. It is not at all obvious that Hegel is right, either about Kant, or about sensibility.

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Moral Metaphysics or Moral Psychology?—Adrian Piper’s “Rationality and the Structure of the Self”

 

ADRIAN PIPER | Rationality and the Structure of the Self (2nd ed.) | APRA Foundation Berlin 2013


 

By Paul Guyer

Adrian Piper’s Rationality and the Structure of the Self is a monumental work in meta-ethics and moral psychology, inspired by Kant but dealing decisively with the history of a considerable portion of twentieth-century moral theory along the way. The work consists of two volumes, the first a critique of a ‘Humean’ approach to its subjects and the second the defence of a ‘Kantian’ approach. These terms are placed within scare-quotes to indicate that even though Piper’s work is thoroughly informed by detailed knowledge of both Hume and Kant, the work is far from being an historical work; the ‘Humean’ model criticised in Volume I is the ‘Belief-Desire Model’ that all practical reasoning begins with preferences not set by reason itself and the ‘Utility-Maximising Model’ that reason functions purely instrumentally in determining how best to realise the goals set by such non-rational preferences, while the ‘Kantian’ view is that reason itself sets the overriding ends of practical reasoning.

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Preference and Logic—On Adrian Piper’s “Rationality and the Structure of the Self”

 

ADRIAN PIPER | Rationality and the Structure of the Self (2nd ed.) | APRA Foundation Berlin 2013


 

By Richard Bradley

In her ambitious and wide-ranging book Rationality and the Structure of the Self, Adrian Piper seeks to establish the basic principles of what she calls transpersonal rationality, the form of rationality constitutive of the Kantian conception of the self. Transpersonal rationality is governed by principles that require us to transcend our personal preoccupations and interests and focus on those that apply to all in equal measure. By contrast, the rival Humean conception of the self, the main foil for her argument, draws on an egocentric form of rationality directed at the instrumental fulfilment of the agent’s desires but not at their content.

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