Reply to Edgar Valdez


EFRAÍN LAZOS | Disonancias de la Crítica. Variaciones sobre cuatro temas kantianos | Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas UNAM 2014


By Efraín Lazos

Edgar Valdez’s thoughtful critique of my book centres on the main thesis of its initial chapter, Conceptos e intuiciones, namely, on the psychological independence between intuitions and concepts. This is, of course, a version of what has been known as the Heterogeneity Thesis. What I shall do here is, first, dwell and elaborate on what I take to be the most dramatic aspect of the psychological independence thesis that may be attributed to Kant, namely, its being metaphysical independence. I propose that Heterogeneity is best understood as metaphysical independence between concepts and intuitions. In the second part, I shall try and respond to the main worries expressed by Valdez on behalf of Kant and of some of his recent interpreters. That my reading of Heterogeneity seems too radical motivates the first two worries: on the one hand, a full commitment to independence might endanger the possibility of bridging the divide between concepts and intuitions; on the other, Valdez fears that genuine independence may be out of reach, given the intermingling of our representations. A third worry is that, although psychological independence stands opposed to a strict conceptualism about intuition, it does not provide an explanation for spatial or even geometrical unities.

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Edgar Valdez on Efraín Lazos’s “Disonancias de la Crítica”


EFRAÍN LAZOS | Disonancias de la Crítica. Variaciones sobre cuatro temas kantianos | Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas UNAM 2014


By Edgar Valdez

Efraín Lazos’s Disonancias de la Crítica is a collection of four essays that seek to resolve four of the most prevalent polemics in contemporary interpretations of Kantian epistemology. Each essay provides new insights into debates that have held the attention of contemporary Kant scholarship for decades. In the first, Lazos deals with the relationship between concepts and intuitions, making a contribution to the debate between conceptualism and nonconceptualism. In the second and third essays, he seeks to distinguish Kant’s idealism from the idealism of Berkeley and Descartes respectively, by overcoming their dogmatism and scepticism. Lazos in turn shows why Kant is not susceptible to the same criticisms as the others. In the final essay, Lazos considers transcendental apperception and in distinguishing it from Descartes’s cogito considers what is unique to Kant’s theory of self-consciousness. The essays do not comprise a single argument but they certainly comprise an integrated view of Kant’s epistemology.

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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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