Hegelians, Kant’s Subjectivism, and The Myth of Realism—A Reply to Paul Giladi

 

DENNIS SCHULTING | On Hegel’s Critique of Kant’s Subjectivism in the Transcendental Deduction‘, in Kant’s Radical Subjectivism. Perspectives on the Transcendental Deduction | Palgrave Macmillan 2017

 


 

By Dennis Schulting

I thank Paul Giladi for his generous commentary on a chapter of my book Kant’s Radical Subjectivism that deals with Hegel’s critique of Kant and for suggesting a way forward for reading the notoriously controversial relation between the two greatest philosophers of modern times. I also apologise for having him wait so long, too long, for a response to his piece. But—to cut to the chase—for all his acuity in succinctly enumerating the criticisms that Hegel raises against Kant as they are standardly conceived, it seems to me that in his commentary, Giladi keeps perpetuating the Hegelian myth—a myth that originates in Hegel himself, in his less felicitous statements on Kant (Giladi appropriately quotes Encyclopædia, §§ 41z and 42z)[1]—that Kant’s transcendental or formal idealism fatally suffers from a psychological subjectivism, a charge that I explicitly sought to counter in my book. This is the myth that—and this is how Giladi himself puts it—“the structure, order, and unity of empirical reality are all derived from us and that thought and being are fundamentally separate from one another”, and that apparently because the objectively structuring categories are applied by us, they are not, or at least not ipso facto, really instantiated by the things themselves, in being itself so to speak, and thus not truly objectivating, but in the end merely subjective.

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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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Reply to Watt: Epistemic Humility, Objective Validity, Logical Derivability

 

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


 

By Dennis Schulting

Robert Watt has provided an excellent précis of the main theme of my book, namely Kant’s radical subjectivism, for which I am extremely thankful. I could not have written a more succinct summary that captures the essence, give or take a few details, of what I take to be Kant’s metaphilosophical stance in the Transcendental Deduction (henceforth simply ‘the Deduction’). So I’m not going to repeat here in my own words what Watt wrote. Rather, what I am going to do is respond to the lingering questions that Watt has, in particular, as to (1) how I see the issue of “epistemic humility” and how this ties in with my thesis of radical subjectivism, and (2) why I think objective validity is not a feature of intuitions, making my position on nonconceptualism vulnerable, in Watt’s view, to being nothing more than a closet conceptualism. Another issue that Watt raises concerns what is probably the most controversial aspect of my reading of the Deduction: namely (3) the contentious claim, which I defended at length in my previous book (Schulting 2012, henceforth KDA), that the categories are all a priori derived from the principle of apperception. Despite Watt’s serious reservations and Corey Dyck’s and Andrew Stephenson’s earlier misgivings, as well as Thomas Land’s doubts about this claim (Dyck 2014; Stephenson 2014; Land 2018; cf. by contrast Quarfood 2014), I remain firmly committed to it as what is in my view the only way to explain the systematicity claim that Kant makes with respect to the two tables, as well as the only way to understand what I call the reciprocity claim that is central to the Deduction (following Henry Allison). I realise I’m perhaps a lone voice in this in current Kant scholarship, but I take comfort in the knowledge of being in the august company of Klaus Reich and Michael Wolff, who both defend the idea.[1]

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