Psychologism and Apperception—Response to Callanan and McLear

 

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


 

By Wayne Waxman

Kant’s Anatomy of the Intelligent Mind (henceforth KAIM) is the focus of the outstanding, much appreciated discussion pieces authored by John Callanan and Colin McLear. KAIM is the second of two volumes—the first being Kant and the Empiricists: Understanding Understanding (Waxman 2005) (KEUU)—of a single work on self and understanding in Kant and British empiricism. It comprises a four-chapter general introduction relating Kant to the empiricists as successive stages in the development of psychologism; a five-chapter Locke part; a five-chapter Berkeley part; a six-chapter Hume part; and a full volume devoted to Kant’s psychologism. Although written as a single, integral whole, each segment is cast so as to be readable on its own. Only when readers take issue with something I say about a philosopher in a part of the work subsequent to my treatment of that philosopher’s views are they urged to acquaint themselves with the scholarly case I make, say, in the Berkeley part, that supports something I say about Berkeley in the Hume or Kant part.

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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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New Work on Kant (II): Kant and the Philosophy of Mind

 

ANIL GOMES & ANDREW STEPHENSON (eds) | Kant and the Philosophy of Mind. Perception, Reason, and the Self | Oxford University Press, 2017


 

By Yoon Choi 

Kant and the Philosophy of Mind, edited by Anil Gomes and Andrew Stephenson, is a welcome collection of previously unpublished work on Kant, ranging over a selection of topics central to both Kant’s philosophy and to current debates in philosophy of mind. All contributions are primarily interpretative in aim, and most are deeply rooted in Kant’s texts and the secondary scholarship. Several also make connections with current philosophical and psychological work, sometimes to shed light on Kant’s views (e.g. Lucy Allais and Katherine Dunlop) and sometimes to bring Kant’s views to bear on ongoing debates (e.g. Patricia Kitcher and Ralph Walker). The resulting volume thus presents Kant “as engaged in the philosophy of mind”, as Gomes puts it (p. 6), and advances our understanding of Kant’s account of intuition, his theory of judgement, and his views on the self, self-awareness, and self-knowledge. Some may say the volume focuses on a handful of topics at the expense of representing the full range of work on Kant’s theory of mind. That is not wrong, but the editors are inclusive in other ways, and their priorities result in a volume that is exceptional in one way: it captures several substantive debates, in which contributors engage intensively with each other rather than presenting a series of different views on a topic. Indeed, every essay takes up or is taken up to some degree by another, and even when this takes the form of a passing footnote, it generates continuity and unity to the volume as a whole and conveys a sense of common purpose running through the disagreement. This must be the result of careful editorial design and encouragement; and it is, in my view, a real achievement.

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