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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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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