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The only time requirement, then, is the requirement of the hardware we as experiencing beings have constructed. A God, given the source code, could calculate the outcomes of an infinite number of matches instantaneously. So, just like how it makes no sense to talk about what colour things are in themselves, beyond the domain of creatures with vision, it also makes no sense to talk about where and when things-in-themselves are, beyond the domain of experiencing things that represent them.

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So far these considerations could seem to be merely shoring up dogmatic idealism. That is, what distinguishes this seeming towards our myriad of representations? All of this, so far, is a play of terms. From here, Kant then appeals to his earlier re-definition of matter from the opening paragraphs of the CPR:. That intuition which is related to the object through sensation is called empirical.

The undetermined object of an empirical intuition is called appearance…. We need to follow all of these connections through. There are sensations, these are the name for what in our representations we receive completely passively. A representation that possesses some degree of sensation this passive reception is called an empirical representation empirical intuition. This is perhaps most clearly grasped when we think of touch. The degree of sensation is in proportion to actual physical contact, mass, resistance, etc. Matter is sensation.

Kant means it quite literally. Thus, the spatially organized objects of empirical intuition, as representations marked and composed of sensation, are as real as real can be. In fact, it is because the transcendental frame is ideal, is a representation, that the reality of empirical objects can be conceived and grasped. Kant seemed aware of how counter-intuitive this Copernican Turn is, writing in a footnote:.

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For space itself is nothing other than representation; consequently what is in it must be contained in representation, and nothing at all is in space except insofar as it is really represented in it. A proposition which must of course sound peculiar is that a thing can exist only in the representation of it; but it loses its offensive character here, because the things with which we have to do are not things in themselves but only appearances, i. What is it we are asking to know when we ask to know what really exists beneath any and all possible representations of a given object encountered in space?

Presumably this question makes demands of the nature of the thing-in-itself. It is, in effect, senseless. Or, take for example someone who asks what this particular pen is. We then list off every property the pen appears to possess, including its spatial dimensions, coordinates, and its temporal history, the molecular constitution of its plastic and ink, the names of the truck drivers who drove it from factory to warehouse and from warehouse to newsagent, and so on. But, what is it really in itself?

To be real means to appear in empirical representations to those beings for which things appear. That pen is not really something else, it is just that pen.

Problems from Kant

Berkeley believed that space was derived from recurring properties in empirical marked by sensation representations. What is fundamental, then, is sensation. Esse est Percipi. To this, Kant sides with Descartes: space is not derived, it is absolutely fundamental. It underpins the givenness of sensations, and the objects they mark. This situation cannot appease scepticism without similar theological appeals, themselves suspect. About the author: John Brady is a student of philosophy and educator situated in Beijing. He gets most of his reading done in traffic jams.

He is also a co-editor of this magazine, by way of full disclosure. Bennett, J. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Berkeley, G. Principles, dialogues, and philosophical correspondence. New York: Macmillan. An Essay towards a New Theory of Vision. Collins, A. Los Angeles: University of California Press. Dennett, D. Consciousness explained. The questions are: What is cognition? What is consciousness awareness? What are perceptional judgements?

Within the scope of the exchange programme, these kind of ethical problems resulting from the medical research are tackled in Luxembourg, with the researchers from the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine LCSB. Do we have a moral duty to healthcare? Or can we limit our duty of care? Instead he returns to Kant's "original thought," this time stressing the "co-operation" between sensibility and understanding, rather than their juxtaposition.

There is not, first of all and by itself, receptivity and its yield, which would then be acted upon by spontaneity and its concepts. Rather receptivity only comes into play imbued with concepts or, at least, with conceptual capacities. Accordingly, McDowell understands intuition in Kant "not as a bare getting of an extra-conceptual Given, but as a kind of occurrence or state that already has conceptual content. McDowell's term for such a full-fledged cognition that is both passive and concept-laden, is "experiential intake" or, in short, "experience.

Moreover, the presence of those pre-judgmental but already conceptual features in intuition is not due to some other, perhaps clandestine activity on the part of the intuiting subject. Rather the conceptual features simply are present in intuition, as a matter of fact; they present themselves in intuition, without our doing and prior to our doing. On McDowell's understanding of the matter, then, what is given in intuition is not some pre-conceptual "bare" impression but a conceptually structured fact, formally expressible by phrases such as "that things are thus and thus.

There is no longer, as in the empiricist idea of the bare sensory given, a discrepancy between the space of the conceptual and that of the real. The notion that intuition already presents us with conceptual data also informs McDowell's reading of the second quotation from Kant cited earlier, which had already figured prominently in Sellars, 28 on the identity of the function providing unity in judgment with that providing unity in intuition. For McDowell this identity statement of Kant's confirms that what is rendered explicit at the level of freely formed judgments is already implicitly present "given" in the deliverances of intuition, which can be said to have their own unity, which is pre-judgmental but not pre-conceptual.

A closer look at the systematic context of Kant's remark will show that the latter's point is not the conceptual unity to be found in intuition but the unity brought to intuitions, which as such do not possess unity but obtain it from outside of them, viz. McDowell's strategy in dealing with the Scylla of the mythical Given and the Charybdis of coherentism has been to move the ultimate, most basic warrants of epistemic claims from outside the logical space of reasons, from where they could not exert a justificatory function, to inside the sphere of rational relations.

But there is a price to pay for this seemingly elegant solution. By internalizing Kantian intuitions into the space of the conceptual, McDowell lapses nolens volens into a version of coherentism. More precisely, the constraint provided by conceptually determined intuition is an internal constraint of concepts embedded in intuition on the explicit deployment of these concepts in the formation of judgments. While McDowell has managed to preserve the constraint factor within the conceptual sphere by having the conceptual in intuition constrain the conceptual in judgment, he has lost the constraint on the conceptual.

By effectively giving up the Kantian dualism of intuition and concept, McDowell has reverted or progressed, as one's viewpoint may have it to a Hegelian monism of logical concepts or a logical idealism that defends the conceptuality of the real. At this point, McDowell's epistemology risks turning into an ontology of objective conceptual data.

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The kind of Given envisioned by McDowell involves a new "Myth about the Given," one about the alleged givennesss of concepts. But while it is quite obvious that McDowell's position about the conceptual nature of intuition is not Kant's position, it remains to investigate whether and how Kant's dualism of intuition and concept manages to avoid the dual pitfall of an empiricist pseudo-epistemological foundationalism that conflates causation with justification and an idealist pseudo-ontological idealism that confuses consistency with truth.

The key elements of an answer to this vexing question lie in the status and function of intuition in Kant. Neither on his long way toward the Critique of Pure Reason nor in that work itself did Kant set out to provide a theory of empirical cognition. What McDowell, and not a few readers before him, see as the center of Kant's concerns is rather a byproduct of Kant's actual key project of reforming metaphysics, or, to put the matter in the cognitivist language favored by McDowell, of the epistemology of metaphysical cognition, 29 as summarized the leading question of the Prolegomena and of the second edition of the first Critique , "How are synthetic judgments priori possible?

But the latter type of cognition is not elucidated on its own and with the degree of attention typical for modern work in epistemology. In fact modern epistemology is largely a post-Kantian project, building on Kant's work by extending it into areas and directions cognitive psychology, logic of belief that were not at the forefront of Kant's central concern in theoretical philosophy, namely with the possibility of metaphysics.

Moreover, even when addressing empirical cognition in the first Critique , Kant focuses on what is non-empirical or "pure" in and about empirical cognition. What emerges about empirical cognition in the first Critique is a deep structure that underlies all empirical cognition and that presents itself only in the philosophical meta-cognition concerning the non-empirical conditions of empirical cognition.

Still the complex interplay between the empirical and the non-empirical, or in Kantian terms: between experience and the conditions of its possibility, is not a side issue in Kant but constitutes his very answer to the problem of metaphysics or the question concerning metaphysical cognition. Metaphysical cognition, insofar as the latter is "able to present itself as science" to use the phrase from the title of the Prolegomena , is not the cognition of some transempirical or supersensory world and its putative objects God, soul, freedom but the cognition of the complete set of conditions that are necessary for the very possibility of empirical cognition or of experience.

The negative, restrictive side of this revolutionary reorientation of metaphysics from the transcendence of the empirical to its non-empirical, "transcendental" grounding is the limitation of non-empirical cognition, more precisely of non-empirical theoretical, object-determining cognition as opposed to practical, will-determining cognition involved in moral philosophy to possible experience and to the objects of possible experience. Metaphysics as theoretical cognition "science" is the metaphysics of experience. But there is also a positive, enriching side to Kant's new metaphysics, viz.

A philosophically satisfactory account of experience has to be metaphysics of experience. The metaphysical secret of empirical cognition, viz. At the surface level the remark addresses the requirement of a match or a correspondence between the two elements involved in theoretical cognition, viz. An intuition and a concept belong to each other, complement each other and constitute a cognition in the full-fledged sense if what is sensorily given in intuition provides the material realization for what is thought in the concept, and if, vice versa, that which is being thought by the concept transforms the sensory content of an intuition into the cognition of an object.

In such a situation of match the intuition and the thought involved seem to be the intuition and the concept, respectively, of the same object, an object that is given in one case and thought in the other case. But any such talk of presupposed objects and their alternative modes of presence to the mind as intuition and as concept, respectively suggests a realist ontology which Kant does not only not take for granted but considers very much in need of examination and revision.


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Kant's philosophical concern is not with the de facto match between the intuition of an object and the concept of that object but with the question how there can be such a situation of match at all, especially considering the radically different nature of intuition and concept, due to their origin in two entirely different cognitive capabilities, viz. In advance of any particular match of some intuition and some concept with regard to some object, there is the fundamental philosophical issue of how intuitions and concepts can agree in the first place.

To take it for granted that they are able to do so, as McDowell does, underestimates Kant's philosophical amazement about concepts and intuitions and the theoretical urgency of the problem that their possible relation of match or agreement possesses. In particular, he goes on to investigate how the "pure concepts of the understanding or categories" reine Verstandesbegriffe oder Kategorien 33 can have any bearing on what is given in intuition or how the latter can undergo the former's shaping influence.

This is exactly the problem of the transcendental deduction of the categories and the associated investigations of the relation between the unity in intuitions and the unity in judgments Metaphysical Deduction 34 , of the mediation between category and pure intuition Schematism of the Pure Concepts of the Understanding and of the supreme synthetic cognitions a priori yielded by the match of categories and pure intuitions Principles of the Pure Understanding.

The entire extended argument of the Transcendental Analytic is required because in and of themselves concepts and intuitions have nothing in common, except their formal status as "representations" Vorstellungen in the mind in a generic, undifferentiated sense unsuitable for assessing their respective and collaborative epistemological functions. It should be stressed that Kant's problem regarding intuition and concept is not limited to the relation between pure concepts and pure intuitions.

It also presents itself for empirical intuitions and empirical concepts. After all, on Kant's account, the transcendental account of the categories and the pure manifold of the senses does not relate to some strange and unusual kind of cognition unrelated to ordinary knowledge but represents, in the artificial isolation of philosophical theorizing, the universal requirements of empirical cognition and its objects. However, the philosophical problem about empirical cognition is not that of the match of empirical intuition and empirical concept.

Rather the philosophical problem about empirical cognition is how to bring together the formal, non-empirical structures underlying all experience based on pure concepts and pure intuitions and objectified in universal laws of nature with materially concrete sensory data. This problem of integrating sheer data into both the forms of intuiting and the forms of thinking still figures large in Sellars' appropriation of Kant but not in McDowell's, for whom the given does not consist of raw data to be taken up by intuitive as well as intellectual forms of cognition but of already conceptually informed intuitions.

Nor is there in McDowell's Strawsonian rather than Sellarsian Kant room for the dynamics of the universal but subjective cognitive forms enabling the formation of objectively valid cognitions. Yet without the latter, the match of intuition and concept, whether in its generic form or as the agreement between empirical intuitions and empirical concepts or as the match of pure intuitions and pure concepts, remains a brute fact, unexplained and in principle subject to falsification.

Faced with the skeptical implications of such an epistemology of conceptual facts, Kant would have stressed the merits of his own decidedly non-empirical "metaphysical" account of cognition. Kant's differentiation between intuition and concept is the result of his long-standing investigations into the possibility of metaphysical cognition, and specifically into the possibility of metaphysical cognition about the nature and constitution of the world cosmology.

The precise point of origin for Kant's opposing intuitions to concepts is the novel theory of space and time developed by Kant in the late s and first presented in published form in the Inaugural-Dissertation of , On the form and grounds of the sensible and intelligible world. In so doing, he replaces the rationalist assessment of cognition by the senses, as lacking the clarity and distinctness available to cognition by the intellect, with an alternative account that recognizes the autonomous nature of both kinds of cognition and of the two orders of things or worlds correlated with them.

For Kant the world of sense and the world of the intellect each have their own formal structures and laws, and the attempt to blur the distinction between the two epistemologies and ontologies results in the self-contradictory claims that are the antecedents of the Antinomy of Pure Reason in the Critique of pure reason. The term "intuition" intuitus first occurs in the Inaugural-Dissertation of in the negative statement that the human being does not have at its disposition an intuition of things intellectual.

On Kant's analysis, the human intellect or understanding does not grasp things intuitively, or immediately and in their singularity, but only discursively discursive , or by means of "general concepts " conceptus generales that do not address the object in its singularity but in terms of what it possibly shares with other objects. But while the human being does not possess an intellect that intuits, it yet has another kind of intuition at its disposal, one that represents a mode of cognition different both from the discursive cognition of our intellect and the intuitive cognition of a possible non-human or rather superhuman, divine intellect.

According to Kant, this "human intuition" intuitus humanus 39 is like intellectual intuition to the extent that it grasps its object in an immediate manner , without the involvement of any other mode of cognition, and that it takes cognizance of this object in its singularity , as a unique entity that does not come into view as being like or unlike any other possible object.

Human intuition is "passive" passivus. It is important to stress the difference Kant sees between sensation as the material involved in sensible intuition and sensible intuition as the medium or dimension, or better yet: the cognitive form , into which sensation is taken up or incorporated. On Kant's analysis, the nature of human, sensible intuition qua intuition, as described above immediateness, singularity , does not belong to the deliverances of the senses as such but only to the form under which they enter into the mind's cognitive apparatus.

For Kant, this form of sensible intuition is the double form of space and time, in which all sensory date are contained. But space and time are not only the forms of sensibility. First and foremost they are themselves intuitions. To be sure, as forms for all "later" filling by sensory material, space and time themselves are not intuitions filled with sensory matter. Rather they are a case of "pure intuition" intuitus purus.

Hence the difference between pure intuitions and concepts in Kant turns on the different mereology of the two kinds of cognition and their respective objects. In the pure intuition of time and space the intuited is given as an infinite, all-encompassing whole, such that any temporal or spatial part is but a limitation of the original pure intuition of time and space. By contrast, in the case of concepts regarding the formal structure of the world cosmological concepts the whole succeeds the parts out of which it is made up.

Moreover, concepts may contain other cognitions, such as other concepts, under themselves, but they do not contain those lower concepts in themselves; rather higher concepts are contained by lower concepts. By contrast, time and space as pure intuitions contain all possible times and spaces in them, and as infinite singular wholes they do not have features in common with anything outside them.

Thus for Kant entirely different part-whole relations obtain in intuitions, specifically in pure intuitions, on the one hand, and in concepts, on the other hand. To be sure, the givenness of time and space as infinite intuitions cannot be understood on the model of the givenness of sensations, as coming to us from outside and as affecting us contingently. Rather to call time and space "given" is to address the fundamental fact that prior to and independent of all sensory data we may receive, there is present in our mind a comprehensive structure ready to be filled with material to be provided by the senses such that all possible sensible cognition will be contained in this structure and marked by its formal features.

One might call the mode of givenness peculiar to pure intuitions their pre-givenness Vorgegebenheit.


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Instead he considers time and space as "acquired" acquisitus ; to be sure, not as acquired from the senses and particular sensations, but as acquired internally from the immanent law of the universal human cognitive constitution that shapes the taking-in of sensory data. In historical terms, Kant's theory of time and space as forms of intuition and as pure intuitions brings together key elements of the earlier accounts of space and time provided by Newton and Leibniz. While the infinite magnitude of time and space in Kant retains elements of the Newtonian conception of space as an absolute entity or a cosmic container modeled on God's presence throughout the universe, their character as subjective forms of all sensory cognition is indebted to the Leibnizian conception of the phenomenal nature of time and space as the two orders that things take on under conditions of sensory cognition.

Unlike Newton, Kant defends the subjective origin of time and space. Unlike Leibniz he maintains their a priori character, their preceding rather than succeeding the things of which they are the ordering forms. And unlike either Newton or Leibniz Kant maintains that time and space are pure sensible intuitions.

The very notion of a pure sensible intuition as the cognitive form of given infinite wholes is entirely original to Kant and underlies not only his account of space and time in the first Critique but also its mature theory about the cooperative relation between intuition and concept. All the main features of the account of time and space to be found in the Inaugural-Dissertation, centered around the double notion of time and space as forms of intuition and as pure intuitions, are taken over in the Transcendental Aesthetic of the first Critique.

Hence the further development of Kant's thinking about intuitions and concepts that manifests itself in the first Critique deals not with the conveyances of sensibility as such but with their further non-sensory treatment by other powers of the mind. In particular, Kant contrasts the non-structured manner in which representations present themselves to the mind at the strictly sensory level with the form and structure introduced into spatial and temporal data by non-sensory means.

The term from the Inaugural-Dissertation designating the plenary but inarticulated sum-total of presentments in intuition as such, " varia ," is rendered in the first Critique as "manifold" Mannigfaltiges and strictly distinguished from any order or structure brought to the manifold.

While the Inaugural-Dissertation had left the formal determination of space and time to particular spaces and particular times largely unexplained, the first Critique contains the main elements of a theory of the generation of specifically determined plural intuitions out of the unitary and singular proto-intuition of space and time.

The most detailed treatment of this problem is to be found in the changes revisions and additions introduced into the second edition of the first Critique , especially in the Transcendental Deduction of the Categories, although it should be stressed that Kant regarded the changes of the second edition not as substantial corrections but as improvements in the "manner of presentation" Darstellungsart of his doctrine, which remained, in the main, unchanged.

The main reason for Kant's increased interest in the non-sensory features that accrue to intuition, to be found in the first Critique , is the realization, subsequent to the Inaugural-Dissertation and to be dated to the earlys, 50 that the pure concepts of the understanding do not actually refer to a world of their own, the world of the understanding, but pertain to the world of sense, of which they constitute the "intelligible form" in addition to its "sensible form" provided by the pure intuitions.

In the former regard, Kant stresses the complete lack of order among the manifold of intuition and the monopoly of the understanding for the formation of unity among representations of all kinds, regardless of whether they are intuitions or concepts. In the latter regard, he emphasizes the amenability of the unordered manifold of intuition to conceptual ordering. At the most basic level, the joint venture of the manifold of intuition and the unity of conception manifests itself in the double nature of space and time as forms of intuition and as pure intuitions.

In their capacity as universal forms of all sensible intuition, space and time do not yet provide unity to the infinitely varied "manifold" possible spatio-temporal arrays they contain. As forms of intuition, space and time function merely as the basic ways or modes for sensational intake.


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Any shaping of space and time into determined regions and stretches of space and time requires, on Kant's analysis, the " comprehension of the manifold" Zusammenfassung des Manngifaltigen , by means of which the form of intuition becomes the intuition of the form of intuition or "formal intuition. In the first Critique Kant's technical term for the "combination" Verbindung ; conjunctio of a given manifold, is "synthesis" Synthesis. Rather he locates the origin of synthesis in an active, shaping power of the human mind.

The function for synthesizing cognitive items of all kinds "representations;" Vorstellungen is assigned to the "power of the imagination" Einbildungskraft.