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CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS.

International Journal of Philosophy

N.o 6, Diciembre 2017, pp. 42-78

ISSN: 2386-7655

Doi: 10.5281/zenodo.1092771


Kant, Causal Judgment & Locating the Purloined Letter

Kant, el juicio causal y la localización de la carta robada


Kenneth R. WESTPHAL

Boğaziçi Üniversitesi, Turkey


Abstract


Kant’s account of cognitive judgment is sophisticated, sound and philosophically far more illuminating than is often appreciated. Key features of Kant’s account of cognitive judgment are widely dispersed amongst various sections of the Critique of Pure Reason, whilst common philosophical proclivities have confounded these interpretive difficulties. This paper characterises Kant’s account of causal-perceptual judgment concisely to highlight one central philosophical achievement: Kant’s finding that, to understand and investigate empirical knowledge we must distinguish between predication as a grammatical form of sentences, statements or (candidate) judgments, and predication as a (proto-

)cognitive act of ascribing some characteristic(s) to some localised particular(s). With Kant’s finding in view, I then elucidate how we have occluded his achievement. My results are not merely interpretive, but philosophical, because they show that Kant’s account of perceptual judgment accords with – and indeed justifies – a central and sound point regarding language, thought and reference advocated by apparently unlikely philosophical comrades. These finding highlight some methodological cautions which require re- emphasis today.


Keywords


Kant; causal judgment, perceptual judgment, cognitive judgment


[email protected]


[Recibido: 20 de octubre 2017

Aceptado: 30 de octubre 2017]

Kant, Causal Judgment & Locating the Purloined Letter



For Paul Guyer, in admiration and gratitude


  1. INTRODUCTION.

    Kant’s account of cognitive judgment is sophisticated, sound and philosophically far more illuminating than is often appreciated. Key features of Kant’s account of cognitive judgment are widely dispersed amongst various sections of the Critique of Pure Reason, whilst common philosophical proclivities have confounded these interpretive difficulties. This paper aims to characterise Kant’s account of causal-perceptual judgment concisely and accurately, to highlight one of his central philosophical achievements: Kant’s demonstration that, to understand and to investigate empirical knowledge we must distinguish between predication as a grammatical form of sentences, statements or (candidate) judgments, and predication as a (proto-)cognitive act of ascribing some characteristic(s) or feature(s) to some localised particular(s). With Kant’s result in hand, I then elucidate how we have occluded his insight. My results are not merely interpretive, but philosophical, because they show that Kant’s account of perceptual judgment accords with – and indeed justifies – a central and sound point regarding language, thought and reference advocated by apparently unlikely philosophical comrades: Stoic logicians, Kant, Hegel, Frege, Austin, Donnellan, Evans, Kripke, Kaplan, Travis and Wettstein – in contrast to ‘descriptions theories’ of reference, to Quine’s notion of ‘ontological commitment’ and to much of recently regenerated ‘analytic metaphysics’. These finding underscore some methodological precautions which require re-emphasis today.

    One obstacle to appreciating Kant’s achievement regarding cognitive judgment is his claim to justify some synthetic propositions a priori, by some sort of ‘transcendental’ analysis or proof, which itself requires, Kant argued, transcendental idealism (KdrV Bxvi–xix, A369–70). About this requirement, I have argued elsewhere, Kant was mistaken.1 Here we may also set aside Kant’s aim to justify some synthetic principles a priori. Instead, we may focus on Kant’s recognition that Hume’s scepticism about causality and about substance (‘body’ or physical objects) only addressed two central cases of a host of related conceptual, cognitive and judgmental issues (KdrV B19–20, 127–9, A745–6, 760/B773–4, 788; Prol 4:260; Caird 1889, 1:202). Prompted

    in part by empiricist scepticism, Kant adopted Tetens’ (1775) use of the term ‘realisieren’ (KdrV A146–7/B185–7) to underscore how demonstrating that we can use any concept (especially any a priori concept) legitimately in any cognitive judgment requires demonstrating that we can locate actual particulars to which we can correctly


    1Westphal (2004). I stake my case on a strictly internal critique of Kant’s transcendental idealism, and argue en detail that it is refuted by some of Kant’s most important and successful analyses in the Transcendental Analytic. It is disappointing to find critics and reviewers repeatedly rejecting my account by merely assuming as a premiss Kant’s quadruple distinction between empirical and transcendental senses of ‘real’ and ‘ideal’. To the contrary, Kant clearly recognised that he is entitled to that set of distinctions only by his positive arguments for his transcendental idealism. What my critics assume as a premiss, Kant recognised could only be justified as a result. My critique of Kant’s transcendental idealism directly address Kant’s attempt to justify that result.

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    ISSN: 2386-7655

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    apply that concept, or which properly instantiate that concept. 2 Kant also calls this demonstrating the ‘objective reality’ of a concept or principle (KdrV B288, 300–3, 314), or likewise its ‘real possibility’ (Bxxvi n., B302–3). Kant advocates the converse as well: showing that some concept is such that we cannot provide it any objective reality, or that we cannot ‘realise’ it by localising and designating any of its specific instances, shows that the concept in question is cognitively transcendent: we are incapable of using that concept in any legitimate, justifiable cognitive judgment. Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason develops a profoundly simple, specifically cognitive semantics of singular reference, which achieves one central aim of verification empiricism, yet without invoking verification empiricism, meaning empiricism or concept empiricism.3

  2. FIVE LESSONS FROM HUME.

    Developing Kant’s specifically cognitive semantics requires learning five central points from Hume’s empiricism.

    1. First, Hume recognised that we have and use a range of what may be called merely determinable concepts, as well as linguistic tags for various concepts. Hume’s official ‘copy theory’ of sensory impressions and ideas, together with his three official principles of psychological association (resemblance, contiguity and 1:1 correlation, presumed to be causal) can account only for determinate, specific classificatory concepts of sensed qualities, as fine-grained as one can regularly discriminate. All such concepts are empirical concepts. According to concept empiricism, any genuine or legitimate concept is either a logical term, a name for a simple sensed quality, or can be exhaustively defined by conjunctions (perhaps also disjunctions) of these two types of term. Hume’s official mechanisms of the mind may suffice, e.g., for various colour concepts, such as ‘blue’, ‘royal blue’ or ‘dusty Periwinkle blue’. Those mechanisms cannot account for merely determinable concepts. The scope and significance of merely determinable concepts must be specified – determined – in context; these concepts include those of ‘space’, ‘region of space’, ‘time’, ‘period of time’, ‘cause’, ‘substance’, ‘number’, ‘colour’ or ‘word’, and also linguistic tags (names), in contrast to flatus vocii (insignificant – meaningless – vocables). For these merely determinable concepts and for words, only Hume’s ever-capacious ‘imagination’ can account. However, for the imagination and its manifold, prodigious activities and results Hume can provide altogether no specifically empiricist account. Hume’s specifically empiricist principles are exhausted by his official copy theory of impressions and ideas, and his three principles of psychological association (Westphal 2013a).

    2. Second, in explaining our ineradicable though unjustifiable belief in the existence of physical objects in our surroundings (‘body’), Hume rightly found that his official


      2Tetens (1775), 38, 44–6, 48–9/(1913), 29, 34, 36, 37–8.

      3Kant’s semantics is much more sophisticated than Coffa (1991) recognised; see Melnick (1989), Westphal (2004), Bird (2006) and Haag (2007). Melnick’s unjustly neglected (1989) first made Kant’s semantics evident to me, including Kant’s understanding of the pitfalls of both causal and descriptions theories of reference.

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      empiricist mechanisms required three additional ‘propensities’ of the mind to form various beliefs in response to various repeated kinds of sequences of sensory impressions. Hume’s focus on the (purported) occasioning causes of these beliefs occludes how these beliefs each require concepts which cannot be defined in accord with concept empiricism; if they could be so defined, no further mental propensities would be required. These propensities are (1): to believe that any unchanging impression, which occurs during any other sequence of impressions, is a physical object;

      (2) to believe that any series of qualitatively closely resembling impressions is an experience of some one physical object; and (3) to believe that any closely resembling series of impressions which occur in different, non-continuous periods of time, are experiences of some one physical object which continues to exist during the (apparent) interruption(s) in our experience(s) of it. The conceptual content of each of these beliefs defies concept empiricism, and can only result (on Hume’s view) from our febrile imaginations. (One way to put this point is that Hume provides, so to speak, an ‘error theory’ of our belief in perceptible bodies, but we can only make that error – or rather, that set of errors – if we posses and use concepts which cannot be defined or learned in accord with concept empiricism, and hence count as a priori concepts, however officially illicit may be our use of them.)

    3. Third, the concept ‘cause’, even as mere 1:1 contiguity, can be neither learned nor defined on the basis of our typically human experiences, because – as Hume recognised

      – we so very often experience either a purported cause or a purported effect without its purported (causal) partner. Consequently, by the official empiricist mechanisms of the copy theory and the three principles of psychological association, we should only form very few, very weak beliefs (if any) in particular causal relations, which cannot suffice to define, to learn, or even to prompt the thought of (much less, any belief in) the general concept of cause invoked in the general causal principle, ‘every event has a cause’ (KdrV A195–6/B240–1; Beck 1975, 121–9). Any sorting of our experiences to select only those favourable cases in which we happen to observe both the purported cause and its purported effect presupposes the concept of cause as 1:1 contiguity, which is required to form even the merest expectation that we should meet with such patterns of contiguity in whatever series of impressions happen upon us, or likewise that we should sort our impression-experiences to select only the relevant paired instances. Hence the concept of ‘cause’ as 1:1 correlation is a priori.

    4. Fourth, when sitting before the fire in his study, Hume received a letter hand- delivered by porter (T 1.4.2.20–25). This delivery requires the continued existence of the stairs Hume no longer perceives, so that the porter can reach the door of Hume’s apartment. Hume’s recognising the knock at the door requires his believing in the continued existence of that door, and in the very likely existence of some person outside knocking upon the door. Neither the content nor the justification of any of these beliefs can be accounted for by Hume’s official empiricist principles: the copy theory and the three forms of association. Yet without the belief in the continuing, mind-independent existence of physical objects, our commonsense beliefs lose all coherence, as Hume


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      acknowledged.

    5. Fifth, Hume also recognised a key problem regarding the synchronic identity of perceptible objects at any one time: Any physical object has a variety of characteristics or properties, although it is one single object. This identity, however, is not simply quantitative: Neither ‘unity’ nor ‘plurality’, as numerical concepts, suffice to define the singularity of any one physical object with its manifold characteristics (T 1.4.3). By rigorously developing the implications of his official concept empiricism and verification empiricism, together with the sensory atomism apparently endorsed by his predecessors, Hume verged upon recognising a core problem running through the Modern ‘new way of ideas’ and the sense data tradition, which analytic epistemologists only recognised ca. 2000 (cf. Cleremanns 2003): the host of problems now known as ‘the binding problem’.

      Kant recognised these problems about how any plurality of sensations becomes integrated into some one percept of some single object; and likewise, how any plurality of sensory information about the characteristics of any one sensed object become integrated into their identification as characteristics or features of some one perceived, recognised object. These problems arise both synchronically and diachronically, and they arise both within and across each of our sensory modalities. Kant recognised that none of these problems can be solved simply by adding further sensations to any such series or concurrent plurality of sensations: sensations do not, as it were, bind themselves together into percepts, nor do percepts bind themselves together into perceptual episodes. The integration of sensations into percepts at any time, and the integration of a series of percepts over time into the continuing perception of any object or event requires non-sensory functions guided by relevant principles. This point holds generally; it requires neither sensory atomism, nor that sensations themselves be objects of our self-conscious (apperceptive) awareness.

      Insofar as we perceive our surroundings via our sensory channels, it is obvious that we can sense and perceive physical objects and events. However, we can sense neither space nor time as such (KdrV A172–3, 188, 214, 487/B214, 231, 261, 515). Consequently, we cannot localise physical objects or events simply by sensing the region each occupies. Our sensory experiences are always successive, yet no mere succession of sensations, nor of sensory percepts, nor of perceptions – qua successive sequence(s) – suffices to determine (discriminate) whether the features of objects or events so sensed are themselves sequential, or instead exist concurrently (though they be sensed sequentially). This Hume failed to note, except to the (insufficient) extent that the porter temporarily imposed upon his studied repose in his empiricist habits of mind.

  3. DESCRIPTION, ASCRIPTION & LOCALISATION.

One important, elementary point Kant makes is that the use of concepts, principles or classifications in knowledge requires judgment to ascribe relevant characteristics to particular objects or events, by subsuming that (or those) particular(s) under the


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conceptual classifications used in our judgments to identify their features. This remains the case no matter how specific our rules, principles or classifications may be, so far as concerns knowledge in non-formal domains (KdrV A133–5/B172–4). Conversely, Kant points out that our mere possession or use of a priori concepts or principles does not suffice for knowledge using those concepts or principles. Knowledge requires applying those concepts or principles to particulars which purportedly instantiate them. In our human case, localising such particulars and subsuming them under our classifications or principles (be they a priori or empirical; both are involved in any empirical judgment, according to Kant) are localisable only via sensation, whether directly by sensory perception or by using observational instruments. This marks Kant’s decisive semantic and epistemological critique of pre-Critical metaphysics: The mere fact that we possess a priori concepts shows not at all that we are able to use them legitimately in justifiable cognitive judgments. The lingering worry that Kant’s ‘synthetic a priori ’ would open the door to transcendent metaphysics is mistaken. That lesson Kant learned from Tetens. Kant’s critics in this particular have yet to learn this lesson.

Avant la lettre, Kant’s semantics of singular cognitive reference incorporates Gareth Evans’ thesis about predication, which Kant embeds within a much richer epistemological analysis. Against Quine, Evans argued for this conclusion:

… the line tracing the area of [ascriptive] relevance delimits that area in relation to which one or the other, but not both, of a pair of contradictory predicates may be chosen. And that is what it is for a line to be a boundary, marking something off from other things. (Evans 1975, rpt.: 1985, 36, cf. 34–7)

Evans’ point is that specifying the relevant boundary for the use of either member of a pair (or set) of contrary (mutually exclusive, though not necessarily ‘contradictory’) predicates (KdrV A73–4/B98–9) is only possible by specifying the region relevant to the manifest characteristic in question, and vice versa, and (for reasons Evans provides, concerning the mastery of the relevant predicates of a language) this region will be either co-extensive with or included within the spatio-temporal region occupied by some particular object, event, structure or natural phenomenon. More generally, predication requires conjointly specifying the relevant spatio-temporal region and some manifest characteristics of any particular we self-consciously experience or identify. These conjoint specifications may be approximate; the key point is that spatio-temporal localisation and ascription of manifest characteristics are conjoint, mutually interdependent cognitive achievements (KdrV B162).

This conjoint designation of the region occupied by a particular and at least some of its manifest characteristics requires thorough integration of sensibility and understanding: Sensibility is required (though not sufficient) for sensing various manifest characteristics of the sensed particular, and in directing us to its location; Understanding is required (though not sufficient) for explicitly delineating its region and identifying its manifest characteristics as its characteristics, thus enabling Someone to


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be self-consciously aware of this particular.


  1. SINGULAR, SPECIFICALLY COGNITIVE REFERENCE.

    The previous point about predication as a proto-cognitive achievement (not merely a grammatical or judgmental form; §3) is justified by Kant’s semantics of singular, specifically cognitive reference. 4 ‘Cognitive’ reference concerns our reference to (putatively) known individuals, as instances of our (putatively cognitive) judgments or assertions. Kant’s point is that knowledge, justified belief, error or indeed experience (whether veridical or not) of or about particulars require satisfying further conditions of reference (further ‘constraints’, if one will) than those implicit or explicit within conceptual content or linguistic meaning (intension) alone. According to Kant, concepts have ‘meaning’ or content as predicates of possible judgments (intension, classificatory content), though no concept has specifically cognitive significance unless and until it is incorporated into a candidate cognitive judgment which Someone refers to some actual particular(s) S/he has localised within space and time (at least presumptively). The relevant particulars are located within space and time; I use the term ‘localised’ to stress that S identifies (at least approximately) where and when (putatively) known or experienced particulars are located. Kant analyses the first stage of conceptual meaning (intension) in the derivation of the Table of Categories from the Table of Judgments and in the Schematism of the Categories; he analyses the second stage of cognitive significance in the Transcendental Aesthetic, the Amphiboly of the Concepts of Reflection and in the Analytic of Principles. To have any possible significance for theoretical cognition (i.e., for empirical knowledge), the categories – and likewise for all of our concepts – require applicability to particulars we can experience. (This is the task of Kant’s Schematism, augmented in the Analytic of Principles.) However, to have actual cognitive significance, the categories and our other concepts must be ‘applied to objects’ which we experience. (In making such discriminatory judgments, Kant expressly notes, we cannot possibly refer in any specific, determinate way whatever to any transcendent (‘foreign’) cause of the sorts alleged by occasionalists; KdrV A206/B251–2.)

    Through his critique of Leibniz (in the Amphiboly of the Concepts of Reflection, in his Appendix to the Analytic of Principles), Kant identified the cognitive and epistemological insufficiency of descriptions theories of reference. According to descriptions theories of reference, our statements refer to whatever is described when we analyse the meanings of our concepts, terms or statements into explicit descriptions. The problem with this approach within epistemology is that, no matter how specific or extensive a description may be, no description by itself determines whether it is (logically) empty, determinate or ambiguous because it describes no, only one or instead several individuals. Which may be the case is not simply a function of the description: it is equally a function of what there is. The inclusion of definite pronouns (such as ‘the’


    4Westphal (2004), esp. §§7–9, 33, 62–63.2.


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    or ‘the one and only’) within an attributive phrase does not, because it cannot, settle this issue because no definite article insures that the phrase in which it occurs is neither empty nor ambiguous; this was Russell’s problem (ca. 1905) about ‘the present King of France’. As for Quine’s typical example of a definite referring expression, ‘the shortest spy’, it too may fail to pick out any one particular person, because the shortest spies may be twins or triplets, identical in stature and in profession, though distinct (secret) agents nonetheless. Alternatively, ‘that than which none greater can be conceived’ may not secure monotheism, perhaps not even reference at all; likewise, e.g., for Leibniz’s metaphysical principle of plentitude or David Lewis’s merely possible worlds.

    To know any one spatio-temporal particular (even putatively) requires both correctly ascribing characteristics to it and localising it within space and time. Integrating both of these is required for predicative ascription, and also for knowledge of (or even error about) that individual: predication (even putative predication), as the ascription of characteristics to some individual(s), is a cognitive achievement; it is not merely a grammatical or judgmental form. Only through singular sensory presentation and competent use of conceptions of ‘time’, ‘times’, ‘space’, ‘spaces’, ‘individual’ and ‘individuation’, Kant argues, can we localise any object, event, structure or natural phenomenon (of whatever scale) in space and time (even putatively). Only through ostensive designation can we ascribe the predicates used in our judgment or (perhaps implicit) description to any one (or more) putatively known particular(s). Therefore, predicative ascription is required for singular, specifically cognitive reference to any spatio-temporal particular(s). Only through predication as this kind of cognitive achievement can anyone specify (even approximately) the relevant spatio-temporal region (putatively) containing the particular(s) one purports to designate ostensively – by specifying its occupant(s), the (putatively) known particular(s). Only in this way can one note, specify or determine precisely which spatio-temporal region to designate, in order to grasp this (intended, ostended, presented) particular, and to ascribe to it any manifest characteristics, all of which is required to achieve any knowledge (whether presumptive or actual) of that particular (KdrV B162). (The case is parallel for designating any plurality of particulars or structures of whatever scale.)

    Kant argues for these points directly, against Leibniz’s doctrine of complete individual concepts, which (allegedly) by divine providence of maximal diversity amongst individuals, affords de facto individuation of any and every actual individual solely by each individual’s complete and unique concept – an intension, explicable in principle, if in actu only by the divinity, as a complete and unique description. Against Leibniz, Kant illustrates the spatio-temporal requirements for individuating any (putatively) known particulars using a homely example of two drops of rain, identical in size, shape and in all their qualities, though they are nevertheless two distinct individuals insofar as they occupy distinct regions of space (KdrV A263–4/B319–20), or time, we may add.



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    Thus, in brief, does Kant show that determinate cognitive judgments are possible for us only through conjoint spatio-temporal designation of, and predicative ascription of characteristics to, any experienced particular(s).5 As important as predication is to philosophy of language, analysing the meanings of our terms or the contents of our concepts, descriptive phrases or psychological ‘attitudes’ does not because it cannot suffice for epistemology (KdrV A727–30/ B755–8). Kant’s semantic thesis can be formulated in terms of claims, beliefs, statements, assertions or judgments. Put in terms of judgments, this is

    KANTS THESIS OF SINGULAR COGNITIVE REFERENCE: Terms or phrases have ‘meaning’, and concepts have (classificatory) content, as predicates of possible judgments (intension), though (in non-formal, substantive domains) none of these has specifically cognitive significance unless and until it is incorporated into a candidate cognitive judgment which is referred to some actual particular(s) localised (at least putatively) by the presumptive judge, S, within space and time. Cognitive reference, so defined, is required for cognitive status (even as merely putative knowledge) in any non-formal, substantive domain.

    (The restriction to non-formal domains is discussed below, §§6, 7.)


    Kant’s cognitive semantics secures the key aim of meaning verificationism, without invoking meaning verificationism! Kant’s point holds regardless of whether the concepts we use in cognitive judgments (in non-formal, substantive domains) are a priori, a posteriori or mixed. His cognitive-semantic point is that, whatever may be the conceptual content or linguistic meaning (intension) of our claims, judgments, statements or propositions, they have no cognitive status unless and until they are referred to particulars we have (presumptively) localised within space and time. This requirement is a necessary condition for the truth-evaluability of our claims (etc.), and it is a necessary condition for us to know enough about our claims and whatever about which we make those claims to discover and thereby to determine their truth value, their accuracy or their adequate approximation. This requirement is also necessary (though not sufficient) for our assessing the cognitive justification of our claims about those particulars. This is the nerve of Kant’s critique of prior, cognitively transcendent metaphysics.6 Kant’s a priori justification of some central synthetic claims provides no solace for transcendent, rationalist metaphysics – nor for its contemporary echos within analytical metaphysics.

  2. LOCALISING PARTICULARS BY CAUSAL-PERCEPTUAL DISCRIMINATION.

Having reached these central points of Kant’s cognitive semantics, we must consider


5Kant’s semantics of singular cognitive reference provides for scientific reference to indirectly observed entities or forces, e.g., the magnetism of the loadstone responsible for the stone’s observed effects upon iron filings (KdrV B273). The details of this provision cannot, and need not, be summarised here.

6Kant’s epistemology is (in these regards) sound; see Westphal (2004), cf. Hanna (2001), Rosenberg (2005), Bird (2006), Haag (2007).

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core features of his account of differentiating and identifying spatio-temporal individuals. Any ascription of characteristics to any individual(s) sufficiently accurate and warranted to count as reasonable belief (and all the more so for such ascription to count as knowledge), we must achieve sufficient presumption to have identified an individual as an object, process, structure or event which occupies some specifiable region of space and time and which manifests some plurality of characteristics within that region. Any of these identifications requires distinguishing that individual (or those individuals) from our perceptions of them. As Kant repeatedly stressed, our experiential, sensory intake is always successive, but whether any succession apparent in our perceptions tracks an objective succession within some event or process, or instead successively reveals concurrently existing features of any one (relatively) stable, persisting object in principle cannot be determined (specified) merely by our experiential, perceptual, sensory sequences (KdrV A194/B239–40). This crucial point Hume neglected almost entirely, except when the porter delivered his letter to his upper storey apartment; it has been altogether neglected by the sense-data tradition.

In both the Second and in the Third Analogies of Experience, Kant highlights – briefly, though incisively – the contrast between our own perceptual activity and whatever objects or events we may happen to perceive. Our perceptual activity is not merely mental, and no mere matter of attention, but also includes our bodily comportment (Melnick 1989), including how we direct our gaze: whether first to the roof or to the foundation of a building, or to its ‘left’ or its ‘right’ facing side (KdrV B162); or towards the river when the ship is upstream, then glance away, then glance again at the river, wherein the ship is now further downstream (KdrV A192/ B237); or instead first to the moon, then to the earth’s horizon and then back to the moon; or first to the earth’s horizon and then to the moon and back to the earth (KdrV B257).

Kant’s semantics of singular cognitive reference underscores that empirical knowledge is discriminatory, insofar as it involves discriminating particulars both spatio-temporally and by their manifest or measurable characteristics. The discriminatory character of our empirical knowledge is greatly augmented and underscored by Kant’s analysis of the basic principles of causal judgment in the ‘Analogies of Experience’.

For too long, discussion of Kant’s Analogies focussed almost exclusively upon the Second, where Kant was supposed to have answered Hume’s causal scepticism. Kant’s reply to Hume cannot lie there, for as Beck (1975, 149n.) noted, in the Second Analogy Kant’s model of causality is Leibnizian. That is correct only to this extent: Kant’s Second Analogy only concerns rule-governed causal changes of state within any one substance, whereas Hume’s scepticism concerns causal relations between two or more particulars.7 Kant’s First Analogy concerns the persistence of any one substance through


7Melnick (1973, 96) neglected Beck’s observation and its significance, and so wrongly regarded ‘the separation of the argument into two sections, the Second Analogy and the Third Analogy’ as ‘artificial

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causal changes of its states. Only in the Third Analogy does Kant defend a principle of causal judgment regarding causal interactions between any two or more substances. Recent literature has paid more attention to Kant’s Third Analogy, yet even leading research on Kant’s Analogies of Experience neglects how Kant’s principles of causal judgment in the Analogies form an integrated set, because no one of these principles can be used without conjoint use of the other two.

Indeed, Kant’s three principles of causal judgment provide an integrated, incremental justification of judgments about transeunt causal interactions. A cause is ‘transeunt’ if it extends beyond any one substance in order to effect a change in another (O.E.D.). Kant’s main examples in the Third Analogy are astronomical, but his analysis is general and holds of all forms of causal interaction between physical particulars, of whatever kinds, at whatever scale. As Caird and Paton noted, Kant’s defence of causal interaction counters Leibniz as well as Hume.8

The three Analogies present and defend a tightly integrated set of mutually supporting principles regulating our discriminatory causal-perceptual judgments. The empirical criterion of succession is lack of reversibility of the type of sequence of appearances produced by one or more objects; the empirical criterion of co-existence is the reversibility of the type of sequence of appearances produced by one or more objects. Determining whether either co-existence or succession occurs requires determining that the other does not, where both determinations require that we identify objects which persist through both the real and the apparent changes involved in the relevant sequence of appearances. We directly perceive neither time nor space as such, whilst the mere order in which we apprehend (take in) appearances determines (specifies, indicates) no objective order of objects or events: our ever-successive perceptions may be perceptions of concurrently co-existing particulars or features of some one particular. Consequently, the only condition under which we can determine which states of affairs precede, and which coexist with, which others is if there are enduring perceptible substances which interact causally, thereby producing changes of state in one another, including changes in location or motion (including orientation). Perceiving and discriminating enduring substances are necessary for us to determine any variety of spatial locations, to determine changes of place, and to determine non-spatial changes of state objects may undergo. To ascertain whether a change of appearances is a function of one object, previously in view, moving out of view when displaced by another; or instead is a function of one object rotating to reveal a different aspect; or



and forced’. Melnick (2004, 114) corrects this oversight, though Melnick (2006) altogether omits the Third Analogy.

8Watkins (2005) claims that Kant does not seek to answer Hume’s causal scepticism. However, his responses to Manfred Kuehn’s comments at an ‘Author meets Critics’ at the Pacific Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association (2005), and to questions from the floor, clearly demonstrated insufficient command of Hume’s texts and issues to substantiate his denial that Kant sought to respond to Hume’s causal scepticism.

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instead is a function of one spatially stable object undergoing a non-spatial change of state, requires that we are able to – and do – identify places, changes of state, and objects which change place or state, and that we are able to – and do – discriminate amongst these different kinds of causal scenario. To identify any one such scenario requires conjoint, discriminatory use of all three principles of causal judgment defended in the Analogies of Experience (KdrV B223, 231, 256). The principles of causal judgment defended in the Analogies all stand together, or not at all. Defending transeunt causality is thus central to Kant’s Analogies as a whole, and not only to the Third Analogy. The valid use of Kant’s Analogies of Experience requires that changes in material substances we identify are produced, directly or indirectly (via their ‘relatively inner’ determinations), by external transeunt causes.

We human beings can only discriminate and identify causally interacting, perceptible spatio-temporal substances, events or structures. Identifying any one such particular requires discriminating it from its – and from our own – surroundings within space and time, by identifying some of its manifest characteristics, including some of its causal characteristics, whether those responsible for the relative stability of its concurrent – including its concurrently perceptible – characteristics, or those responsible for some of its changes in spatial location or orientation, or for some of its causal transformations (exchange of characteristics or states) (cf. Harper 1984).

In connection with his example of perceiving successively the concurrently existing features of a building – a house – Kant expressly notes, ‘I draw, as it were, its form’ (KdrV B162),9 thus noting – drawing, identifying, discriminating – its (approximate) spatial boundary. These points about causal-perceptual discrimination of particulars hold generally, not merely in the case of a porter climbing the stairs of the staircase to our flat, which we – now comfortably at home, seated before the fire – do not perceive out in the stairwell. These points, too, belong to Kant’s incisive generalisation of Hume’s sceptical problems. These points also mark Kant’s incorporation of Evans’ analysis of predicative ascription within a richer epistemological analysis. We can only distinguish appearances of particulars by discriminating particulars, and thereby discriminate which features of our perceptual experiences are due to those particulars and their characteristics from other features of our perceptual experiences which are due to our own bodily comportment.

This capacity to discriminate features of sensory appearances due to the environment from those due to a creature’s own bodily motions involves ‘sensory reafference’. This very basic sensory-perceptual function is required to perceive any objective environment; it is found even in very simple invertebrates, including, e.g., drosophila (Brembs 2011). It is very much to Kant’s credit that he noted this perceptual phenomenon, and its fundamental importance to perceiving one’s surroundings. It is also to Kant’s credit that he used this point as part of his subtle and cogent justification


9Kant states: „ich zeichne gleichsam seine Gestalt …“; all translations are the author’s.

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of mental content externalism (Westphal 2006, 2007).


Kant’s cognitive semantics does not rule out second-hand ‘knowledge by description’ based upon reliable testimony or written reports; instead it establishes basic cognitive conditions upon the acquisition of empirical knowledge, by identifying basic conditions under which alone synthetic statements have specifically cognitive status within any non-formal domain. Kant’s cognitive semantics founds an important quadruple distinction between description (intension, classification), ascription i.e., attribution of the predicates contained in S’s description to some particular(s) localised by S (predication), sufficiently accurate or true ascription, and sufficiently (cognitively) justified accurate or true description. Only the latter can count as empirical knowledge. Consequently, Kant’s analysis of specifically cognitive reference shows why philosophy of language or philosophy of mind may augment epistemology, but cannot supplant it, insofar as neither cognitive justification nor singular cognitive reference can be reduced to, nor substituted by, analysis of linguistic meaning nor of mental content.10

6 THE IRRELEVANCE OF INFALLIBILISM TO NON-FORMAL DOMAINS.

Kant’s cognitive semantics also shows that justificatory infallibilism is in principle irrelevant to the non-formal domain of empirical knowledge. Strictly speaking, formal domains are those which involve no existence postulates. Strictly speaking, the one purely formal domain is a careful reconstruction of Aristotle’s Square of Opposition (Wolff 1995, 2000, 2009, 2012). All further logical or mathematical domains involve various existence postulates, including semantic postulates. We may define ‘formal domains’ more broadly to include all formally defined logistic systems (Lewis 1930; rpt.: 1970, 10). Whether we construe formal domains narrowly or broadly, deduction suffices for justification within any formal domain because deduction constitutes justification within any formal domain. Indeed, a domain is a formal domain only insofar as deduction constitutes justification within it. Only within formal domains is justification constituted by provability.

The relevance of any such logistic system to any non-formal, substantive domain rests, however, not upon formal considerations alone, but also upon substantive considerations of how useful a specific logistic system may be within a non-formal, substantive domain (Lewis 1929, 298; cf. Carnap 1950a). The use of any specified logistic system within any non-formal domain does not suffice for justification within that domain; justification within that domain also requires assessment of the adequacy, accuracy and specific use of, inter alia, the semantic and existence postulates which partially constitute and delimit that domain. Consequently, within any substantive domain, fallibilism is no sceptical capitulation, not because infallibilist standards of justification are too stringent, but because in principle they are inappropriate – i.e., they


10These important features of Kant’s semantics of singular cognitive reference, and indeed of Evans’ analysis of predication, are neglected by McDowell; see Westphal (2008b). On McDowell’s recent re- assertion of perceptual infallibilism, see Westphal (2017a), §107.

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are irrelevant – to any and all substantive domains. Conversely, within any substantive domain, a mere logical possibility as such has no cognitive status and so cannot serve to ‘defeat’ or to undermine (refute) an otherwise well-grounded line of justificatory reasoning within that domain. The domain of (putative) empirical knowledge includes spatio-temporal objects and events; accordingly, empirical knowledge is a non-formal domain. Consequently, Kant’s analysis of singular cognitive reference rules out the ideal of infallible justification (post-1277 scientia) within the entire non-formal domain of empirical knowledge. Recognising that only fallibilist accounts of justification are tenable within the non-formal domain of empirical knowledge concedes nothing to scepticism (Westphal 2013b, 2016b).

In view of Kant’s critique of cognitive judgment, including his cognitive semantics of singular reference, we must distinguish between the literal and full meaning of his causal principles as formulated (their intension), and the legitimate, justifiable cognitive significance of any judgments we can make using those principles. This accords with Kant’s calling his analyses and justification of these principles ‘Analogies’, insofar as these causal principles regulate our causal judgments by guiding our identifying efficient causes of observed spatio-temporal events. How fully or precisely we may identify causes and effects is a matter for empirical inquiry, whether commonsense, diagnostic, forensic or natural-scientific (cf. Harper 1984). Because our causal judgments are discriminatory (in the ways indicated above), we are only able to discriminate apparent from real changes of objects’ states, locations or motions insofar as we identify – sufficiently to recognise them at all – other physical events which cause those changes, so as to distinguish those objective, physical changes from merely apparent changes which result from our contingent observations, including our bodily comportment.

Making such discriminatory, perceptual-causal judgments to identify particulars in our surroundings requires anticipation and imagination to consider, not any and all logically possible alternatives to an apparently perceived causal scenario, but to consider relevant causally possible alternatives to an apparently perceived causal scenario. Yes, already in 1787 Kant developed a very sophisticated, profoundly anti- Cartesian, ‘relevant alternatives’ epistemology (cp. Milmed 1969; Strawson 1974, 1979; Sellars 1978; Westphal 2004, 2007).

  1. CRITICAL PHILOSOPHY & PHILOSOPHICAL SELF-CRITICISM.

    The points made above about the necessarily conjoint, discriminatory use of all three of Kant’s causal principles, expounded and justified in the Analogies of Experience, are not new findings: They were established by Guyer (1987),11 and have been restated, augmented and highlighted in my own subsequent research several times. Yet Kant’s


    11Guyer (1987), 168, 212–14, 224–25, 228, 239, 246, 274–75.

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    commentators continue to disregard the integrity of Kant’s Analogies of Experience.12 I surmise this results from several habits of thought, all over-due for Critical reconsideration.

    1. Kant’s Analytic Commentators. The infallibilist presumption that nothing short of provability suffices for justification has two fatal consequences: conceptual analysis is the sole legitimate method of philosophy, and mere conceivability of an alternative suffices for refutation. This infallibilist orthodoxy is demonstrably Mediaeval, proclaimed by Étienne Tempier, Bishop of Paris, in condemning 220 neo-Aristotelian heresies in 1277 (Piché 1999, Boulter 2011).

      Frege was highly critical of ‘psychologism’ – of mistaking psychological considerations of how we think or judge for philosophically central, indeed for much more fundamental issues of how we ought to think or judge. Recently I had occasion to read widely in latter 19th-century theory of knowledge, including neo-Kantianism, and found myself confronted with the target of Frege’s critique across the range of European and North American philosophical writings. Carnap and the logical empiricists radicalised Frege’s rejection of psychologism, eschewing even logical analysis of judgment in favour of focussing upon propositions, their proper formulation and use, and their evidence bases (cf. Carnap 1950b, §11). Only that which we can state explicitly, clearly and accurately can we rationally assess and, when warranted, accept – and only that which we can state explicitly, clearly and accurately can we analyse using the resources of modern logical techniques. This focus upon the use of logical techniques, so far as possible, within philosophy was further promoted by Quine, Davidson and Fodor, very much at the expense of ordinary language philosophy (cf. Tanney 2013) – and at the expense of neglecting Carnap’s (1932–33, 1932–33, 177–80;

      1942, §5; 1963, 923, 925–7) repeated insistence that his formalised syntax and semantics are not self-sufficient, but require for their actual use their proper complement: a ‘descriptive semantics’ which identifies observation statements made by natural scientists ‘of our cultural circle’.

      In accord with analytical focus upon propositions, and in view of Hume’s formulation of issues about causality, Kant’s commentators strongly tend to focus on Kant’s three principles of causal judgment in the Analogies of Experience as nothing more than three (mutually independent) propositions, and on ‘causality’ only as ‘event causation’, where ‘event causation’ is conceived only as a sequence of one happening and then another happening; these may be of repeatedly paired instances of kinds, but no consideration is given to how they come about, nor to how we can localise and identify either the (purported) cause or the (purported) event. By focussing too much upon mere principles and not enough upon their use in (putative) cognitive judgments,


      12Allison’s (2004, 260–274) second edition includes a new discussion of Kant’s Third Analogy, and considers Guyer’s views of the Third Analogy, yet Allison neglects Guyer’s finding about the integrity of the Three Analogies, as does Melnick (2004, 2006).

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      Kant’s commentators thus neglect the importance of Kant’s point – prefigured by Hume’s encounter with the porter – that the always successive order in which we merely take in appearances in principle cannot distinguish between objective succession and objective co-existence (successively perceived). As a result, these commentators continue to mis-read Kant’s Second Analogy as concerning Humean, merely statistical correlations of distinct events; whereas (Beck noted) Kant’s Second Analogy only concerns successive states of any one substance. Nevertheless, Beck neglected three important consequences of this fact: (1) Kant only defends transeunt causality between distinct substances in connection with the Third Analogy; (2) therefore, competent, cognizant use of all three causal principles is required to identify any one causal sequence or process we identify, by distinguishing it from its causally possible alternatives (which would instantiate either of the other two principles of causal judgment); (3) we can only make such discriminatory causal judgments in regard to spatio-temporal, causally interacting perceptible substances. In Kant’s view, this is not a general truth about knowledge as such, nor about causal concepts or principles as such, nor about causality as such; instead it is general truth about human knowledge using our actual cognitive capacities within our actual environment. As Kant noted, ‘that something occurs, i.e., that something or a state begins to exist, which was not heretofore, cannot be empirically perceived where there is no prior appearance which does not contain this state’ (KdrV A291–2/B236–7). The initial event beloved of Humean causal theorists must itself first be identified as occurring, which requires us to have identified prior circumstances, which requires that we have already differentiated those concurrent and persisting circumstances from our always-successive experiences of them. Kant’s key point about causal judgment turns on the causal discriminations involved in distinguishing those sequences in our experiences which are produced by events surrounding us, from those sequences which instead only reflect our changing perceptual activity as we experience perduring, perceptible circumstances surrounding us (KdrV A292/B237). We don’t first perceive an event, and then – knowing nothing other than that – inquire into the cause of its occurrence; identifying any new appearance as an event in the world, and not merely an apparent change induced by our changing our viewpoint already involves – if implicitly, sub-personally – discriminating that new event within our surroundings, which involves causal discrimination and localisation (however approximate) of relevant particulars and some of their apparent features. Humean causal scepticism is a direct consequence of Cartesian internalism.

      These oversights by recent analytic commentators are highlighted by the general neglect of P.F. Strawson’s later, highly Kantian essays and his later essays on Kant. Strawson recognised deficiencies in The Bounds of Sense (1966) regarding both Kant’s Critique and the core philosophical issues, upon which he improved significantly in ‘Kant’s New Foundations of Metaphysics’ (1997a), ‘The Problem of Realism and the A Priori ’ (1997b), ‘Imagination and Perception’ (1974) and ‘Perception and its Objects’ (1979). These latter two concern central issues of perceptual judgment; their Kantian


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      credentials are apparent when compared to Milmed (1969) and Sellars (1978).13

      Long-standing rejection of issues about cognitive judgment within analytic epistemology resulted in part from the aim to avoid ‘psychologism’ (of whatever varieties), though also in part by the implicit though fundamentally Cartesian aspiration to refute the epistemological nightmare of global perceptual scepticism. It is significant that all of Gettier’s (1963) infamous counter-examples centrally involve what soon became known as ‘externalist’ factors bearing upon the justificatory status of Someone’s beliefs, factors such that S/he neither was, nor could easily become, aware by simple reflection. These may be environmental, or they may concern features of S’s neurophysiology of perception, or S’s inference patterns. Sceptics remain impressed by the fact that all of our experiences and beliefs could be as they are, even though as a simple matter of logic they could all be false (Stroud 1994, 241–2, 245). What this fact demonstrates is rather that cognitive justification is not reducible to logical deduction. Kant recognised this in his distinction between general logic and a specifically ‘transcendental logic’ (KdrV A131/B170), which considers the various possible and necessary roles of a priori concepts and principles within human experience and knowledge, their respective domains, and the conditions under which their use can be legitimate (or not). Kant understood that understanding human knowledge requires understanding how knowledge is possible for beings constited as we are. So doing requires a basic inventory of our characteristically human cognitive capacities; Kant deserves credit for having provided the necessary minimum inventory.

      To inventory our most basic cognitive capacities Kant pursued this insight:


      Now it is indeed very illuminating: that whatever I must presuppose in order at all to know an object, cannot itself be known as [an] object …. (KdrV A402)


      Pace Nietzsche,14 Kant did not neglect the question, ‘How is Immanuel Kant possible?’

      i.e., how can any philosopher investigate, assay, assess and compose a credible, cogent Critique of Pure Reason? Kant recognised that no critique of pure reason can be conducted by Cartesian reflection, nor within the constraints of Hume’s fork (only logically necessary truths or falsehoods can be known a priori as mere relations of ideas, whilst any synthetic proposition can be known, if at all, only on the basis of empirical evidence regarding matters of fact), nor by mere conceptual analysis. Against Leibniz, Kant noted, e.g., that no causal relation can be established by mere conceptual analysis, nor can any other synthetic propositions be justified a priori merely by conceptual analysis (KdrV B13, A216–8/B263–5, cf. A716, 717–8/B744, 745–6). The entire effort to identify in (or through) Kant’s texts a purely analytical refutation of scepticism by valid ‘analytic transcendental argument’ (cf. Strawson 1966, Bieri et al


      13Also worth studying in this connection is R.P. Wolff (1960).

      14Cf. Morgenröte, Vorrede §3.


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      1979, Stern 1999) was ill-conceived and ill-fated from the start; nor is weakening the aspirations of (allegedly) transcendental analysis to mere belief (Stern 2000) any avail. The key shortcomings with that approach was its focus upon concept possession and its reliance upon conceptual analysis, whereas Kant had learnt from Tetens that the key issues concern justifiable use of concepts, the necessary a priori conditions of which use require conceptual explication informed by transcendental reflection upon what is possible for beings with our logically contingent cognitive capacities (12 basic forms of judgment; 2 forms of sensory intake). Neither doxography nor doxology can serve as – nor substitute for – sound epistemology.

      Kant is right that we need a fundamentally ‘altered method of thinking’ (KdrV Bxviii, cf. A270, 676/B326, 704). Kant’s method of transcendental reflection is subtle, sophisticated and cannot be summarised here.15 Some of its key features may, however, be indicated. The first point is anti-Cartesian and anti-empiricist: Only due to the structure and proper functioning of sub-personal cognitive processes can we be at all conscious of our surroundings (perception), or be self-aware in and through our consciousness of our surroundings (apperception). Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason is still one of the most incisive and profoundly anti-Cartesian works in all philosophy; his methods as well as his substantive analyses invoke important and pervasive aspects of what is now called ‘externalism’. Consider in this regard that Gettier (1963) made the case against infallibilism – a preconception central to the issue of global perceptual scepticism, including Stroud’s – and for both fallibilism and externalism in epistemology. In so doing, however, Gettier’s analysis echoed Carnap’s distinction, made explicit in 1950, though central to his philosophy from at least 1928, between the methods of conceptual analysis and conceptual explication. Less familiar still is that Carnap’s (1950b, 1–18) distinction between these two methods marks the same distinction, in the same terms, and for very much the same reasons as did Kant (KdrV A727–30/B755–8).

      Devotés of empiricism, internalism or infallibilism generally concurred with Strawson’s (1966, 32) castigation of Kant’s account of sub-personal cognitive functions and processes as an entirely ‘imaginary subject’ of ‘transcendental psychology’. Guyer (1989) showed that Kant’s analysis of the sub-personal cognitive processing effected by transcendental power of imagination is necessary for any cognisant being who synthesises sensory information over time (in response to stimulation by spatio-temporal objects and events; cf. KdrV A139/B178, B298). In reply, Strawson (1989, 77) retracted his ‘somewhat rude’ castigation of Kant’s transcendental psychology. As noted above, in subsequent articles Strawson had greatly improved both the philosophical and the exegetical calibre of his Kantian account of perception. Andrew Brook (1994, 2016) has shown how very prescient Kant’s cognitive psychology is, by showing how very well it serves functionalist cognitive psychology and allied efforts in artificial intelligence.


      15See Wolff (1995, 2017), Longuenesse (1998), Westphal (2004), (2016b).

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      None of these epistemological advances or insights can result from conceptual analysis pure and simple. Instead, as both Kant and Carnap recognized, within non- formal domains we can at best aspire to cogent conceptual explication, where our conceptual explications (explicanda) must not only clarify their explicata; they must also improve upon their explicata within their original contexts of use. Ineluctably this invokes important elements of semantic as well as justificatory externalism. Because explicanda cannot be provided necessary and sufficient conditions for their correct use, they are in principle incomplete (or at least not known to be complete), and they are corrigible and revisable. Consequently, explicanda must be assessed in possible contexts of their actual use, not within merely imaginary contexts of their logically possible use! This, too, is part of realising our concepts and principles, to demonstrate that they have a legitimate use and meaning. Talk is cheap; cogent philosophical explication and justification must be earned.

      The ever-ready question from audiences or readers today, ‘But couldn’t s/he say

      …?’, in principle cannot count as a cogent critical question, unless and until so saying is shown to have a significant role within a cogent philosophical account of whatever topic is at issue. Yes, careful attention to what is stated, and what is not, is crucial, as is attention to valid and sound inference. However, these skills and strategies cannot suffice for cogent philosophising, which also requires probing and thinking through philosophical issues and problems systematically and in detail. Logical inferences alone do not constitute justificatory relations; we must also know which statements are to serve as premises for which others, and why. It should not be necessary to state so basic a point, but for the fact that it is ever more commonly ignored by ‘scholars’, ‘commentators’ and their ‘students’.

    2. Kant’s Phenomenological Commentators. Kant’s phenomenological commentators recognise much more readily Kant’s points about how our experiences and cognitive judgments are context- and occasion-specific. However, they tend to loose the specificity and the justificatory achievements of Kant’s analysis by engaging in purely descriptive – hence non-explanatory, non-justificatory – phenomenology; or by uncovering further (allegedly) necessary structures and conditions of our capacity to judge. Buchdahl (1992) realised that Kant meant something significant by using the term ‘realisieren’ (to realise), but mistakenly assimilated it to a broadly Husserlian framework of ontological reduction and realisation (Westphal 1998).

Though Husserl comments at length both on Hume’s and on Kant’s theories of perceptual knowledge, he is antecedently so convinced that he has gained profound new insights into human knowledge and its a priori transcendental principles and basis, that his purported „Phänomenologische Studie über Hume’s Abstractionstheorie“ – as he titles chapter 5 of his second logical investigation (Husserl 1901, §§32–39, + Anhang: 205–13) – is no phenomenological study of Hume’s views at all, but rather recites Husserl’s disagreements based upon his presumed greater insight into the relevant


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cognitive-experiential phenomena and their structure and character. Rather than phenomenological examination, the reader is offered a lengthy rejection by petitio principii. The same approach is taken in Husserl’s Formale und transzendentale Logik (1929), which concludes its sixth chapter (§§62, 99–100) by returning ‘from this historical-critical excursus to our main theme’ (1929, 235). His approach and attitude towards Hume, Kant and other predecessors is typified by his article ‘Phenomenology’ for the Encyclopaedia Britannica (14th ed.; Husserl 1927–28); and also by the same approach and attitude of his doctoral student, C.V. Salmon (1929), who wrote his dissertation on Book I of Hume’s Treatise, purporting to disclose The Central Problem of David Hume’s Philosophy.16

Husserl’s expositors continue to cite Husserl’s discussions of, e.g., Hume or Kant, referring to the master’s extended „Auseinandersetzungen“ with them in countless volumes of Husserliana, but take as little note as he of the cardinal distinction between a philosophical Auseinandersetzung and mere petitio principii. Husserl’s so-called ‘criticism’ of Kant’s or Hume’s views document Husserl’s dissatisfactions with them, his rejection of them and his differences with them. Nonetheless, all of his ‘critical’ remarks remain entirely external and as supremely self-confident as anything Quine wrote from his lofty extensionalist point of view (Westphal 2015). This is evident throughout the most detailed examination of Husserl’s relations to Kant, Kern’s (1964) Husserl und Kant (see esp. §§10–11). Even so sensitive and sensible a commentator as Dan Zahavi (2003, 108) neglects Kant’s rooting our discriminatory causal judgments (in part) in our bodily comportment, as does Smith (2003), though Smith’s Husserl and the Cartesian Meditations is exoteric and critical as well as expository, and pays rather better attention to Hume.

In sharp contrast to such discussions stand Meinong’s (1878, 1882) studies of Hume’s nominalism and theory of relations in Book I of the Treatise. Meinong’s massive articles – together, they are tantamount to a detailed monograph – belong to the very best scholarship on Hume’s theories of ideas and of relations. Regrettably, he neglects Hume’s porter, and devoted no comparable study to Kant’s theory of perceptual experience and knowledge.17

Gurwitsch (2009–10, 1:107–30; 2:140–7, 175–7) devotes significant attention to Hume’s theory of perception and of the identity of perceptible things, and notes some genuine difficulties with Hume’s account. Gurwitsch focusses on Hume’s model of the mind as a bundle of continually successive perceptions, but is more concerned with how those perceptions model the human mind and our experience of temporality, and neglects the problems they raise for Hume’s official empiricism (the Copy Theory,



16The much briefer doctoral dissertation by Sauer (1926) is no different in this regard, but merits no further attention here. Husserl’s (1902–03) lectures on epistemology do not improve on the situation documented here from his published writings.

17I have found none, and none is mentioned or suggested by Chrudzimski (2007).

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Concept Empiricism and the three ‘laws’ of psychological association). Consequently, Gurwitsch’s criticisms are less penetrating than Meinong’s, and likewise fail to capitalise upon Hume’s perplexing porter, and upon Kant’s reanalysis of those problems. Gurwitsch (2009–10, 2:172, 315–6) mistakenly ascribes to Kant a Humean view of sensory data, thus disregarding Kant’s sensationist account of sensations.18 He also neglects Kant’s discriminatory analysis of perceptual-causal judgments. These points are not improved in Gurwitsch (1957) or (1959), although in both he discusses the example of a house, his own study within it, and its location within its surrounding neighbourhood, yet he neglects Hume’s discoveries within his own study about his surroundings and the porter’s arrival, and also neglects Kant’s example of perceiving a house, in contrast to a ship sailing in a river.19 Gurwitsch (1990, 128–32) focuses solely upon Kant’s Second Analogy, and contends that Kant’s analysis fails to address the problems involved in any plurality of persons identifying one and the same spatio- temporal causal sequence or process, because Kant lacks an account of intentionality.

It must be said instead that Gurwitsch, too, failed to identify the integrity of the sole use of Kant’s three causal principles in the Analogies of Experience (per Guyer), and that only in connection with the Third Analogy do Kant’s principles of causal judgment refer – solely – to spatio-temporal objects, events, processes and phenomena. (On Kant’s account of intentionality, see Haag 2007.) In part this appears to result from Gurwitsch’s focus upon the Leibnizian backdrop to Kant’s account of transcendental unity of apperception, and a consequent, if perhaps inadvertent, emphasis upon Kant’s transcendental idealism to the neglect of Kant’s empirical realism. Perhaps Kant identified necessary, though insufficient a priori transcendental conditions of perceptual experience, judgment and knowledge (in particular, by not examining their transcendental, formal though material conditions), yet it is remarkable how Husserl, Gurwitsch and other phenomenological expositors fail to appreciate Hume’s and Kant’s insights and achievements, however incomplete they may have been.20

Heidegger’s engagement with Hume is early and indirect, mostly cast in terms of Hume’s later-day philosophical representatives (characteristic is Heidegger 1912). His interests are already differently focussed, towards what becomes his observation that the scandal of philosophy consists, not in the lack of proof of the external world (KdrV Bxxxix note), but in the continuing search for one (S&Z, §43a./205). In these years prior to Sein und Zeit (1927), Heidegger’s central concern is with standard philosophical


18According to sensationism (about sensations), sensations typically are components of acts of perceptual awareness of something in one’s surroundings, and only rarely are themselves objects of one’s self- conscious awareness. (Chisholm’s adverbial account of appearing is similar.)

19Gurwitsch’s example of perceiving a house: (1957 [2009–10, v. 3]), 495, 499; (1959), 421, 423–4, 431,

435. His editors, too, neglect Kant’s and Hume’s perceptive precedents.

20Sherover (1971) is centrally concerned with Kant’s central concern with temporality, but mentions Kant’s Analogies of Experience and Refutation of Idealism only in passing, and so neglects Kant’s detailed account of the causal judgments by which alone we are able to be aware of our own existence as determined in time.

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language, and its tendency to lull us into assuming that once we have the right concepts and theories, and the methods for using and justifying them, we can disregard the experiential circumstances out of which these philosophical resources grow and on which they continue tacitly to depend. Husserl’s constant concern with properly posing ‘the’ fundamental question of philosophy by discovering and devising ‘the’ best concepts, principles and domain of (allegedly transcendental) phenomena surely prompted Heidegger to ponder and probe the underpinnings of whatever problematic philosophers explicitly formulate and address. Early on, Heidegger characterised philosophical hermeneutics as not itself a philosophy, but rather as solely concerned with this question: „In welche führende Hinsicht ist das Gegenstandsfeld der Philosophie gestellt?“ (1923, 40)21; ‘In what leading regard is the domain and objective of philosophy posed and characterised?’. In this regard, Hume’s psychological treatment of ‘cause’ is more interesting to Heidegger for how Hume struggles to do justice to how this idea is used – as if relations between strictly (1:1) correlated impressions really were connections – within the dictates of Cartesian preconceptions about our human form of mindedness, our experience and the world we inhabit.22 Hume’s struggles are reiterated though not remedied by the turn-of-the-century Humeans Heidegger (1912) lists. Heidegger’s lectures on Kant’s Kritik der reinen Vernunft don’t examine Kant’s Principles of causal judgment closely (e.g.: 1935–36, §27), and so neglect what Guyer noted.

Analytical, phenomenological and historical-scholarly commentators chronically miss, and continue to miss, what Kant takes over from Tetens about ‘realising’ our concepts or principles by demonstrating that we can and do locate relevant instantiations of them; nor do they understand why Kant took over this concern.23 Consequently, they also typically err about what Kant means by the ‘real possibility’ of a concept, which is not that there might be such a thing as (e.g.) a purple guitar, though there was none when F.L. Will (1969, rpt.: 1997, 12–13) used this example; so far as this writer knows, only when the performer known as Prince ordered and purchased a flamboyantly purple guitar did the concept ‘purple guitar’ come to have ‘real possibility’ in Kant’s sense of this designation. Kant’s sense of ‘real possibility’ accords entirely with his use of Teten’s sense of realisiren and with his own sense of ‘objective validity’; each requires that we can in fact localise at least one relevant instance of the concept or principle in question (Bxxvi n., A137–8/B176–7, B301–2, B302–3, A581–2/B609–10). Kant

expressly warns against inferring from the logical possibility of a concept (its logical consistency) that this concept is also really possible (A596/B624n., A602/B630, cf. A720/B748).


21Cf. Heidegger (1923), 19–20, 49, 58–60; (1998), 15–16, 39, 46–8.

22These remarks on Heidegger result from correspondence with Bob Scharff, and some formulations come directly from his. Thanks again, Bob!

23My sole point here concerns an important oversight; I do not dismiss these authors’ positive

contributions (cf., e.g., Zahavi 2009).

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8 PHILOSOPHICAL SPECIALISATION & PHILOSOPHICAL OVERSIGHT.

This pervasive neglect (§7) of core issues and features of Kant’s account of discriminatory causal-perceptual judgment, and of Guyer’s (1987) landmark examination and defence of Kant’s account in those regards, apparently results from scholars thinking about what is said or written, without thinking through the problems addressed by those writings, in part by attending only to one formulation of them. In this important methodological and substantive regard, Nietzsche was right both about perception and about philosophical thinking:

There is only a perspective seeing, only a perspective ‘knowing’; and the more affects we allow to speak about one thing, the more eyes, various eyes, we know how to use observe the same thing, the more complete will our ‘concept’ of this thing, our ‘objectivity,’ be. (GM 3:12; cf. FW §295; EH 1:9)

Accordingly Nietzsche recommends training oneself to adopt a variety of perspectives:


… to see differently in the [vedantic or Kantian] way for once, to want to see differently, is no small training and preparation of the intellect for its eventual ‘objectivity’ – the latter understood not as ‘disinterested contemplation’ (which is absurd nonsense), but as the capacity to control one’s pro and contra and to shift them in and out, so that one knows how to make the diversity of perspectives and affective interpretations useful for knowing. (GM 3:12; cf. EH 1:1)24

No one philosopher, no one period, no one style or tradition of philosophy has a monopoly on any core philosophical issue. Serious study of contrasting or opposing analyses, approaches, methods or formulations is invaluable – as invaluable as it is ever more rare in a field that has fragmented itself into a myriad of (supposedly) mutually independent sub-specialties, schools, movements, problem-domains, their ever more specialised journals and their increasing mutual irrelevance. The consequences of these developments are ever more apparent in the growing cleft, in both quality and quantity, between the best philosophical research and that which is most topical – i.e., most discussed. For example, J.L. Austin, now widely regarded as a narrow philosopher of language, thought and wrote so cogently about philosophy of language because he advocated and himself pursued comprehensive study of philosophy and allied fields. (This I have learnt recently from one of his tutees, Graham Bird.)

The slogan that ‘sense determines reference’ has echoed down analytical folklore with undue consequences. Once detached from Frege’s own view of Sinne, and having rescinded aconceptual ‘knowledge by acquaintance’, the notion that ‘sense determines reference’ has lived on, explicitly or (much more often) implicitly as a descriptions theory of reference: a crucial enthymeme in Kuhn’s (1996, 101–2) strongest argument for paradigm incommensurability, and the target of Kripke’s (1980) withering criticism.


24Nietzsche’s perspectivist cognitivism is examined in Westphal (1984a, b).

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It is fine to use an explicit, fully articulated description to explicate the content of a sentence, statement, proposition or perhaps even an attitude. However, no such fully articulated description alone is either sufficient, nor necessary, to specify what any specific person said or thought on any particular occasion. Specifying his or her statement or thought requires specifying the particulars about which S/he thought or spoke on that occasion in those circumstances. As Donnellan (1966) noted, an inaccurate – hence a false – definite description can nevertheless be used successfully to refer to one or another particular, such as the teatotaller standing in the corner drinking water from a martini glass, whom the speaker successfully though incorrectly designates as ‘the man in the corner drinking a martini’. Frege (1892a, b) distinguished not only between ‘concept’ and ‘object’, but also between them both and any Sinn as a ‘mode of presentation’ (Art des Gegebenseins). His famous example of ‘the morning star’ and ‘the evening star’, by their linguistic designations, indicate perceptual circumstances in which Earthlings can regularly and reliably see one and the same heavenly body: Venus. Throughout his career, Quine remained committed to naïve set theory, neglecting its paradoxes, in order to maintain his naïve confidence that intension and extension – as the classificatory content of predicates and their possible instances (respectively) – suffice for any referential purposes required by his extensionalist point of view (delimited to purported ‘ontological comittement’). To the contrary, careful scrutiny of Quine’s semantics demonstrates that the one sentence the truth-value of which he refused to reconsider – the thesis of extensionalism itself – is false (Westphal 2015). Kant’s point against Leibniz’s ‘individual concepts’ also holds against Quine: whatever particular instances our predicates may possibly classify – and in this sense alone, which they may possibly designate – does not suffice for any actual reference to any actual individuals, much less does it suffice for our localising any individuals which happen to instantiate the predicate(s) used in our claims, propositions or attitudes so as to be able to judge or to know anything about them. Localising particulars requires specifying in context the determinable concepts ‘space’, ‘time’ and ‘individual’, so as to delimit (sufficiently, if approximately) the region(s) occupied by those particulars (or by that particular). Exactly in this regard Kaplan argued that it belongs to the ‘character’ of our use of demonstrative expressions to map a designated region or individual into the context and content of what S/omeone says or thinks. In just these semantic and cognitive regards Kant’s Thesis of Singular Cognitive Reference joins philosophical forces with Austin (1950), Donnellan, Evans, Kripke, Travis (2000, 2006, 2008, 2013), Wettstein (2004) – and Hegel (1807), who argued for Kant’s Thesis of Singular Cognitive Reference by strictly internal reductio ad absurdum of both aconceptual ‘knowledge by acquaintance’ and of reference to particulars merely by description in the first chapter of his Phenomenology of Spirit – with no appeal to Kant’s transcendental idealism, nor to any comparable view (Westphal 2010b). By working out the cognitive-semantic conditions we must satisfy in order to ‘realise’ any of our concepts (in Tetens’ sense), Kant established that mere conceivability – i.e., mere logical consistency – establishes no more than a conceptual possibility, though not even


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a candidate cognition. In this way, Kant achieved the key aim of verificationism, on cognitive-semantic (referential) grounds, without invoking meaning- or concept- verificationism. (This decisive, incisive way of determining (specifying) which of our thoughts or ideas are candidate cognitions, or instead are cognitive empty, is neglected both by Unger 2014 and by Williamson 2015.)

In re-thinking Hume’s problem about understanding his own beliefs about the porter who delivered him a letter in his upper-storey apartment (T 1.2.4.2), Kant recognised the transcendental significance – the transcendental presuppositions – of making the kinds of causal discriminations Hume obviously made in situ, in fact, and in truth – which he reported accurately, but could not understand on the basis of his own empiricist principles (cf. R.P. Wolff 1960). 25 Understanding Kant’s Kritik der reinen Vernuft requires carefully distinguishing what we can experience, think, judge and say within our ordinary self-conscious experience of the world, from what we can think, judge and determine in transcendental reflection about the a priori necessary conceptual and intuitive (sensory) conditions which alone enable us to experience any of the world apperceptively (self-consciously). Nevertheless, Kant’s guides to transcendental reflection are the structures of our worldly experience; he expressly links the empirical and the transcendental levels of analysis in the Second Analogy (B253–6).26 We can understand, appreciate and assess Kant’s analysis, and especially his analysis and arguments in the Analogies of Experience, by taking very seriously Beck’s (1975, 24) observation that ‘the necessary conditions for what Hume knows are the sufficient conditions for what Kant knows’ – centrally: what Hume knows about sorting out sequences within his experiences from the sequences of the events and objects he experienced, and his de facto capacity to identify the later when prompted by the former, as when the porter delivered his letter, is sufficient to show that Hume’s official empiricist principles are insufficient to account for our commonsense capacity to judge what we experience accurately and justifiedly, and to show that Kant’s analysis of our discriminatory causal judgments is correct (at least to this extent). To understand and to assess Kant’s analysis requires integrating both his principled analysis and his realisation of his analysis in concreto in our typical and typically reliable capacities to distinguish and to identify – that is, to discriminate – various kinds of causal sequences



25I do not claim Kant read this section of Hume’s Treatise; rather, Kant recognised that in principle any strictly empiricist account of sense impressions can provide no basis for distinguishing between the

always-successive order of sensory, experiential intake and any (putatively) objective order of (relatively) stable states of affairs and changes in locations or features of (relatively) stable perceptible objects.

26In this passage, he also links the transcendental level of his analysis to transcendental idealism; this, I have argued in detail in my (2004), he did not need to do. Husserl contends that Kant was mired in psychologism. I submit that Husserl failed to understand Kant’s very sophisticated, parallel analyses of our transcendental power of judgment and the a priori transcendental conditions which must be satisfied for us to use our fundamental concepts and principles in actual (if putative) cognitive judgments about spatio-temporal particulars. (Yes, I submit that my (2004) understands Kant’s Kritik der reinen Vernunft better than Husserl did.)

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and processes amongst the perceptible, causally interacting particulars surrounding us. This is central to understanding the dual status of Kant’s integrated principles of causal judgment in the Analogies of Experience, that they regulate our causal judgments, and were it so to happen that we could make no such causal discriminations and identifications accurately and justifiedly, we would altogether lack apperception of our own existence ‘as determined in time’, i.e., as it merely appearing to us that some events appear to occur before, during or after others. That is the constitutive point in Kant’s Analogies of Experience. 27 These cognitive-semantic points have far-reaching implications, not only for philosophy of language and epistemology, but also for philosophy of mind and for theory of action (Westphal 2016c, 2017b, 2017c). Outside pure axiomatics, conceptual clarity is necessary, though not at all sufficient for any real cognitive use, nor for substantive philosophical results. In precisely this regard, much of contemporary analytic metaphysics rejoins pre-Critical rationalist metaphysics, as no more than ‘mere groping, and worst of all, amongst mere concepts’ (KdrV Bxv).

Needless controversy about whether Kant aimed to respond to Hume’s problem of induction persists today (cf. De Pierris and Friedman, 2013, §2). Yes, Kant argues (soundly, I argue in my 2004) that any world in which we can be so much as aware that some appearances to us seem to occur before, during or after others, is a world exhibiting a sufficient minimum of perceptibly identifiable causal interaction amongst individuals so that we can identify some of them and distinguish them from ourselves. Kant further argues that causal relations hold amongst individuals belonging to types. Those demonstrations, however, by design entail nothing about whether, how often nor for how long any type of causal relation recurs within nature, nor within our experience(s). They also entail nothing about our knowledge, justified belief or surmise about any specific types of causal relations or causal laws. As for ‘knowledge of the future’, this is a misnomer: expectations we have aplenty, but there is nothing to be known – neither is there anything about which to err – unless and until it occurs. This basic constraint on any empirical knowledge is justified by Kant’s semantics of cognitive reference. That Kant claims to have solved ‘the Humean problem’ regarding our ‘entire capacity of of pure reason’ (Prol., GS 4:260) neither states nor requires that this domain includes the problem of induction; indeed, in principle it cannot be so included because it is no issue of pure reason. The following three principles concern causality and causal relations:

‘Each event has a (sufficient, total) cause’.

‘Each specific kind of event has its specific kind of (sufficient, total) cause’. ‘Some specific kinds of (sufficient) causal relations are instantiated repeatedly’.

None of those causal principles, individually or conjointly, can or does address the following epistemological or empirical claims:

‘We can (or do) know that each event has a (sufficient, total) cause’.


27For concise discussion, see Westphal (2016a, b).

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‘We can (or do) know that some specific kinds of event each has its specific kind of (sufficient, total) cause’.

‘Some specific kinds of (sufficient) causal relations are instantiated repeatedly within human experience’.

‘We can (or do) know that some specific kinds of causal relations are instantiated repeatedly’.

‘We can (or do) know that some specific kinds of causal relations which evidently have been instantiated repeatedly shall continue to be so instantiated indefinitely into the future’. Hume’s ‘problem of induction’ is epistemological, not causal; ‘causal’ relations may be (causally) necessary, exceptionless causal laws – but their existence, instantiation or occurrence does not underwrite our beliefs about them in any way which justifies our claiming to know, demonstratively or justifiedly, that they are exceptionless causal necessities or causal laws in whatever (im)precise form they are formulated by us. For sound Critical reasons Kant was a fallibilist about cognitive justification across the empirical domain, regarding instances, classifications (kinds) and natural laws. More directly: causal and classificatory principles are used to formulate (candidate) cognitive claims, but the cognitive significance of such principles so used pertains to those instances or classes of individuals so judged. The intension of the principles we use may be unrestrictedly universal, but their intension alone cannot and does not determine (specify) the scope of any knowledge we may acquire by using those principles in cognitive judgments. These are direct corollaries to Kant’s semantics of singular cognitive reference (above, §4). Perhaps the nature of nature – or the natures of chemicals – may not change over time; nothing we can know suffices to justify the judgment (nor the surmise) that the nature of nature, or the natures of chemicals, cannot change over time. This no sceptical conclusion; it is merely sceptical about mistaking the scope of mere conceptual intension for the scope of cognitive reference, and so of empirical knowledge. Understanding empirical knowledge requires distinguishing the unrestricted scope of mere conceptual intension (classificatory content) from the actual scope of knowledge of those particulars or kinds (including processes and causal relations) known to humankind. In principle, epistemology requires richer resources than are provided by the analysis of propositions, mental content or philosophy of language. These latter studies may augment epistemology, but cannot substitute for it

(cf. Westphal 2016c, 2017c).


9 CONCLUSION.

When I met Sir Peter Strawson in 1999, well after his further development of Kant’s epistemological insights noted above, he emphatically re-affirmed his original assessment of Kant’s contributions to epistemology:

… the Transcendental Deduction, the Analogies, and the Refutation [of Idealism] together establish important general conclusions. … the fulfilment of the fundamental conditions of the possibility of self-consciousness, of self-ascription of experiences, seems to be necessary to any concept of experience which can be of interest to us, …


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Kant’s genius nowhere shows itself more clearly than in his identification of the most fundamental of these conditions in its most general form: viz., the possibility of distinguishing between a temporal order of subjective perceptions and an order and arrangement which objects of those perceptions independently possess – a unified and enduring framework of relations between constituents of an objective world. … These are very great and novel gains in epistemology, so great and so novel that, nearly two hundred years after they were made, they still have not been fully absorbed into the philosophical consciousness. (Strawson 1966, 28–9).


To achieve his insights Kant developed ‘a changed method of thinking’ (KdrV Bxviii, cf. A270, 676/B326, 704; cf. Rosenberg 2005, Bird 2006). Kant is right that our typical Cartesian-empiricist presumptions require fundamental overhaul and replacement; to this Watson (1881) remains germane. By design I have cited almost no recent literature; Kant’s texts and insights, and those of his most able commentators – none of their letters purloined – have been open to public view and review, occluded only by the misleading habits and expectations of his readers. Innovations and insights can only be identified, and can only be assessed, by comprehending what our predecessors and contemporaries have achieved. As Kant noted regarding romantic genius (KdU §50), the problem with ‘originality’ is that it may be original nonsense. The dearth of methodological care and critical self-assessment now accepted in the field does us no credit.28

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