COMPLETO_2019_1


Con-Textos Kantianos

International Journal of Philosophy

CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS.

International Journal of Philosophy

N.o 9, Junio 2019, pp. i-iii

ISSN: 2386-7655



Equipo editorial / Editorial Team


Editor Principal / Main Editor

Equipo editorial / Editorial Team


Editor Principal / Main Editor


Roberto R. Aramayo, Instituto de Filosofía, CSIC, España


Secretaria de redacción / Executive Secretary


Nuria Sánchez Madrid, UCM, España


Editores Asociados / Associated Editors

Editores Asociados / Associated Editors


Maria Julia Bertomeu, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas / Universidad de La Plata, Argentina

Catalina González, Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia

Eduardo Molina, Univ. Alberto Hurtado, Chile

Efraín Lazos, IIF-UNAM, México

Maria Julia Bertomeu, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas / Universidad de La Plata, Argentina

Catalina González, Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia

Eduardo Molina, Univ. Alberto Hurtado, Chile

Efraín Lazos, IIF-UNAM, México


Editores de reseñas / Book Review Editors

Editores de reseñas / Book Review Editors


Pablo Muchnik, Emerson College, Estados Unidos

Margit Ruffing, Universidad de Mainz, Alemania

Ileana Beade, Universidad Nacional del Rosario, Argentina Marceline Morais, Cégep Saint Laurent, Montréal, Canadá Antonino Falduto, Univ. de Halle, Alemania

Cinara Nahra, UFRN, Brasil

Pablo Muchnik, Emerson College, Estados Unidos

Margit Ruffing, Universidad de Mainz, Alemania

Ileana Beade, Universidad Nacional del Rosario, Argentina Marceline Morais, Cégep Saint Laurent, Montréal, Canadá Antonino Falduto, Univ. de Halle, Alemania

Cinara Nahra, UFRN, Brasil

Editora de noticias / Newsletter Editor


Ana-Carolina Gutiérrez-Xivillé, Philipps-Universität Marburg / Universidad de Barcelona, España


Consejo Editorial / Editorial Board

Consejo Editorial / Editorial Board


Juan Arana, Universidad de Sevilla, España

Rodolfo Arango, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia Sorin Baiasu, Universidad de Keele, Reino Unido Aylton Barbieri Durâo, UFSC, Brasil

Ileana Beade, Universidad Nacional del Rosario, Argentina Vadim Chaly, Univ. Federal Báltica I. Kant, Federación de Rusia Angelo Cicatello, Universidad de Palermo, Italia

Alix A. Cohen, Universidad de Edimburgo, Reino Unido

Silvia Del Luján Di Sanza, Universidad de San Martín, Argentina

Francesca Fantasia, Univ. de Palermo/Univ. de Halle, Italia

Juan Arana, Universidad de Sevilla, España

Rodolfo Arango, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia Sorin Baiasu, Universidad de Keele, Reino Unido Aylton Barbieri Durâo, UFSC, Brasil

Ileana Beade, Universidad Nacional del Rosario, Argentina Vadim Chaly, Univ. Federal Báltica I. Kant, Federación de Rusia Angelo Cicatello, Universidad de Palermo, Italia

Alix A. Cohen, Universidad de Edimburgo, Reino Unido

Silvia Del Luján Di Sanza, Universidad de San Martín, Argentina

Francesca Fantasia, Univ. de Palermo/Univ. de Halle, Italia


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CTK 9


Luca Fonnesu, Universidad de Pavía, Italia

Roe Fremstedal, University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway, Noruega

Jesús González Fisac, Universidad de Cádiz, España

Caroline Guibet-Lafaye, CNRS, Francia Ricardo Gutiérrez Aguilar, IFS-CSIC, España Ana-Carolina Gutiérrez-Xivillé, España

Claudia Jáuregui, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina

Mai Lequan, Universidad de Lyon III, Francia

Reidar Maliks, Universitetet i Oslo, Noruega

Macarena Marey, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina Pablo Muchnik, Emerson College, Estados Unidos Faustino Oncina, Universidad de Valencia, España

Pablo Oyarzún, Universidad de Chile, Chile

Ricardo Parellada, UCM, España

Alice Pinheiro Walla, Trinity College Dublin, Irlanda Hernán Pringe, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina Faviola Rivera, IIF-UNAM, México

Concha Roldán, IFS-CSIC, España

Rogelio Rovira, UCM, España

Manuel Sánchez Rodríguez, Universidad de Granada, España

Konstantinos Sargentis, University of Crete, Grecia

Thomas Sturm, Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, España Pedro Jesús Teruel, Universidad de Valencia, España Marcos Thisted, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina Gabriele Tomasi, Università degli Studi di Padova, Italia Salví Turró, Universidad de Barcelona, España

Milla Vaha, Univ. of Turku, Finlandia

Astrid Wagner, TU-Berlín, Alemania

Sandra Zakutna, Univ. de Presov, Eslovaquia

Consejo Asesor / Advisory Board

Lubomir Bélas, Univ. de Presov, Eslovaquia

Juan Adolfo Bonaccini, Universidad Federal de Pernambuco, Brasil †

Reinhard Brandt, Universidad de Marburgo, Alemania Mario Caimi, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina María José Callejo, UCM, España

Monique Castillo, Universidad de París XII-Créteil, Francia

Jesús Conill, Universidad de Valencia, España

Adela Cortina, Universidad de Valencia, España

Robinson dos Santos, Universidad Federal de Pelotas, Brasil

Bernd Dörflinger, Universidad de Trier, Alemania

Vicente Durán, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana de Bogotá, Colombia

Mariannina Failla, Univ. de Roma Tre, Italia Jean Ferrari, Universidad de Bourgogne, Francia Miguel Giusti, PUPC, Perú

Wilson Herrera, Universidad del Rosario, Colombia

CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS

ii International Journal of Philosophy

N.o 9, Junio 2019, pp. i-iii

ISSN: 2386-7655

Equipo editor / Editorial Team


Luís Eduardo Hoyos, Universidad Nacional, Colombia

Heiner Klemme, Universidad de Mainz, Alemania

Andrey Krouglov, Univ. Federal Báltica I. Kant, Federación de Rusia

Claudio La Rocca, Universidad de Genova, Italia

Salvador Mas, UNED, España

Javier Muguerza, UNED, España

Lisímaco Parra, Universidad Nacional, Colombia

Antonio Pérez Quintana, Universidad de La Laguna, España

Carlos Pereda, UNAM, México Alessandro Pinzani, UFSC, Brasil Pedro Ribas, UAM, España

Jacinto Rivera de Rosales, UNED, España

Begoña Román, Universidad de Barcelona, España Margit Ruffing, Universidad de Mainz, Alemania Sergio Sevilla, Universidad de Valencia, España Pedro Stepanenko, IIF, UNAM, México

Ricardo Terra, USP, Brasil

Alberto Vanzo, University of Warwick, Reino Unido

María Jesús Vázquez Lobeiras, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, España

José Luís Villacañas, UCM, España


CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS

International Journal of Philosophy

N.o 9, Junio 2019, pp. i-iii ISSN: 2386-7655


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CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS.

International Journal of Philosophy

N.o 9, Junio 2019, pp. 1-4

ISSN: 2386-7655


SUMARIO / TABLE OF CONTENTS


[ES / EN] «Equipo editor» / «Editorial Team» pp. i-iii


[ES / EN] «Sumario» / «Table of contents» pp. 1-4


[ES] «Editorial de CTK 9», Roberto R. Aramayo (Instituto de Filosofia / CSIC, España)

p. 5


[EN] «CTK 9 Editorial Note», Roberto R. Aramayo (Institute of Philosophy / CSIC, Spain)

p. 6


ARTÍCULOS / ARTICLES


[FR] «La déduction transcendantale dans les Prolégomènes et le problème de l´idéalisme»,

Paulo R. Licht dos Santos (Universidade Federal de Sâo Carlos/CNPq, Brésil) pp. 7-22


[EN] «The Understanding in Transition: Fascicles X, XI and VII of Opus postumum», Terrence Thomson (CRMEP, Kingston University, UK)

pp. 23-48


[ES] «Fuerzas, facultades y formas a priori en Kant», Eugenio Moya (Universidad de Murcia, España)

pp. 49-71


[EN] «Kant’s anthropological study of memory», Héctor Luis Pacheco Acosta (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, España)

pp. 72-96


[IT] «La necessità del gusto e il sensus communis kantiano. A partire da alcune recenti letture», Federico Rampinini (Università degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata”, Italia)

pp. 97-122


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CTK 9


[EN] «Freedom and Bonds in Kant», Almudena Rivadulla Durán (Universidad de Navarra, Spain)

pp. 123-136


[EN] «Kant’s Analogy between the Moral Law and the Law of Nature, Manja Kisner

(Ludwig Maximilian University, Germany) pp. 137-153


[EN] «The Reddish, Iron-Rust Color of the Native Americans. Immanuel Kant’s Racism in Context», Joris van Gorkom (Independent Researcher, Germany)

pp. 154-177


[EN] «Philosophical Grounding For the Moral Law: In Defense of Kant’s Factum der Vernunft (Fact of Reason)», Daniel Paul Dal Monte (Temple University, USA)

pp. 178-195


[ES] «Lo incondicionado e irrestricto en Kant o del valor de una buena voluntad», Yohan Molina (Universidad Central de Venezuela, Venezuela)

pp. 196-219


[EN] « Humanity as a Duty to Oneself», Sunday Adeniyi Fasoro (Technical University of Berlin, Germany)

pp. 220-237


[ES] «Perdón, impunidad y el difícil concierto de deberes», Franklin Ibáñez (Universidad del Pacífico, Perú)

pp. 238-251


[ES] «Conocimiento y donación entre Rickert y Heidegger», Stefano Cazzanelli

(Universidad Francisco de Vitoria, España) pp. 252-273


[EN] «The Kantian Background to Cassirer’s Political Commitment and Its Parallelisms with Kant’s Republicanism and Support of the French Revolution», Roberto R. Aramayo (Instituto de Filosofía del CSIC, Spain)

pp. 274-292


[EN] «Animality and Rationality (On how John McDowell’s Kantian view of moral experience could accommodate research on emotion)», Sofia Miguens (University of Porto, Portugal)


CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS

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N.o 9, Junio 2019, pp. 1-4

ISSN: 2386-7655

Sumario /Table of Contents



pp. 293-308


[IT] «Vita come scopo, scopo della vita: riflessioni sui §§ 79-84 della Critica del Giudizio», Luigi Imperato (Università degli Studi di Napoli “Federico II”, Italia)

pp. 309-331


NOTAS Y DISCUSIONES

«Kant, el (no)-conceptualismo y los juicios de gusto» / NOTES AND DISCUSSIONS

«Kant, (non)-Conceptualism and Judgments of Taste»


[ES] «Kant, el (no)-conceptualismo y los juicios de gusto. Introducción a una discusión»,

Matías Oroño (Univ. Buenos Aires, Argentina) pp. 332-333


[ES] «Comentario al artículo “El (no)-conceptualismo de Kant y los juicios de gusto” de Matías Oroño», Silvia del Luján di Sanza (Univ. San Martín, Argentina)

pp. 334-343


[ES] «La persistencia de los conceptos. Un comentario sobre una objeción de Matías Oroño a Dietmar Heidemann», Pedro Stepanenko (UNAM, México)

pp. 344-350


[ES] «Kant y el no conceptualismo», Luciana Martínez (Univ. de Buenos Aires/CONICET, Argentina)

pp. 351-362


[ES] «El conceptualismo de Kant: una lectura del juicio de gusto. Respuesta a mis críticos», Matías Oroño (Univ. Buenos Aires, Argentina)

pp. 363-375


CRÍTICA DE LIBROS / BOOK REVIEWS


[EN] «Epistemic and Ontological Value of the Ideas and Principles of Reason», Lara Scaglia (Univ. Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain). Review of: Meer, R., Der transzendentale Grundsatz der Vernunft. Funktion und Struktur des Anhangs zur Transzendentalen Dialektik der Kritik der reinen Vernunft, Berlin/Boston, De Gruyter, 2018.

pp. 376-378


[ES] «¿Derivación lógica o prueba jurídica? Sobre el sentido kantiano de la Deducción Trascendental de las categorías», Alberto López López (UCM, España). Reseña de:


CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS

International Journal of Philosophy

N.o 9, Diciembre 2019, pp. 1-4 3

ISSN: 2386-7655


CTK 9


Schulting, D.: Kant’s deduction from apperception. An essay on the trascendental deduction of the categories, Berlin/Boston, De Gruyter, 2019.

pp. 379-383


[ES] «¿Qué espacio deja, si es que deja alguno, la filosofía de Kant a la teología?», Guillermo López Morlanes (UCM, España). Reseña de: Chris L. Firestone, Nathan A. Jacobs, James H. Joiner (eds.), Kant and the Question of Theology, Nueva York, Cambridge University Press, 2017.

pp. 384-388


[ES] «Interés por el desinterés en la Crítica del juicio estético», Guillermo López Tirado (UCM, España). Reseña de: Fan, D., Die Problematik der Interesselosigkeit bei Kant. Eine Studie zur »Kritik der ästhetischen Urteilskraft«, Berlin, De Gruyter, 2018

pp. 389-393


[ES] «Las Lecciones de Metafísica como clave de interpretación de la evolución del pensamiento kantiano», Alba Jiménez Rodríguez / Alberto Morán Roa (UCM, España). Reseña de: Courtney D. Fugate (ed.), Kant’s Lectures on Metaphysics. A Critical Guide, Cambridge Critical Guides, Cambridge University Press, 2018.

pp. 394-401


[ES] «Legalidad y síntesis: una apropiación sistemática de la filosofía kantiana desde la Teoría de la Normatividad», José Ramón Suárez Villalba (UCM, España). Reseña de: K. Pollok, Kant’s Theory of Normativity. Exploring the Space of Reason, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2017.

pp. 402-406


Listado de evaluadores /Reviewers’ List p. 407


Normas editoriales para autores / Editorial Guidelines for Authors pp. 408-411



CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS

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N.o 9, Junio 2019, pp. 1-4

ISSN: 2386-7655

CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS.

International Journal of Philosophy

N.o 9, Junio 2019, p. 5 ISSN: 2386-7655


Editorial CTK 9


Con el próximo número Con-Textos Kantianos cumplirá cinco años, dado que su número cero vio la luz en Noviembre de 2014. Esperamos recuperar para entonces algunas secciones como las de Textos Kantianos, Entrevistas y Conversaciones, que no pueden salir en todos los números. Sin embargo CTK 9 presenta un total de dieciséis artículos (uno en francés, dos en italiano, cuatro en español y nueve en inglés). En el apartado de Discusiones se recogen cinco trabajos en español sobre “Kant, el (no)-conceptualismo y los juicios de gusto”. El número se cierra con seis reseñas.


Las diversas iniciativas vinculadas a este proyecto editorial siguen desplegándose a buen ritmo, como demuestran los anuales Encuentros internacionales CTK, cuya cuarta edición tendrá lugar muy pronto en México –en el marco del V. Congreso Iberoamericano de Filosofía-, gracias a los buenos oficios de Efraín Lazos y Julia Muñoz, tras los celebrados con anterioridad en Bogotá (Colombia), Madrid (España) y Santiago de Chile, organizados respectivamente por Catalina González en la Universidad de Los Andes, Roberto R. Aramayo y Nuria Sánchez Madrid en el Instituto de Filosofía del CSIC, Pablo Oyarzun, Luis Eduardo Molina y Luis Placencia en la Universidad de Chile. O como testimonia igualmente la creación de la RIKEPS (https://kantrikeps.es), la Red Iberoamericana Kant, Ética, Política y Sociedad que coordina Nuria Sánchez Madrid (Dpto. Filosofía y Sociedad, UCM) y que celebrará su primer congreso del 26 al 28 de noviembre del presente año en la Facultad de Filosofía de la UCM.


Por otra parte, la Biblioteca Digital de Estudios Kantianos CTK E-Books continúa incrementando sus títulos y es muy posible que su catálogo acoja muy pronto una cuarta serie llamada Aetas Kantiana, que se sume a las tres ya existentes Dialectica Kantiana, Hermeneutica Kantiana y Translatio Kantiana: https://ctkebooks.net


Roberto R. Aramayo Editor principal de CTK

Junio 2019


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CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS.

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CTK 9 Editorial Note


The journal CTK will complete soon five years of life, since the issue 0 was released in November 2014. We aim to retrieve for that ephemerid sections as Kant’s Texts, Interviews and Conversations, which it is difficult to produce for every issue of this periodical. CTK 9 offers sixteen articles (one in French, two in Italian, four in Spanish and nine in English). The section Notes and Discussions contains five papers in Spanish on the subject “Kant, non-Conceptualism and the Judgments of Taste”. The issue closes with six reviews.


The many initiatives stemming from this publishing project go further with good rhythm, as show the CTK International Meetings, whose fourth edition will be held very soon in Mexico hosted by Efraín Lazos and Julia Muñoz, within the framework of the Fifth Iberoamerican Philosophy Congress. The previous CTK International Meetings were held in Bogota (Columbia), Madrid (Spain) and Santiago de Chile (Chile), respectively organized by Catalina González at Los Andes University, Roberto R. Aramayo and Nuria Sánchez Madrid at the Institut of Philosophy of CSIC, Pablo Oyarzun, Luis Eduardo Molina and Luis Placencia at University of Chile. Another key endeavour tied to CTK is the launch of RIKEPS (https://kantrikeps.es), the Iberoamerican Network “Kant: Ethics, Politics and Society”, coordinated by Nuria Sánchez Madrid (Dpt. Philosophy and Society, UCM), whose First Congress will be held the next 26th-28th November 2019 at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University Complutense of Madrid.


Moreover, the Digital Library of Kantian Studies (CTK E-Books), keeps enlarging the volumes of its three series. Soon will be added a new series, called Aetas Kantiana, which is expected to enrich the three already available: Dialectica Kantiana, Hermeneutica Kantiana y Translatio Kantiana: https://ctkebooks.net.


Roberto R. Aramayo Editor-in-Chief

June 2019


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CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS.

International Journal of Philosophy

N.o 9, Junio 2019, pp. 7-22

ISSN: 2386-7655

Doi: 10.5281/zenodo.3250375


La déduction transcendantale dans les Prolégomènes

et le problème de l´idéalisme


The Transcendental Deduction in the Prolegomena and the Problem of Idealism


PAULO R. LICHT DOS SANTOS

Universidade Federal de São Carlos - CNPq – Brésil


Résumé

Je me propose d'examiner les paragraphes 18 et 19 de la deuxième partie des Prolégomènes. Bien que ces deux paragraphes ne constituent pas l'intégralité de la déduction transcendantale des Prolégomènes, ils ont une fonction essentielle dans la mesure où ils exposent l’argument entier in nuce. Ces deux sections établissent de façon claire que la doctrine de l'idéalisme critique, présentée dans la première partie des Prolégomènes comme un idéalisme qui ne supprime pas « l'existence de la chose qui apparaît », joue un rôle indispensable dans la déduction transcendantale, qui est présentée dans la deuxième partie à partir de la distinction entre jugement de perception et jugement d'expérience.


Mots clés

Déduction transcendantale, jugement de perception, jugement d’expérience, idéalisme transcendantal, réalisme.


Abstract

I examine sections 18 and 19 of the second part of Kant’s Prolegomena. Although these two sections do not constitute the entire Transcendental Deduction in this work, they are strategic to understand it, offering the core of the whole argument. In particular, they make it clear that the





[Recibido: 30 de marzo de 2019

Aceptado: 14 de abril de 2019]


Paulo R. Licht dos Santos


doctrine of critical idealism, presented in the first part of the Prolegomena as an idealism that does not nullify "the existence of the thing that appears", plays a significant role within the transcendental deduction, discussed in the second part of this work from the distinction between judgment of perception and judgment of experience.


Key words

Transcendental deduction, judgment of perception, judgment of experience, transcendental idealism, realism.


Introduction : la déduction transcendantale dans les Prolégomènes et le problème de l'idéalisme critique


Kant déclare, dans les Prolégomènes, qu’il est pleinement satisfait de la Critique de la raison pure « en ce qui concerne le contenu, l’ordre, la méthode et le soin accordés à chaque proposition [...] » (Prol, AA 04 : 381). Kant avoue, cependant, son insatisfaction à l'égard de l’exposé de la Critique : « [...] en quelques sections de la théorie des éléments, par exemple dans la déduction des concepts de l'entendement ou dans la section qui traite des paralogismes de la raison pure, mon exposé ne me satisfait pas tout à fait parce qu'une certaine prolixité y fait tort à la distinction » (Prol, AA 04 : 381).1 Pour contourner le problème de l’exposé à la fois de la déduction transcendantale et des paralogismes, Kant recommande au lecteur de « leur substituer pour en faire la base de l’examen ce que les présents Prolégomènes disent à propos de ces sections » (Prol, AA 04 : 381). Cependant, malgré cette recommandation, Kant n’indique pas où le lecteur pourrait la trouver dans les Prolégomènes. En fait, il n'y a ni paragraphe dont le titre pourrait nous l’indiquer ni indication exacte de l'endroit où elle se situe.2 En général, il est admis que la déduction transcendantale dans les Prolégomènes se situe dans la deuxième partie du problème capital de la philosophie transcendantale, intitulée : « Comment la science pure de la nature est-elle possible ? ».3 Toutefois, il n'y a pas de consensus parmi les interprètes de Kant sur son emplacement exact.4 On peut faire valoir pourtant qu'elle se situe aux paragraphes §18 à 20 de la deuxième partie des Prolégomènes.5 Je me propose d'examiner seulement deux


1 J'utilise ici la traduction de Guillermit des Prolégomènes, sauf à deux endroits que j'indique aux notes.

2 Cf. “[...] le texte des Prolégomènes marque une suite continue, dont aucun appareil externe ne nous montre les articulations […]” (de Vleeschauwer, 1976, II, p. 442).

3 Cf. Vleeschauwer, 1976, II, pp. 443 -471; Guyer, 1987, 99-102; Allison, 2015, pp. 289-306;

4 Selon Vleeschauwer, « les §§ 18 à 22 renferment la nouvelle déduction transcendantale [...] » (1976, II, p.

454. Pour lui, cependant, « le § 20 contient la déduction principielle ou la réponse à la question : Comment le jugement d’expérience est-il objectivement valable ? » (Vleeschauwer, 1976, II, 454). Guyer n'est pas explicitement concerné par cette question. Il affirme cependant que la prémisse la plus fondamentale de la déduction transcendantale des Prolégomènes se trouverait dans le § 22. Les § 18 et § 19, à leur tour, chercheraient à exploiter cette prémisse dans le contexte spécifique de la distinction entre jugement de perception et jugement d'expérience. Selon ces indications, donc, la déduction transcendantale dans les Prolégomènes serait pour Guyer aux § 18, § 19 et § 22 (Guyer 1987, pp. 99-100). Allison considère, toutefois, que «§18-§20 constitute a coherent line of argument, whereas § 21 corresponds to the Metaphysical Deduction in the Critique [...] ». (Allison 2015, p. 292, n. 11).

5 Je suis donc les indications d'Allison (cf. ci-dessus, note 4).

CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS

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N.o 9, Junio 2019, pp. 7-22

ISSN: 2386-7655

Doi: 10.5281/zenodo.3250375

La déduction transcendantale dans les Prolégomènes


paragraphes, les 18 et 19. Bien que ces deux paragraphes ne constituent pas l’intégralité de la déduction transcendantale, ils permettent d’en comprendre les enjeux, en offrant au lecteur l’argument entier in nuce. Ces deux paragraphes posent de façon claire la question de savoir si la doctrine de l'idéalisme critique, présentée dans la première partie des Prolégomènes, joue un rôle significatif au sein de la déduction transcendantale. Ce problème, loin d'être secondaire, est suscité à la fois (1) par la stratégie argumentative générale des Prolégomènes et (2) par la controverse de Kant contre Garve qui occupe une partie significative de cet ouvrage.6 Il est donc nécessaire d’examiner ces deux raisons avant même d’analyser la déduction transcendantale proposée par les Prolégomènes.


  1. La stratégie argumentative des Prolégomènes : la compréhension synoptique


    Dans les Prolégomènes, Kant reconnaît que l'étendue et la complexité de la Critique de la raison pure entraînent une « certaine obscurité », ce qui « empêche de bien embrasser d'un coup d'œil [übersehen] les points principaux » de la recherche (Prol, AA 04:261).7 La tâche principale des Prolégomènes est donc de présenter de manière plus claire et concise non seulement le plan général de la Critique, mais aussi l'articulation de ses parties selon ce plan : « (...) embrasser l'ensemble de cette science [das Ganze zu übersehen], de vérifier un à un les points principaux et d'améliorer certains détails d'exposition » (Prol, AA 04:263).8 Pour effectuer cette tâche, Kant change de méthode de recherche. Au lieu de la méthode progressive ou synthétique de la première Critique, Kant utilise la méthode régressive ou analytique. La méthode analytique « part de ce que l’on cherche comme s’il était donné et que l’on remonte aux conditions sous lesquelles seules, il est possible » (Prol, AA 04 :276). Cette méthode aurait l'avantage d’une sorte de compréhension globale ou synoptique, puisqu’elle nous présente d’un seul coup « un ensemble de connaissances qui naissent toutes des mêmes sources » (Prol, AA O4 :275). Ainsi, aussi bien la concision de l’exposé des Prolégomènes que la compréhension synoptique (« das Ganze zu übersehen ») promise par la méthode analytique exigent que le lecteur essaie de saisir les parties principales de la doctrine en les rapportant à son plan général. Il est donc raisonnable de penser que cette même exigence générale vaut également pour la compréhension de la déduction transcendantale dans les Prolégomènes. Cela signifie qu’il faut comprendre non seulement son économie interne, mas aussi son rapport à l'analyse qui la précède, à savoir l'analyse contenue dans la première partie du


    6 Ces deux points marquent, respectivement, les deux côtés qui caractérisent les Prolégomènes, comme l'affirme De Vleeschauwer : « Cette œuvre manifeste à la fois un caractère explicatif et un caractère défensif ou polémisant » (Vleeschauwer 1976, p. 420). Une observation similaire sur les deux différentes motivations des Prolégomènes est faite par Gary Hatfield dans l´introduction de sa traduction des Prolégomènes : « The new work was motivated both by a desire to redress the disappointing reception of the Critique by publishing a more approachable work, and by a desire to improve the exposition of crucial points” (Kant, E. 2009, xix- xxiii). Cf. aussi Allison (2015, p. 288).

    7 Dans ce passage de Kant, j’utilise la traduction de Brunschvicg, qui nous semble plus appropriée pour tenir compte de l'intention synoptique (übersehen) des Prolégomènes.

    8. J’utilise ici aussi la traduction de Brunschvicg pour la même raison indiquée dans la note précédente.

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    problème capital de la philosophie transcendantale, intitulée : « comment la mathématique pure est-elle possible ? ». Cette partie, qui correspond, selon Kant, à l'Esthétique Transcendantale de la première Critique9, présente, en deux remarques du paragraphe 13, ce qu'est l'idéalisme critique et en quoi il se distingue de toutes les formes traditionnelles d'idéalisme10. Si tel est le cas, il faut au moins soulever la question de savoir si, dans les Prolégomènes, la déduction transcendantale s'harmonise avec l`idéalisme critique et présuppose la notion d’apparition y énoncée comme l`apparition d´un objet (Gegenstand)

    « qui nous est inconnu, mais qui pour autant n'en est pas moins réel » (Prol, AA 04 :289).11


  2. La polémique de Kant contre Garve : la sensibilité et l´entendement dans l'idéalisme formel


    La stratégie argumentative synoptique des Prolégomènes semble trouver, cependant, une limite dans leur aspect « défensif ou polémisant ». 12 Dans deux Remarques (II et III) à la fin de la première partie des Prolégomènes, Kant essaie de répondre à une objection de Garve, publiée en 1782 anonymement dans une recension de la première Critique. Selon Garve, la Critique serait un « système de l'idéalisme supérieur » qui, tel celui de Berkeley, « embrasse de la même manière l´esprit et la matière, qui transforme le monde et nous-mêmes en représentations et fait ainsi surgir tous les objets des phénomènes (...) » .13 Contre Garve, Kant fait observer, de façon assez acerbe, que l’idéalisme critique ne conteste pas « l'existence réelle des choses extérieures » (Prol, AA 04: 289).14 On doit ici comprendre le terme « extérieur » dans le sens transcendantal qu’il a dans le contexte du quatrième Paralogisme de la première édition de la Critique de la raison pure où Kant oppose l'idéalisme transcendantal à l'idéalisme empirique.15 Dans ce sens, l'extérieur ne signifie pas quelque chose spatialement en dehors de nous, mais ce qui est indépendant des conditions a priori de l’expérience. En ce sens, l'existence réelle de la chose est extérieure au sujet seulement dans la mesure où elle n’est produite ni par les conditions formelles de la sensibilité ni par les conditions formelles de la pensée.16 Par cela, l’apparition (Erscheinung) en ce qui concerne l’existence dépend de l’existence de la


    9 Cf. Prol, AA 04:318.

    10 Prol, AA 04: 288- 294.

    11 Il convient de noter que les interprétations plus récentes de la déduction transcendantale dans les Prolégomènes ne traitent pas de cette question. Cf. Allison (2015, pp. 289-306) ; Longuenesse (2000, pp. 167-195) et Pollok (2012).

    .

    12 Expressions utilisées par Vleeschauwer (1976, p. 420). Cf. ci-dessus, note 6.

    13 Ferrari (1964, p. 14).

    14 En Allemand: « wirklichen Existenz äußerer Dinge ».

    15 Cf. Klotz (2013, p. 4).

    16 Kant définit son idéalisme comme un idéalisme formel ou critique dans l´appendice des Prolégomènes

    (Prol, AA 04 : 318)

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    chose dont elle est la manifestation selon les conditions formelles de sa présentation.17 Par conséquent, l'idéalisme kantien est seulement un idéalisme par rapport à la forme de la présentation de la chose et non par rapport à l'existence de la chose même immédiatement présentée comme apparition :

    [...] l'existence de la chose qui apparaît [die Existenz des Dinges, was erscheint] ne se trouve de ce fait nullement supprimée, comme c’est le cas dans le véritable idéalisme ; ce qu’on montre seulement c’est que les sens ne nous permettent pas du tout de la connaître telle qu’elle est en elle-même (Prol, AA 04 : 289).

    S'il en est ainsi, l'idéalisme formel a pour contrepartie nécessaire le réalisme quant à l'existence de la chose présentée : l’apparition (en l’occurrence, un corps) est

    « l’apparition de cet objet qui nous est inconnu, mais qui n’en est pas moins réel » (Prol, AA 04 : 289).

    Toutefois, l'argument de Kant ne serait-il pas seulement un argument ad hominem et donc entièrement circonstanciel ? Ce qui renforce cette impression est le fait que la réponse de Kant est présentée dans deux remarques séparées de l’exposé qui les précède. En ce sens, la stratégie argumentative synoptique des Prolégomènes, qui exige que chaque partie de l’exposé soit comprise en vue de l’ensemble, ne s'appliquerait pas à la doctrine dans son ensemble, mais uniquement à l'aspect considéré comme purement explicatif des Prolégomènes. Si tel est le cas, il semble en principe possible d´isoler l'idéalisme kantien du reste de la doctrine critique, notamment de la déduction transcendantale.

    Il n'y a pas de doute qu’on peut expliquer les termes acerbes de Kant par son irritation contre Garve. Mais d'autre part, la thèse que l’apparition est « l’apparition de cet objet qui nous est inconnu, mais qui n’en est pas moins réel » peut être considérée comme le vrai corollaire de l'analyse des conditions a priori ou formelles de l´intuition sensible et, par conséquent, d'un idéalisme qui assigne l’idéalité seulement à la forme de la (re)présentation. Cela signifie que le côté polémique de la première partie des Prolégomènes n’est pas un obstacle à leur stratégie argumentation synoptique. Il est donc raisonnable de s’attendre à


    17 Par rapport à la représentation intuitive, on peut comprendre le terme Vorstellung comme « présentation », comme le suggère un passage de la Dissertation de 1770 : « Cum itaque, quodcunque in cognitione est sensitivi, pendeat a speciali indole subiecti, quatenus a praesentia obiectorum huius vel alius modificationis capax est […] » (MSI, AA 02 : 392). Déjà en 1770, la présence de la chose présentée dans les sens est considérée par Kant comme un antidote à l'idéalisme traditionnel : « Primo enim, quatenus sensuales sunt conceptus s. apprehensiones, ceu causata testantur de praesentia obiecti, quod contra idealismum » (MSI, AA 02 : 397). Les Prolégomènes reviennent presque littéralement à la définition de l'intuition introduite par la Dissertation de 1770 : « L´intuition, c´est une représentation de nature telle qu´elle dépende immédiatement de la présence de l´objet » (Prol, AA 04 : 281). Ainsi, le terme Vor-stellung en tant que praesentia indique la présence immédiate sous deux sens distincts, mais corrélés : (1) praesentia comme présentation directe de la chose comme objet au sujet par l'intuition sensible, sans aucun intermédiaire entre l'un et l’autre ; (2) cette même présence directe sans aucune médiation d'un acte de synthèse (qu'il s'agisse de la synthèse intellectuelle ou de la synthèse de l'imagination). Sur le premier point, dans le contexte de Déduction-A de la Critique, voir (Licht dos Santos, 2009) ; sur le deuxième point, dans le contexte de Déduction-B de la Critique, voir (Licht dos Santos, 2012). D'autres interprètes de Kant ont déjà attiré l'attention sur le rôle de présentation d'objets de la représentation (Vorstellung) sensible. Voir Allais (2009, pp. 389-390) et Fonseca (2013, pp. 80-99.). Sur l'anti-idéalisme dans le contexte de la Déduction B de la Critique de la raison pure, voir Caimi (2002, p. 70). Cependant, discuter ces interprétations dépasse le but de cet article.

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    ce que la notion de phénomène et l’idéalisme formel qui en découle soient incorporés dans la déduction transcendantale présentée dans la deuxième partie des Prolégomènes.

    Il est nécessaire de faire un pas de plus en ce qui concerne le côté polémique des Prolégomènes. Celui-là présente un aspect qui, bien que rarement souligné par la littérature secondaire, renforce la nécessité de prendre en compte le rapport de la déduction transcendantale à l'idéalisme critique. En fait, l’objection de Garve ne se limite pas au rôle de la sensibilité dans la fondation d'un idéalisme qui serait semblable à celui de Berkeley, mais s'étend également à la fonction qui conviendrait à l'entendement dans le cadre de cette “histoire”. En effet, après avoir assimilé l’Esthétique transcendantale à l'idéalisme de Berkeley, Garve soutient que, pour la Critique, les objets sont entièrement produits par l´entendement : « l´entendement fait des objets ». Il convient de mentionner le passage, aussi long soit-il :

    Des phénomènes sensibles qui se distinguent des autres représentations par leur seul conditionnement subjectif (c'est-à-dire par leur lien avec l´espace et le temps), l´entendement fait des objets. II les fait, car c'est lui en premier lieu qui lie plusieurs petites modifications de l´âme, différentes et successives, en sensations entières et totales

    ; c'est lui qui à nouveau lie entre elles ces totalités dans le temps de telle sorte qu'elles se suivent les unes les autres comme cause et effet ; par là chacune reçoit sa place déterminée dans le temps infini et, toutes ensemble, elles reçoivent l´allure et la consistance des choses réelles. (…) Ces lois de l´entendement sont plus anciennes que les phénomènes auxquels elles sont appliquées : il existe donc des concepts a priori de l´entendement.18

    Il ne fait aucun doute que la recension Garve-Feder présente une explication trop hâtive de l´Analytique Transcendantale de la Critique. Cependant, elle découle directement de l'incompréhension de Garve sur l'Esthétique Transcendantale. En fait, il est naturel que, n'ayant pas compris le rôle de l'intuition sensible de présenter une chose en tant qu'objet, Garve finisse par surestimer la fonction objectifiante de la pensée : « l´entendement fait des objets ». Si la sensibilité ne peut offrir qu’une diversité d’impressions sensibles, il ne peut y avoir d'objet que par un acte de l´entendement : c´est par lui qu’« elles reçoivent l´allure et la consistance des choses réelles ». En ces termes, il n’est pas difficile de voir que Garve réduit la doctrine de l’objectivité kantienne à une doctrine de la cohérence interne entre les représentations. La lecture de l'Esthétique par Garve et celle de l'Analytique sont donc les deux faces d'une même pièce. D'où l'objection générale de Garve à Kant, objection selon laquelle l'idéalisme kantien est, après tout, superflu :

    Et si, comme veut nous l’imposer l´idéaliste, on admet le cas extrême où tout ce que nous avons le désir et le pouvoir de connaitre et de nommer n'est que représentation et loi de la pensée (…) ; si les représentations, modifiées et ordonnées d'après des lois certaines, sont précisément ce que nous appelons objets et monde : à quoi bon le combat contre le langage communément admis ? Á quoi bon la distinction idéaliste et d'où vient- elle ?19


    18 Ferrari (1964, p. 15).

    19 Ferrari (1964, p. 19).


    12


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    Alors, si l'objection de Garve ne se limite pas à l'Esthétique transcendantale, il est raisonnable de s'attendre à ce qu'une réponse complète de Kant doive dissiper également les malentendus de Garve à propos de l'Analytique. En particulier, on peut s’attendre à ce que les Prolégomènes réfutent la thèse de Garve selon laquelle, dans la Critique, l’objet est entièrement réduit à une connexion régulière de représentations immanentes à la pensée, sans aucune référence à l'existence de la chose elle-même (« tout ce que nous avons le désir et le pouvoir de connaitre et de nommer n'est que représentation et loi de la pensée »).20

    Toutes ces observations convergent vers un seul point. La stratégie générale des Prolégomènes, en insistant sur la compréhension synoptique, et le double aspect de la polémique de Kant contre Garve suggèrent, du moins en principe, qu’il devrait y avoir un lien fort entre la déduction transcendantale, présentée dans la deuxième partie des Prolégomènes, et l'idéalisme formel, établi dans leur première partie, comme un réalisme direct sur l’existence de la chose elle-même présentée comme apparition. Ces observations ne donnent bien sûr aucune assurance qu’il y ait vraiment un tel lien, mais elles donnent des paramètres clairs pour l'analyse des §18 et §19 de la déduction transcendantale des Prolégomènes.


  3. La déduction transcendantale : la distinction entre jugement de perception et jugement d’expérience


    Tout l’argument de la déduction transcendantale tourne autour de la distinction entre deux types de jugement empirique : jugement de perception et jugement d’expérience. Les deux sortes de jugement sont empiriques, puisqu’ils ont « leur fondement dans la perception immédiate des sens » (Prol, AA 04 : 298). Cependant, ils ont des valeurs cognitives différentes. Les jugements de perception n'ont qu'une validité subjective, à savoir qu’ils ne valent pour nous que dans certaines conditions empiriques spécifiques. Les jugements d’expérience, en revanche, ont une validité objective, pour autant que « nous voulons qu'ils soient également valables pour nous toujours et de même pour chacun » (Prol, AA 04 : 298). Étant donné cette caractérisation, nous pouvons nous demander, selon la méthode régressive caractéristique des Prolégomènes, comment le jugement d’expérience est possible. La réponse est que le jugement d’expérience est possible en raison de sa relation avec l'objet (« il s'accorde à un objet21 »). La même question se pose à nouveau : comment la relation de jugement avec l'objet est-elle possible ? La réponse de Kant, au moins celle que l’argument devra prouver, c’est qu’on doit ajouter au jugement de perception des concepts purs « sous lesquels chaque perception


    20 C’est d’ailleurs en ces termes que Kant réduit toute sorte d’idéalisme traditionnel : « L'idéalisme consiste à soutenir qu'il n'y a pas d'autres êtres que les êtres pensants : les autres choses, que nous croyons percevoir dans l'intuition ne seraient que des représentations dans les êtres pensants ; à ces représentations ne correspondrait aucun objet ayant une existence à l`extérieur de ces représentations. » (Prol, AA 04 : 288.)



    21 Prol, AA 04 : 298.

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    peut tout d’abord être subsumée et grâce auxquels elle peut ensuite être transformée en expérience » (Prol, AA 04 : 298). Autrement dit, l’argument devra prouver la validité objective des concepts purs comme condition de l’accord du jugement d’expérience avec l’objet. Remarquons que cette preuve de la validité objective est de nature indirecte, puisqu’elle se déroule en deux étapes, qui correspondent à deux paragraphes : le §18 établit, d’abord, la réciprocité entre la validité objective (objektive Gültigkeit) et la validité universelle nécessaire (Allgemeingültigkeit), considérées comme deux propriétés de tout jugement en général ; le §19 applique, ensuite, ce principe de réciprocité au contexte spécifique de l'idéalisme critique, afin de prouver la validité objective des concepts purs dans leur relation à des objets des sens dans un jugement d’expérience.


    3.1 La première étape : le paragraphe § 18 et le principe de réciprocité (l’objet et la conscience en général)


    Kant, dans le § 18, analyse d’abord ce que signifie en général la relation d’un jugement à son objet pour ensuite montrer comment la même analyse s’applique au cas particulier du jugement d'expérience. Kant ne développe pas explicitement dans le texte l’idée que l'analyse du jugement objectif en général sert de point d’appui pour comprendre le jugement d’expérience, mais cette idée affleure dans le mouvement argumentatif :

    [...] car lorsqu'un jugement s'accorde à un objet, il faut que tous les jugements sur le même objet s'accordent également entre eux, et la validité objective du jugement d'expérience ne veut rien dire d'autre que sa nécessaire validité universelle. Mais réciproquement aussi, si nous trouvons motif à tenir un jugement pour universellement valable de façon nécessaire (ce qui ne repose jamais sur la perception, mais sur le concept pur d'entendement sous lequel la perception est subsumée), il faut que nous le tenions aussi pour objectif, ce qui veut dire qu'il n'énonce pas simplement une relation de la perception à un sujet, mais une manière d'être de l'objet ; car il n'y aurait pas de raison pour que les jugements des autres s'accordent aux miens s'il n'y avait pas l'unité de l'objet auquel tous se rapportent, auquel ils s’accordent et auquel, de ce fait ils doivent également tous de s' accorder entre eux (Prol, AA 04: 298).

    Il faut noter, en premier lieu, que ce passage considère l’objet du jugement en termes généraux. Kant ne prend pas en compte ici le fait de savoir si l'objet avec lequel un jugement doit s’accorder est un objet considéré comme phénomène ou comme chose en soi. Il ne prend pas en compte non plus le fait de savoir si le jugement est un jugement de perception ou d’expérience. Il dit simplement, sans qualifier ni le terme « objet » ni le terme « jugement » : « [...] lorsqu'un jugement s'accorde à un objet, il faut que tous les jugements sur le même objet s'accordent également entre eux ». Il parle ici de l'objet en un sens neutre ou, plutôt, de l'objet d’un jugement considéré en général. Ce qui le prouve c’est que Kant parle ensuite de l'objet comme d’une « unité », sans autre précision, utilisant l’expression « l'unité de l'objet ». Ainsi, cette analyse du jugement en général est importante pour mettre en évidence deux propriétés de tout jugement objectivement valable, indépendamment de la nature de l'objet jugé. De ce point de vue, un jugement est


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    susceptible d’un double type d’accord : soit avec un objet, soit avec d’autres jugements qui se rapportent au même objet. Dans le premier cas, le jugement a une validité objective (objektive Gültigkeit) ; dans le second cas, il a une universalité nécessaire (nothwendige Allgemeingültigkeit).

    Qu'est-ce que l’universalité nécessaire ? À première vue, il semble que si un objet est considéré comme une unité nécessaire de propriétés, divers jugements doivent s'accorder entre eux s’ils représentent différentes propriétés d'un même objet. Dans ce cas, on pourrait dire que « le plat est rond » doit s’accorder avec le jugement : « le plat est blanc », de sorte que l'on pourrait dire que le plat rond est blanc.22 Pourtant, tel n'est pas le cas car cet accord reste encore sur le plan de la « validité objective ». La validité universelle et nécessaire est d'un autre ordre. Elle est l'accord qui doit exister entre les jugements pour chaque sujet indépendamment des circonstances particulières ou contingentes. En ce sens, elle signifie que « les jugements des autres s'accordent aux miens », et vice-versa. De cette façon, l’on peut dire que l'universalité nécessaire d'un jugement exprime ce qu’est la conscience en général ou, même, l’intersubjectivité. Il en résulte que cette universalité et cette nécessité ne doivent pas être confondues avec les deux critères connexes de l’a priori présentés dans la première Critique.23 Rappelons que ces deux critères, l’universalité et la nécessité, concernent, dans la Critique, la relation a priori d'un jugement à son objet et se rapportent ainsi à sa validité objective. D'autre part, l’universalité nécessaire implique, dans les Prolégomènes, que l'accord subjectif d'un jugement avec d'autres jugements sur le même objet soit nécessaire. 24

    Un résultat important de cette analyse du jugement en général est la relation d’interdépendance entre ses deux principaux modes de validité. La validité objective d’un jugement (son accord à un objet) a comme contrepartie sa validité universelle et nécessaire (pour quiconque). Autrement dit, si mon jugement s’accorde à un objet, il doit aussi s’accorder aux jugements d'autrui et vice-versa : validité objective et validité universelle nécessaire sont donc des concepts réciproques (Wechselbegriffe, dit Kant dans le § 19).25 De ce point de vue, l’objectivité en général et l’intersubjectivité sont les deux faces d'une même pièce.

    Cette analyse du jugement objectif en général, à première vue rébarbative, est toutefois décisive pour l'argument kantien, puisque Kant l’applique au contexte particulier de la distinction entre le jugement de perception et le jugement d’expérience : « La validité objective du jugement d'expérience ne veut rien dire d'autre que sa nécessaire validité universelle. » Dans ce contexte, la validité objective du jugement d'expérience sera établie indirectement, à partir de la validité universelle nécessaire. De fait, si ces concepts sont



    22 Cf. Rx 6350 (Refl, AA 18 : 676).

    23 Cf. KrV B 2.

    24 Cette observation est faite aussi par Allison: “it must be a ´subjective universality,` which applies to the universe of judging subjects. Moreover, as is indicated by its connection with necessity, this universality cannot be regarded merely as a contingent circumstance, as if it just happens that everyone agrees regarding the matter; it is rather that in some sense everyone must agree because the judgment holds of the object, which suggests that the universality, like the necessity, is normative in nature” (Allison, 2015, pp. 294-295). 25 Prol, AA 04 : 298.

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    réciproques, l’on peut s’appuyer sur l’un pour arriver à l’autre : « Si nous trouvons motif à tenir un jugement pour universellement valable de façon nécessaire [...], il faut que nous le tenions aussi pour objectif, ce qui veut dire qu'il n'énonce pas simplement une relation de la perception à un sujet, mais une manière d'être de l’objet »26 (Prol, AA 04 : 298). Cette preuve est manifestement indirecte. On doit établir la validité objective non pas en montrant à quelle condition a priori un jugement s’accorde avec son objet, mais en montrant à quelle condition a priori un jugement est nécessaire et universel (pour quiconque). Lorsque l’on met en œuvre la méthode régressive des Prolégomènes, on doit se demander quelle est la condition a priori en fonction de laquelle on doit considérer un jugement d’expérience comme universellement valable. Il va de soi que le concept pur de l’entendement est cette condition. En tant que pur, le concept est en effet une condition universelle nécessaire ; en tant qu’intellectuel, il est la condition de l’unité discursive des concepts dans un jugement.27 Ainsi, le concept pur de l’entendement est la condition en fonction de laquelle nous tenons « un jugement pour universellement valable de façon nécessaire ». Mais, étant donné le principe de réciprocité, si un jugement a une validité universelle nécessaire, il a aussi une validité objective.


    3.2. La deuxième étape : le paragraphe § 19 et le jugement d’expérience (la conscience en général et la chose représentée comme objet)


    Le § 19 reprend l'argument du paragraphe précédent en termes très proches. Cela nous dispense de son analyse détaillée, mais non pas de la question de son but. L'argument, en invoquant le principe de réciprocité établi au §18, montre que la preuve de la validité objective sera établie indirectement :


    De là vient que la validité objective et la validité universelle nécessaire (pour quiconque) sont des concepts réciproques, et tout en ne sachant pas ce qu’est l’objet en soi, quand nous considérons un jugement comme universellement valable et par conséquent comme nécessaire, c'est la validité objective que l’on entend précisément par-là (Prol, AA 04 : 298).


    Il y a, cependant, une différence significative par rapport au §18. Le §18 ne faisait référence à l'objet que comme unité, tout court, sans qualifier ni le terme objet ni le terme unité. Ainsi, le §18 mettait en jeu la condition a priori de l’objectivité en général. En


    26 Prol, AA 04 : 298.

    27 Selon la Réflexion 5931 (1783 – 1784), la catégorie est la condition de l`unité nécessaire de la conscience d`un jugement de validité objective : « La catégorie est l´unité {nécessaire} de la conscience dans la composition du divers des représentations {intuition}, dans la mesure où elle rend possible le concept d´un objet général (à la différence de l´unité simplement subjective de la conscience des perceptions). Cette unité dans les catégories doit être nécessaire. E. g. un concept, logiquement, peut être sujet ou prédicat. Mais un objet, considéré transcendentalement, présuppose quelque chose qui est nécessairement simplement sujet et l`autre chose simplement prédicat » (Refl, AA 18 : 390 -391 ; Kant 2011, p. 182).

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    conséquence, l’argument avait pour but de montrer comment un jugement de validité subjective pouvait acquérir une validité objective sous la seule condition de l’objectivité en général, ou plutôt, sous la condition de l’universalité nécessaire (intersubjectivité en général) qui est exprimée par la catégorie. Il n'y a pas de doute qu’une perception, comme représentation, se rapporte aux sens et à leur objet. Il semblerait donc que, dans la démarche argumentative du §18, la référence à l'objet des sens soit implicite. Cependant, l’argument du §18 neutralise cette référence, pour ainsi dire. Puisqu’il s’agit d’une preuve indirecte, l’accord du jugement avec l'objet est montré par son rapport avec l’intersubjectivité ou la conscience en général. Le problème que le §18 se pose est donc de savoir comment un jugement de validité subjective peut acquérir une validité objective en se soumettant aux conditions de la conscience en général.

    Par sa stratégie argumentative, donc, le §18 considère la perception seulement du point de vue de son rapport au sujet, et non pas à l’objet des sens28. Plus précisément, par sa stratégie argumentative indirecte, le §18 met en suspens la référence du jugement à l'objet donné in concreto, pour s'astreindre à l'unité nécessaire de l’objet en général, comme corrélat de la conscience en général.29 Ainsi, le rôle du §18 est tout simplement de montrer qu’un jugement de perception, compris comme représentation qui n’a qu’une validité subjective, exige une condition universelle a priori sous laquelle seulement il peut avoir une validité intersubjective et, partant, une validité objective (il s´accord à l’objet).

    Ainsi, il faut bien noter qu'il existe dans le §19 une différence importante par rapport au §18, puisque le §19 qualifie l’objet. En fait, au §19, l’objet (Objekt) sera d´abord considéré comme ce « qu’il peut être en lui-même » et ensuite comme « objets des sens » (Gegenständen der Sinne) :


    Par ce jugement nous connaissons l’objet [das Objekt] (lors même que par ailleurs ce qu'il peut être en lui-même nous demeure inconnu) grâce à la liaison nécessaire et universellement valable des perceptions données ; et comme c'est le cas de tous les objets des sens [Gegenständen der Sinne], ce n'est pas à la connaissance immédiate de l'objet [Gegenstand] (car elle est impossible), mais uniquement à la condition de la validité universelle des jugements empiriques que les jugements d'expérience emprunteront leur validité objective, et comme nous l'avons dit, ce n'est jamais sur les conditions empiriques, ou même sensibles en général, mais bien sur un pur concept d'entendement que repose cette validité universelle (Prol, AA 04: 298)30.


    28 Il est à noter à ce propos que le § 18 définit des jugements empiriques (donc, jugement de perception et jugement d'expérience) en disant qu'ils ont « leur fondement dans une perception immédiate des sens » ; il n’y ici aucune référence à leur objet (Prol, AA 04 : 298).

    29 Cf. R 5933 (1783 – 1784) : « Le jugement est l´unité de la conscience du divers dans la représentation d´un objet en général. La catégorie est la représentation d´un objet en général dans la mesure où il est déterminé eu égard à cette unité objective de la conscience (eu égard à l`unité logique) ». (Refl, AA 18 : 390 - 391 ; Kant 2011, p. 184).


    30 Traduction modifiée.

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    Dès lors, on a une double indication. La première, c’est que le §19 doit prendre en compte le rapport du jugement à un objet donné in concreto. (« les objets des sens »).31 La deuxième indication, c’est que le § 19 doit le faire dans le contexte de l'idéalisme formel, établi dans la première partie des Prolégomènes. En effet, ici, le terme d'objet est spécifié de deux façons : l'objet inconnu (Objekt) et l'objet des sens (Gegenstand).

    Quelle est l’importance de cette distinction ? Evidemment, elle vise à nier que le jugement d’expérience puisse emprunter sa validité objective à la connaissance immédiate de l’objet. Cette connaissance immédiate (unmittelbar) est impossible pour deux raisons.

    (1) Si l'objet est objet des sens, aucun jugement, comme unité discursive des concepts, ne peut se rapporter à l’objet sauf par la médiation d’une intuition sensible (i.e., d’une perception) ; (2) si l'objet est l'objet considéré en lui-même, sans la médiation des formes pures de sa présentation, on n’a ni connaissance immédiate ni a fortiori connaissance médiate. En excluant ces deux cas, il ne reste plus que l'appel à la condition de l'universalité des conditions intellectuelles du jugement lui-même : c´est « (…) uniquement à la condition de la validité universelle des jugements empiriques que les jugements d'expérience emprunteront leur validité objective ». Cette condition de l’universalité (pour quiconque) n’est autre que le concept pur de l’entendement. Étant donné le principe de réciprocité, il est par là démontré que le concept pur, parce qu’il a une « validité universelle nécessaire (pour quiconque) », a également une validité objective.

    Cependant, si l’argument s’arrêtait ici, il serait assez trivial par rapport au §18, comme s’il affirmait, au fond, que ce qui est vrai pour l'unité nécessaire des perceptions est vrai aussi pour l'unité nécessaire de leurs objets. Mais il ne s’agit pas du tout de passer trivialement du genre (jugement en général) à l’espèce (jugement d'expérience). En fait, le

    § 19 effectue un pas décisif, qui n'était pas présent au § 18 : il prétend montrer l'universalité nécessaire du jugement pour les objets phénoménaux dont le corrélat existentiel est quelque chose d'inconnu en lui-même. La suite du texte le montre bien, en s’appuyant directement sur la doctrine de l’idéalisme formel :


    L'objet [Objekt] demeure en lui-même à jamais inconnu ; mais lorsque, grâce au concept d'entendement, la liaison des représentations qui sont données de cet objet à notre sensibilité est déterminée comme valable universellement, alors l'objet [Gegenstand] est déterminé grâce à cette relation et le jugement est objectif (Prol, AA 04 : 299).32


    31 Le paragraphe 8 des Prolégomènes avait déjà indiqué la nécessité de passer du concept pur, comme concept d'objet en général, à son emploi in concreto: « Il est vrai qu'il y a bien des concepts tels que nous sommes capables d`en former quelques-uns tout à fait a priori : ceux qui n`impliquent que la pensée d'un objet en général, sans nous trouver en un rapport immédiat à l`objet, par exemple : les concepts de grandeur, celui de cause etc. … ; mais même ces concepts-là ont cependant besoin, pour acquérir valeur et sens, de quelque emploi in concreto, c'est-à-dire, de l'application à une quelconque intuition, grâce à laquelle nous soit donné un objet de ces concepts » (Prol, AA 04: 283).

    32 Selon le texte original: « Das Object bleibt an sich selbst immer unbekannt; wenn aber durch den Verstandesbegriff die Verknüpfung der Vorstellungen, die unsrer Sinnlichkeit von ihm gegeben sind, als allgemeingültig bestimmt wird, so wird der Gegenstand durch dieses Verhältniß bestimmt, und das Urtheil ist objectiv“ (Prol, AA 04: 299).


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    Il faut remarquer que Kant ne dit pas que, puisque l'objet demeure en lui-même à jamais inconnu notre connaissance d´un objet est réduite à une détermination des représentations sensibles par le concept pur de l’entendement. Une telle lecture rejoindrait celle de Garve, pour qui “l´entendement fait des objets”. Kant, cependant, dit tout autre chose. Le terme « en soi » est un terme qui modifie le verbe (« demeure"), non pas un adjectif qualifiant l’objet (« L’objet [Objekt] demeure en lui-même à jamais inconnu »). Ensuite, Kant dit que les représentations sensibles sont des représentations de cet objet (Objekt) qui reste en lui-même toujours inconnu (« des représentations qui sont données de cet objet »). Rappelons-nous que cette formulation est très proche de la formulation que nous avons déjà trouvée dans la première partie des Prolégomènes. Kant disait alors : l’apparition est « l’apparition de cet objet qui nous est inconnu, mais qui n’en est pas moins réel » (Prol, AA 04 : 289). Troisièmement, Kant dit ici que la liaison des représentations sensibles de cet objet (Objekt) qui « demeure en lui-même à jamais inconnu » reçoit une valeur universelle par le concept pur. Quatrièmement, il affirme que par cette la liaison l’objet (Gegenstand) devient déterminé. Ainsi, à partir du dernier de ces quatre points, on arrive à ce résultat-ci : le concept pur est la détermination comme objet (Gegenstand) d'une connexion de représentations sensibles d'un objet (Objekt) qui demeure, au cours de toutes ces étapes, toujours inconnu en soi même. Ici, nous trouvons la caractéristique des Prolégomènes, c´est-à-dire, l’identité de l'objet dans les différentes étapes de la réflexion critique : comme une chose considérée en soi, comme l’apparition de cette chose donnée à la sensibilité et comme un phénomène déterminé par un jugement de valeur universel.

    La question la plus naturelle est donc : pourquoi ne pas prétendre connaître les choses en soi ? Les Prolégomènes ont déjà donné la réponse dans leur première partie, dans le contexte de l’idéalisme formel. L’existence de quelque chose est toujours sa présentation immédiate à nous selon nos formes a priori de présentation. Dans le contexte du jugement d’expérience, la réponse n’est pas essentiellement différente. On ne prend pas quelque chose comme quelque chose en lui-même (Etwas als Etwas), mais toujours comme objet pour nous (Etwas als Gegenstand).33 Si tel est le cas, l’existence réelle de la chose présentée par l´ intuition sensible comme apparition demeure toujours le terme auquel nous sommes renvoyés par le jugement si les concepts purs doivent acquérir une réalité objective. 34


    33 Selon la formule du § 14 de la déduction transcendantale de la Critique de la raison pure : « Comme la représentation ne donne pas par elle-même l’existence [Dasein] à son objet (car il n’est pas ici question de la causalité qu’elle peut avoir au moyen de la volonté), elle détermine l’objet a priori en ce sens qu’elle seule permet de connaître quelque chose [etwas] comme object » (KrV A92/125). Voir sur ce point (Licht dos Santos, 2009).

    34 Le terme "réalité objective" figure dans la première partie des Prolégomènes, tandis que "validité objective" est un terme caractéristique des paragraphes § 18 et § 19 de la seconde partie : « La mathématique pure et notamment la géométrie pure, ne peut avoir de réalité objective qu'à la condition de concerner uniquement les objets des sens ; mais on établit ce principe à propos de ceux-ci que notre représentation sensible n’est représentation des choses en elles-mêmes, mais seulement de la manière dont celles-ci nous apparaissent » (« …unsre sinnliche Vorstellung keinesweges eine Vorstellung der Dinge an sich selbst,

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  4. Conclusion


    Le résultat ainsi obtenu est remarquable à plusieurs points de vue :

    1. il correspond parfaitement aux exigences de la nouvelle méthode d'exposition introduite par les Prolégomènes dans la mesure où il rend visible l'articulation entre leurs deux premières parties ; en fait, le § 19, en rapportant les conditions d'objectivité générale du jugement au cadre de l'idéalisme transcendantal, articule et unifie l'analyse critique des conditions sensibles et l'analyse des conditions intellectuelles ;

    2. ce résultat justifie donc la cohérence doctrinale des Prolégomènes en montrant que les deux parties de cet ouvrage ne sont pas seulement parallèles, mais sont corrélées ;

    3. ainsi, il offre une réponse complète à l'objection de Garve. Cette objection relève tout aussi bien de l’Esthétique que de l’Analytique Transcendantale de la Critique de la raison pure. La déduction transcendantale dans les Prolégomènes, en montrant que l'objet jugé ne peut être réduit à la simple connexion interne des représentations sensibles, mais possède comme corrélat « l'existence de la chose qui apparaît », répond intégralement aux deux côtés de l'objection de Garve.

    4. Ce résultat offre donc une conception intéressante du jugement qui ne réduit pas le rapport de la représentation à son objet à une simple relation interne entre des représentations sensibles et des représentations intellectuelles. Au lieu de reléguer la chose elle-même à un incommode préambule de l'examen de l'objectivité des jugements empiriques, la déduction transcendantale des Prolégomènes incorpore l'existence de la chose comme fondement réel du phénomène, d'abord présenté dans la sensibilité et ensuite déterminé comme objet de connaissance par un concept pur dans le jugement de l'expérience. L’analyse des conditions formelles de la représentation des objets présente donc un réalisme robuste, à la fois direct et critique. Le réalisme est direct puisque, selon la première partie des Prolégomènes, l'intuition sensible est la présentation immédiate de la chose elle-même en tant que phénomène ; et ce réalisme est critique dans la mesure où il constitue une contrepartie nécessaire de l'idéalisme formel, corollaire de l´analyse critique des conditions formelles de la représentation d´objet. Par cette analyse, la cognition objective s´explique par l`accord entre le fondement formel et le fondement réel de la représentation.

    5. Cependant, bien qu’il soit intéressant, ce résultat est, pris par lui-même, superflu. Si une déduction transcendantale est nécessaire, c’est pour résoudre le problème


sondern nur der Art sei, wie sie uns erscheinen ») (Prol, AA 04 : 287 ; souligné par moi) «. « Celles-ci » : c’est-à-dire, les choses en elles-mêmes qui nous apparaissent. On a donc ici, comme dans le § 19 des Prolégomènes, le même principe de l'identité ontologique de l'objet dans les différentes étapes de la réflexion critique de l’objectivité. Pour finir, il faut remarquer qu’autant cette expression (« identité ontologique de l'objet dans ses différentes étapes de détermination ») que la conception générale qui la soutient, nous les avons empruntées à Bernard Rousset (1967,167).

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de la métaphysique transcendante, qui est la question traitée dans la dernière partie des

Prolégomènes :


Pour leur sûreté et certitude propres, mathématique pure et science pure de la nature n'auraient eu nul besoin de la Déduction dont nous venons de les munir ; car la première s'appuie sur son évidence propre ; quant à la seconde, bien qu'elle soit issue des sources pures de l'entendement, elle s'appuie cependant sur l'expérience et la confirmation qu'elle ne cesse d'en recevoir [...].Ce n'est donc pas pour elles que ces deux sciences avaient besoin de l'enquête en question, c’est pour une autre science : la métaphysique. (Prol, AA 04 : 327)


Ainsi, toute la démarche analytique des Prolégomènes a pour but la délimitation de la connaissance en vertu du problème de la métaphysique transcendante. Toutefois, selon la conception critique, la limite « appartient à la fois au contenu interne et à l'espace situé en dehors de sa surface donnée » (Prol, AA 04 : 361), c'est-à-dire qu'elle appartient à la fois à l´apparition et à « l'existence de la chose qui apparaît ». Alors, c’est seulement en vertu du problème de la délimitation de la connaissance que la preuve de la réalité objective des catégories, telle qu'elle est accomplie dans le §19, montre vraiment toute son importance, selon la nature synoptique de la méthode régressive caractéristique des Prolégomènes.


BIBLIOGRAPHIE


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Allais, L (2009), Kant, “Non-Conceptual Content and the Representation of Space”,

Journal of the History of Philosophy, Volume 47, Number 3, pp. 383-413.

Allison, H. (2015), Kant's Transcendental Deduction - An Analytical-Historical Commentary, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

(2004), Kant’s Transcendental Idealism: an Interpretation and Defense, Yale University Press, New Haven.

Caimi, M. (2002). Leçons sur Kant, La déduction transcendantale dans la deuxième édition de la Critique de la raison pure. Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne.Ferrari, J. (1964), « Kant et la recension Garve-Feder de la ‘Critique de la raison pure’ », Les Études philosophiques, vol.1, pp. 11-47.

Fonseca, R. D (2013), “Aparência, presentação e objeto. Notas sobre a ambivalência de ‘Erscheinung’ na teoria kantiana da experiência”, Studia Kantiana 14, pp. 80-99.

Freuler, L. (1992), Kant et la Métaphysique Spéculative, Vrin, Paris.

Garve, C. (1991), « Zugabe zu den Göttingischen Anzeigen von gelehrten Sachen. Göttingen », 1782. In: Rezensionen zur kantischen philosophie, Albert Landau Verlag, Bebra.



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Guyer, P. (1987), Kant and the Claims of Knowledge, Cambridge University Press, New York.

Kant, E. (1902-1983), Kant’s gesammelte Schriften herausgegeben von der Königlich Preußischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 29 vol., de Gruyter, Berlin-NewYork.

. (1891), Prolégomènes à toute metaphysique future, trad. Brunschvicg, Librairie Hachette, Paris.

. (2008). Prolégomènes à toute metaphysique future, trad. L. Guillermit, Vrin, Paris.

. (2009). Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics That Will Be Able to Come Forward as Science. Translated and edited, with an introduction, and selections from the Critique of Pure Reason, by Gary Hatfield,. University Press, Cambridge.

. (2011). Réflexions Métaphysiques (1780-1789), présentation, traductions et annotation par Sophie Grapote, J. Vrin, Paris.

Klotz, C (2013). “‘A existência da coisa que aparece’”: sobre a gênese do projeto da Refutação do Idealismo nos Prolegômenos”, non publié.

Licht dos Santos, P.R. (2009), “Representação, Objeto e Unidade da Consciência no Idealismo Crítico”, in: Kant e o kantismo - Heranças Interpretativas. Org. Clélia. A. Martins e Ubirajara R. A. Marques. Brasiliense: São Paulo: pp. 130-155.

. (2012), “A unidade da intuição e a unidade do conceito”, in: Comentários às obras de Kant: Crítica da Razão Pura. Org. Joel Thiago Klein, Florianópolis: NEFIPO, pp. 145-177.

. (2015), “O enigma da representação na Crítica da razão pura: entre epistemologia e idealismo absoluto”, Revista de Filosofia Aurora, v.27, n.42, pp. 733-758. Longuenesse, B. (2000), Kant and the Capacity to Judge. Trans. Charles T. Wolfe. University Press, Princeton.

Pollok, K. (2012), “Wie sind Erfahrungsurteile möglich?”. Kants Prolegomena, Ein Kooperativer Kommentar, Hamburg, Klosterman, pp, 85-103.

Riehl, A (1908), Der Philosophische Kriticismus: Geschichte und System, Band I, 2. Aufl., Engelmann, Leipzig.

Rousset, B. (1967), La Doctrine Kantienne de l` Objectivité. Vrin, Paris.

Vleeschauwer, H. J. de, (1976), La Déduction Transcendantale dans l` Oeuvre de Kant, II, ed. por L. W. Beck, Garland Publishing, Inc., New York and London.



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The Understanding in Transition: Fascicles X, XI and VII of

Opus postumum


TERRENCE THOMSON*


CRMEP, Kingston University, London


Abstract

This essay investigates the transformation of the faculty of understanding in Kant’s Transition from Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science to Physics drafts found in Opus postumum. I argue that in fascicles X and XI Kant implicitly reverses the architectonic order of sensibility and understanding. Without an account of this reversal, Kant’s critique of Isaac Newton’s conception of phenomena and the so called Selbstsetzungslehre (doctrine of self-positing) in fascicle VII fall apart. I argue that what is at stake is a challenge Kant makes to his own presuppositions and a challenge to the Kantian philosopher who wishes to stay with a strictly ‘critical’ Kant.


Keywords

faculties, understanding, sensibility, architectonic, natural science, phenomena


Introduction

The architectonic order of the faculties is a much-discussed topic in Kant scholarship, particularly the role of the understanding in Critique of Pure Reason. Much less discussed, however, is the architectonic position of the understanding in the Transition from Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science to Physics (Übergang von den metaphysische Anfangsgründe der Naturwissenschaft zur Physik), Kant’s last, unfinished work found in Opus postumum. In this essay, I seek to address this by suggesting an implicit transformation of the understanding in fascicles X, XI and VII.

The question of the transformation of the understanding is a controversial topic in Opus postumum scholarship, since it indicates that Kant undermines the critical edifice at the level of faculty – a major claim. Early literature on Opus postumum simply shrugged off this topic by appealing to the deterioration of Kant’s mental state; if Kant made fundamental changes to the critical edifice we should not take this seriously, since he was


* PhD candidate at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Kingston University, London. Contact email: [email protected]



[Recibido: 18 de enero de 2019

Aceptado: 20 de mayo de 2020]


Terrence Thomson


not in his right mind. Whilst most modern literature does not agree with this tactic, most does agree that Transition presents no major change to the faculty of understanding. It will be such an opinion that this essay challenges. Hence, the basic questions underpinning this essay are, (1) what justifications are there for the transformation of the understanding in Transition; (2) if it is the case, what is the genesis of this transformation; and (3) how can we account for it in the wider context of the Transition?

The structure of this essay is as follows. In section 1, I investigate a paragraph mentioning the term ‘Sinnenwelt’ in Critique of Pure Reason, to suggest the conflation of the faculties, despite Kant’s attempts to keep them separate. I trace this issue back to the Inaugural Dissertation of 1770, exploring the faculties as they are sketched out in §23. By opening this connection I seek to show the fundamental plasticity of the understanding in Kant’s corpus, hence opening the way for the more explicit transformation in Transition.

In section 2, I present the main thesis of the essay. I start from a discussion of the imponderabilis and the observer in the experimental physics side of Transition. Drawing on this I plot out three stages of the transformation of the understanding: first, as a faculty of production via the act of insertion (hineinlegen); second, as a faculty anticipating sensibility; third, as preceding sensibility. This effectively reverses the primacy of sensibility, meaning that the understanding directly inserts content into sensibility, making experience possible. This is a radical shift away from the critical edifice.

In section 3 I show how the reversal opens a new slant on the meaning of ‘phenomenon’ in Kant’s view. This also plays into and is informed by Kant’s critique of Isaac Newton’s Principia in fascicle XI, which I investigate. From a more general perspective, this questions whether the observations made by physicists are direct, realist cognitions or whether we must account for observation as an act preceded by the conceptual genesis of the observer.

In section 4, I show how this reversal allows Kant to formulate the so called Selbstsetzungslehre, which in turn modifies the spontaneity/receptivity divide, indexing both as actus. My aim is to show that without an architectonic reversal, fascicle VII would simply not make sense.

In advancing this essay we gain the possibility of opening Opus postumum to further critical study and table a fundamental transformation to the critical edifice more generally.


  1. A Problem in the Sinnenwelt

    In analytic philosophy of science, questions about ‘theory-ladenness’ abound thick and fast. One thinker of this theory, Paul Feyerabend, presents a particularly stark image of the sciences in this regard. He asks a fundamental question about ‘whether experience can be regarded as a true source and foundation (testing ground) of knowledge’ in a natural science context, claiming that ‘a natural science without sensory elements’ must be possible (Feyerabend 1985, p.132). It is with this image that I think the discussion of a transformation of the understanding can be framed in relation to Kant’s work, especially


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    the Transition. For Feyerabend’s question – and the whole analytic problematic around how best to account for theory and observation – is a fundamentally epistemological- ontological one, and it is precisely along these lines that the architectonic of the faculties in Transition unfolds. But before visiting Transition we must first uncover the basic problematic Kant works from, which I claim can be found in his earlier work.

    In the second edition Introduction of Critique of Pure Reason, Kant says that the faculty of understanding forms one of ‘two stems of human cognition,’ the other being sensibility, both of which ‘may perhaps arise from a common but to us unknown root.’ (KrV A15/B29). The division of these faculties describes two reciprocal relations to representations: sensibility as the receptive faculty of intuition and understanding as the spontaneous faculty of thought and concepts. Kant tells us repeatedly that one is not possible without the other, that for experience to be possible both must simultaneously operate in the subject, and the first Critique is very much based on this simultaneity.

    Yet a peculiar seriality emerges between the faculties in the first Critique, wherein sensibility precedes the understanding. One of the places this is most apparent is in the famous ‘stepladder’ (Stufenleiter) passage of Transcendental Dialectic (KrV A320/B376- 7).1 In this section, Kant describes sensibility and understanding as forming distinct halves of a staggered/stepped (gestuft) relationship whereby sensibility passes raw content to the understanding, which it organizes according to the categories. It is, in fact, the absolute receptivity of sensibility which first makes experience of the object possible and without it no experiential material could be given. The sequential theme is continued in the Amphiboly of Concepts of Reflection, which is specifically designed to keep sensibility and understanding from inadvertently crossing paths by introducing a demand for the precedence of sensibility: ‘The understanding, namely, demands first that something be given (at least in the concept) in order to be able to determine it in a certain way.’ (KrV A267/B322-3). The overarching reason for Kant’s sequential ordering of the faculties here is to critique the rationalist metaphysics popular at the time, which consistently involves a conflation according to Kant. In this regard, the empiricist sentiment is very much emphasized, as the words of John Locke demonstrate: ‘the understanding is not much unlike a closet wholly shut from light, with only some little opening left to let in external visible resemblances or ideas of things without’ (Locke 1995, §17) and this perhaps acts as an historical anchor to the seriality of the faculties more generally. Both the first Critique and the quote from Locke put forward the assertion that the understanding depends on sensibility for its content, i.e., it does not create content. Broadly, this forms the architectonic relationship of the understanding and sensibility in the first Critique. Although they are supposed to be reciprocal and simultaneous to ward off the error of rationalist metaphysics, sensibility must serially precede the understanding.

    But this seriality is not without problems in Critique of Pure Reason nor is it entirely un-mysterious.2 The first problem is how Kant can maintain a genuinely reciprocal


    1 Also see (Caygill 2007, pp.18-9).

    2 Deleuze notes that the ‘accord between these two faculties is no less “mysterious”’ just because a seriality has been introduced. (Deleuze 2008, p.19).

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    simultaneity of the faculties alongside this seriality; does this not represent a blatant indecision in Kant’s thinking? Another is how Kant might distinguish between a simultaneity and a conflation of the faculties. With regards the latter problem, it is useful to start with a revealing passage in the Antinomy of Pure Reason, Section Nine:


    Since, as we have several times shown, there is not as much transcendental use of pure understanding as there is of concepts of reason, because the absolute totality of series of conditions in the Sinnenwelt is itself based solely on a transcendental use of reason, which demands this unconditional whole from what it presupposes is a thing-in-itself. (KrV A515/B543, t.m).


    The German noun ‘Sinnenwelt’ is usually translated ‘sensory world’ or ‘world of senses’ in English, which is largely uncontested in Kant literature.3 I would, however, like to draw attention to the complexity of Kant’s use of the word in this context. As a noun ‘Sinnen’ means ‘thought’ or ‘meditation’, and it can also be used as a verb (sinnen) meaning, ‘to plot’ or ‘to devise’. Kant does not use the word as a verb so it appears that the literal translation of ‘Sinnenwelt’ should be ‘thought world’. Yet, the noun from which Sinnenwelt is actually constructed, the pluralized form of ‘Sinn’, pertains to physiological sense or sensibility so is translated, ‘world of senses’. I do not want to semantically contest the meaning of words, but I would like to suggest that an implicit ambiguity resides in Kant’s use of the term ‘Sinnenwelt’. Although Kant uses the term in an apparently easy and relatively unproblematic way, it does not clearly mark the sequential line between sensibility and understanding. Further, if we cache the term in the original ambition of Kant’s architectonic of the understanding and sensibility, as reciprocally simultaneous, the paragraph seems to lose its point. For this reason, I argue that we read Sinnenwelt as an indication of a tacit condensation of the two terms.

    To flesh out this claim, when we consider the wider context of Kant’s discussion in the quoted paragraph above, we can see how the two poles of sensibility and understanding may easily become ambiguously conflated rather than systematically simultaneous. Kant is trying to show that a totality of conditions supporting experience is demanded by reason as an unconditional whole. But this totality can only be answered by a regulative idea of reason (i.e., it cannot be given in sensibility). Yet Kant tells us that the Sinnenwelt contains the totality of conditions and is based on regulative ideas of reason. If we read Sinnenwelt unambiguously in the register of sensibility alone – as pure receptivity4 – Kant seems to be contradicting himself, which is why he goes on to say, ‘the Sinnenwelt, however, contains nothing like that completeness.’ (KrV A516/B544, t.m). We are thus forced to introduce into the Sinnenwelt a dimension of the thought world, if only for a moment, and in doing so we introduce the possibility of an inadvertent conflation of sensibility and understanding, which is not explicitly laid out.


    3 E.g., (Martin 1974, p.190).

    4 See (KrV A68/B93).


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    The wider historical significance of such a reading is that it propels the first Critique back to the rational metaphysics Kant wants to refute. The first node in this line is the conflation of thinking and sensory awareness found in Descartes’ Principles of Philosophy, where he says, ‘Hence, thinking is to be identified here not merely with understanding, willing and imagining, but also with sensory awareness.’ (Descartes 1999, p.162). The second and perhaps more relevant node is found in Leibniz’s conflation of the sensible and intelligible. Of particular note is the 1702 letter to Queen Sophie Charlotte of Prussia, where Leibniz defines three types of notion: sensible, sensible and intelligible and intelligible (Leibniz 1989, p.188). The first of these notions is ‘confused,’ which is explored a few pages later where Leibniz says, ‘The senses provide us material for reasoning, and we never have thoughts so abstract that something from the senses is not intermixed with them’ (Leibniz 1989, p.191). For Leibniz, no thought is without an element of sensibility and no sense is without an element of thought, which leads Kant to say that he ‘intellectualized the appearances’ (KrV A271/B327). It is this Leibnizian conflation Kant seeks to upend by introducing architectonic seriality into the order of the faculties.

    It is perhaps first in On the Form and Principles of the Sensible and the Intelligible World (Inaugural Dissertation) of 1770 that Kant takes issue with the Leibnizian node by attempting to systematically distinguish sensibility from understanding.5 The need for this clear distinction was prompted by the work of Johann H. Lambert, a Swiss polymath with whom Kant corresponded. Lambert had begun to disentangle the term ‘architectonic’ from its rationalist metaphysical context of ontology – as it was used in Baumgarten’s Metaphysica, for example – to define it as a methodological tool for making systematic divisions and determining the true seriality of concepts.6 The distinction at stake and the means for making it in the Inaugural Dissertation – a text Lambert read and praised – can be said to pervade the whole framework of the first Critique, 7 although there is a complicated movement between the two works. That being so, after reading Inaugural Dissertation Lambert pointed out to Kant the difficulty of systematically keeping sensibility and understanding separate from one another (Br 10:105), but Kant had already tried to account for this problem in a subtle yet innovative way in Inaugural Dissertation, which Lambert may have missed.

    In Section 5, §23 of Inaugural Dissertation, Kant raises a curious problem. He talks of ‘the infection of sensitive cognition by cognition deriving from the understanding.’ (MSI 2:411). This gives us a clear indication of Kant’s thinking at this point: rationalist metaphysics had allowed for a disease-like understanding to infect sensibility at a devastating cost. He goes on to show, under Lockean auspices, how such an infection leads to ‘illusions of the understanding,’ best stated in the expression, ‘metaphysical fallacy of subreption’ (MSI 2:412) whereby a shaky assumption is made based on misguided



    5 See especially Section 2, entitled, ‘On the Distinction Between Sensible Things and Intelligible Things in General’, (MSI 2:392-8).

    6 See (Lambert 2009, pp.267-8).

    7 See (MSI 2:395) for comparison.

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    reasoning. ‘Subreption’ is appropriated by Kant from the Leibnizian Christian Wolff, who derived the term from a concept in Roman law denoting an act of theft through concealment. Wolff uses the term to mark the incorrect conflation of experience and knowledge. 8 When Kant uses the term, however, he means something like ‘tacit assumption’, as when we assume that something is the case when the actual case is concealed from us. Although the first Critique encrypts a general opposition to subreption, the issue seems to be transposed into the Transcendental Dialectic, where Kant redresses the term as ‘transcendental illusion’. These ‘infections’ now appear to be built-in transcendental conditions of the possibility of experience, which arise from the ‘unnoticed influence of sensibility on understanding’ (KrV A294/B350). This is the same dynamic as in Inaugural Dissertation but the prime influencer has now switched and when subreption is mentioned directly it is in relation to an error of judgement rather than solely understanding or sensibility (KrV A643/B671). In the Inaugural Dissertation the understanding does the influencing or ‘infecting’, whereas in the first Critique it is sensibility which intervenes. This marks a deep rejoinder in Kant’s corpus, suggesting that a reversal of the roles has occurred between the two works.

    Before moving on, it is important to note that in Kant’s attempt to make the understanding and sensibility simultaneously reciprocal in the first Critique, he cannot help but fall back into a position of seriality, whereby sensibility precedes the understanding to avoid (a) rationalist metaphysics (dogmatism) and (b) a complete conflation (amphiboly). From a wider philosophical perspective, at stake is a challenge to the notion that sensibility and understanding can be stripped of each other or be independent in the context of the first Critique prompting us to follow John McDowell’s thinking, ‘that the understanding is already inextricably implicated in the deliverances of sensibility themselves.’ (McDowell 1996, p.26). The Sinnenwelt opens a key clue (Leitfaden) in this debate in that it marks a wavering stamped into Kant’s thinking. Thus, any interpretation of Kant premised on the rigid separability or systematic simultaneity of sensibility and understanding is put into question. This is Johann August Eberhard’s unique insight. He claims that although Kant wants to work from the basis of a complete architectonic division and seriality of the faculties, this proves extremely difficult without tacitly falling back into the Leibnizian conflation of the sensible and intelligible. 9 It also indicates that to understand these faculties in a way that makes sense we must be prepared to contextualize them as faculties in transition, something that Kant’s early critics such as Eberhard, did not and perhaps could not do.


  2. The Wound Before the Blow: Fascicles X and XI

I now move on to Transition and how the understanding/sensibility relationship develops in fascicles X and XI which were written between 1799 and 1800. I argue that included in these fascicles is a transformative architectonic line wherein the roles of sensibility and


8 See (Sng 2010, p.79).

9 See (Allison 1973).


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understanding are twisted and contorted, culminating in the total primacy of the understanding. With the preceding section in mind, this should not come as a surprise to us and hence the object of this section is to explore the genesis of this modification within Opus postumum as well as provide a defence of its actuality.

By way of a brief contextual background, we must recount the structure of Transition. Kant aligns a priori cognition with metaphysics, which has the job of interconnecting disparate elemental, dynamic concepts (e.g., attractive and repulsive force, cohesion, density of matter) into a systematic unity Kant calls the Elementary System of the Moving Forces of Matter (Elementarsystem). 10 Metaphysics does not possess the capacity to form the empirical constituents of the Elementarsystem, instead it organizes empirical facts given through the activities of physics, according to conceptual principles. In other words, in so far as the Transition is concerned, metaphysics has been purged of all empirical content, whilst physics is conceived of in a double sense: physica rationalis and physica specialis – or in contemporary terms, theoretical physics and special or experimental physics. Kant illustrates this by distinguishing between conceptual, formal principles and empirical principles in the Xth fascicle of the Transition:


Physics is the doctrinal system of the moving forces of matter in so far as they are objectively contained in a natural system. It contains an absolute whole of empirical cognition of outer sensory objects (Sinnengegenstande), and as a science is called upon to attain the work of natural research (Naturforschung), whose material (empirical) principle is based on observation and experiment. The formal principle, however – how and what one researches – shall be based on a priori principles alone. (OP 22:319, p.106, t.m).11


The formal principle is called upon to provide the conceptual orientation of investigation – the ‘how’ and the ‘what’ – and experimental physics, in turn, conducts empirical, investigatory research into nature (Naturforschung) using the tools of experiment and observation. These tools of experimental physics form the genesis of a change in the understanding/sensibility relationship which starts in Kant’s discussion of the lever-arm or scale (Hebelarm).

In fascicle VIII, written between October and December 1798, Kant says that the concept of ponderability of matter, or matter’s tendency to be a significant, measurable quantity, ‘presupposes an instrument for the measurement of this moving force (of weight) in the form of a lever-arm (Hebelarm)’ (OP 22:138, p.46). Following this, Kant says we are also inclined to account for the ponderability of the lever-arm itself along the same lines as the matter it weighs, but that this is impossible. The lever-arm cannot possibly measure itself in the act of weighing, just as it is impossible to ‘lift oneself up by one’s own bootstraps,’ as the saying goes. Thus, if we conceive of the fact that matter can be


10 See (OP 21:181-6, pp.58-61) for a schematic of the Elementarsystem.

11 Also see (OP 22:355, p.115).

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weighed, we must introduce a mysterious ‘something’ to account for the matter constitutive of the lever-arm, which is unweighable:

Thus the ponderability (Ponderabilität) of matter is not a property knowable a priori according to the mere concept of the quantity of matter; it is, rather, physically conditioned and requires the presupposition of an internally moving matter which results in the immobility of the parts in contact with one another [in the lever-arm], by itself being mobile inside this matter […] Thus, even ponderability (Ponderabilität) (represented subjectively as the experiment of weighing) will require the assumption of a matter which is not ponderable (wägbar) (imponderabilis); for, otherwise, the condition for ponderability would be extended to infinity, and thus lack a foundation.’ (OP 22:138, p.46).12


In this passage, Kant considers the ponderability of matter as an external, physical correlate which rests upon an internal, non-physical substrate, the imponderabilis. In other words, the lever-arm invokes a substratum of matter which cannot be observed but is nonetheless present as a necessary condition of the matter being weighed. Such a view was not uncommon in seventeenth and eighteenth-century natural science, where it was postulated that an imponderable, invisible fluid allowed heat to travel. The difference in Kant’s reading of the term is that he tries to establish its place in the critical edifice and in the context of Transition this poses a problem since it cannot be ‘written in’ to a conceptual schema, nor is it governed by the categories, nor can it be simply equated to sensibility. Hence, whilst the imponderabilis is the condition of possibility of the empirically determinable weight of matter, the matter of the lever-arm itself cannot be accounted for directly. It thus lies in a transitorial site; it is neither an entirely empirical object given in sensibility nor an entirely conceptual object given in the understanding.

Later, in fascicle X, written between August 1799 and April 1800, the imponderabilis leads into a methodological engagement, which is the point at which the understanding begins to play a role: ‘Physics is a system, but we cannot cognize (erkennen) a system as such unless we ourselves insert (hineinlegen) the manifold of an aggregate according to a priori principles.’ (OP 22:299, p.103, t.m and italics added). What Kant seems to be saying here is that the observer – in an experimental physics setting

– actively inserts (hineinlegen) content which is not derived from sensibility – i.e., a priori principles. We can thus see the problematic of observation and insertion (hineinlegen), gleaned from experimental physics, open onto a philosophical-architectonic issue.13 By venturing this route Kant intimately connects the act of insertion with the understanding, thus morphing the latter:


The understanding must therefore synthetically insert (hineinlegen) the elements of sensible cognition into a system of the moving forces to make an experience;


12 Also see (OP 22:260).

13 As Hansgeorg Hoppe notes, ‘the concept of insertion (hineinlegen) is the central concept of fascicle X and XI, which is at the same time clearly related to the experimental approach of physics.’ (Hoppe 1969, p.117, m.t).

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hence, not from experience, but for experience and the possibility of inserting (hineinlegen) it into an empirical whole as a system of physics. (OP 22:316-7, m.t).


This epistemic act creates the possibility of experience by inserting content directly into sensible cognition and does not stem from the merely organizational operation of the categories, but the active, contentful intervention of the understanding into sensibility.

To account for the stakes of this reading, we may be tempted to return to the first Critique, where, in the second edition Introduction, Kant says, ‘we can cognize of things a priori only what we ourselves have put (legen) into them’ (KrV Bxviii). On the face of it, this is strikingly similar to the passages from fascicle X, e.g., ‘We can extract nothing other from our sense-representations than that which we have inserted (hineingelegt) (with consciousness of its presentation) for the empirical representation of ourselves – that is, by the understanding (intellectus exhibit phaenomena sensum).’ (OP 22:343, p.112). Erich Adickes reads passages like this one in a purely logical key, stating that the insertion is of a ‘categorial function’ (Kategorialfunktionen) (Adickes 1920, p.633).14 But it is clear on a basic terminological level that these two passages differ. The second sentence claims not only that we a priori take out of things what we put into them via the categories,15 but that we empirically take out of things only what the understanding inserts into sensibility. It is in this sense that we can understand Kant’s Latin inscription as marking a departure of how the understanding operates: ‘intellectus exhibit phaenomena sensum’; ‘the understanding exhibits the phenomena of sense’. The understanding can no longer be a simple organizational faculty in need of material given to it but an originary and productive- creative faculty, which does not simply inflect observation but gives rise to it.

We may still object, however, that no change occurs since in Critique of Pure Reason the understanding is also a productive faculty endowed with spontaneity. This is especially the case in the Transcendental Deductions where Kant considers the understanding as the spontaneous act of combining appearances to find common rules. At the beginning of the B Deduction, Kant says: ‘for it is an act (Actus) of the spontaneity of the power of representation, and, since one must call the latter understanding, all combination (Verbindung) […] is an act of the understanding (Verstandeshandlung).’ (KrV B130, t.m). This is pointed up by Gottfried Martin, who emphasizes the understanding as a spontaneous power of unifying material via the categories, concluding, quite radically, that the ‘understanding underlies the sensible world.’ (Martin 1974, p.193, italics added). 16 This would mean that the evolution of the understanding is already implicitly folded into the first Critique and that the Transition does not actually change anything per se, but merely unfolds this implicit evolution.

Yet this perspective would ignore the fundamental differences at stake between the first Critique and Transition. In Critique of Pure Reason the understanding is simply not a


14 Also see Smith (1992, pp.614-5) for one of the first agreements in the English literature with Adickes on this point.

15 In passages where Kant uses the term ‘hineinlegen’ e.g., (KrV A125) he refers to the insertion of ‘unity’ or

form according to the categories.

16 Also see (Martin 1974, pp.124-5).

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productive-creative faculty since it always needs material given to it, which even Martin admits: ‘Human understanding is […] dependent on sensibility, it does not simply create its objects but has to have something given to it’ (Martin 1974, p.163).17 Hence, despite Kant’s attempts at shaping the understanding into a spontaneous faculty in the first Critique, it essentially remains a solicitor, always trying to organize the files of its bothersome, disorganized client, sensibility;18 it relies on sensibility for its content and this belies the productive-creative core of spontaneity. 19 Although this argument is by no means exhaustive, it highlights why we cannot account for the transformative arch of the understanding by simply returning to the first Critique as though this evolution were implicitly folded into it.

Returning to fascicle X, it must be admitted that Kant does primarily attempt to stick to the architectonic seriality of the faculties but it soon becomes clear that this is no longer a viable possibility. The changed role of the understanding begins to call into question the basic critical premise that it only works with concepts:


All our cognition consists of two constituents: intuition and concept, which both lie a priori at the ground of cognition; and the understanding is that form of connection (Verknüpfung) of both into unity of the manifold in the subject, where, through that which was subjectively thought is represented objectively, as given. (OP 22:415, p.181, t.m and italics added).20


In this sentence the formulation of the understanding indexes two subtle changes: first, the change from an act to a form, second, from engaging in connection to being a connection. In the Transcendental Dialectic, ‘connection’ (Verknüpfung) denotes the standing together and linking of concepts into a nexus and is technically distinguished from ‘interconnection’ (Zusammenhang), 21 which denotes the more integral interpenetrating principle of unification or synthesis – as in the interconnection of metaphysics and physics. In the sentence from fascicle X above, the understanding is aligned with connection (Verknüpfung), but not only between concepts, it is now a form of connection between concept and intuition; it connects both into a chain. This is a curious shift, for although the understanding is a faculty of making connections (Verknüpfung) and interconnections (Zusammenhang) in Critique of Pure Reason, it is never considered as itself a mediating form of connection or interconnection. 22 Nor is the understanding


17 This is also in line with the Jäsche Logic, where the distinction is made between the ‘lower faculty’ of sensibility and the ‘higher faculty’ of understanding ‘on the ground that sensibility gives the mere material for thought, but the understanding rules over this material and brings it under rules of concepts.’ (Log 9:36). 18 E.g., ‘[The understanding] is always busy poring through the appearances with the aim of finding some sort of rule in them.’ (KrV A126).

19 Also see (Massimi 2018, p.170) on the ‘cookie-cutter’ conception of the faculty of understanding, which I remain close to here.

20 Also see (OP 22:418, p.183).

21 See (KrV A643/B671).

22 Although one could certainly argue that imagination occupies this role as a function of understanding, e.g., as does (Heidegger 1997, pp.62-64) and (Deleuze 2008, p.15).

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considered a passage connecting empirical representation with the categories in the Deductions of the first Critique, where transcendental schematism – an operation of the imagination23 – is vital in making formal connections. According to fascicle X it seems as though the understanding directly creates the integral connection between subjective and objective representation, or intuition and concept, which marks a widening in its field of operation.

Thus, the understanding transitions away from the conception in the first Critique, but there is also an internal transformation within the Transition itself, which we will move onto now.

In fascicle XI Kant ‘tumbles down the rabbit-hole’ so to speak, by appending a series of rapid transformations that implicitly challenge the understanding/sensibility relationship. I will quote three representative passages, which I interpret as a single trajectorial arch. I would like to add one caveat to this schematic, however; this transition should be contextualized as a problematic, especially in relation to the second transitionary position. This is because in these quotations we still see elements of Kant’s previous distinctions bubbling and jostling, such that we might frame these steps as segments from a continual tension.24


  1. ‘the understanding anticipates (anticipire) the influence on the senses’ (OP 22:509, p.150).


  2. ‘the understanding cannot begin from perception (empirical cognition with consciousness), [if it is] to determine the intuiting subject into a complex of representations, as cognition of the object (objects). It [the understanding] contains a priori the formal element of a system of perceptions prior to these empirical cognitions’ (OP 22:439, p.161, t.m) and ‘The faculty of making experience is the understanding’ (OP 22:497, m.t).


  3. ‘The material from which experience is originally woven is not the perception of objects [...] – not from the material sense receives – but from what the understanding makes from the formal element of the senses/intuition’ (OP 22:447, p.165, t.m) and hence, ‘The object (Object) is neither idealistically nor realistically given, it is, on the contrary not given at all, but is merely thought (non dari, sed intelligi potest).’ (OP 22:441, p.162, t.m).25


    Whilst these phases raise many issues in connection with Kant’s corpus, I shall only home in on the issues posed to the understanding as we have explored it so far. Because of the rapid change between these phases, it will be helpful to briefly unpack them.

    1. The understanding anticipates the material given to/by sensibility. In this formulation, the understanding anticipates or expects empirical content before it has been


      23 See (KrV A179/B140).

      24 My thanks go to Stephen Howard for his helpful comments on this.

      25 The Latin quotation reads: ‘It cannot be given, but it can be understood’.

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      given to/by sensibility. In this connection, we are flung back into the world of Inaugural Dissertation, where the understanding ‘infects’ sensibility rather than the other way around. But by this point Kant is working with a model of the understanding as insertion into sensibility for the sake of experience. Hence, its anticipation of sensibility is not only an infection but an indication of the possibility of experience, or in other words, the understanding anticipates experiential material by actively inserting material into sensibility.

    2. The understanding makes and is prior to experience and empirical cognition. This leads to the relatively small step which involves premising the possibility of experience entirely on the understanding’s creation. In this phase the understanding not only anticipates material received and given by sensibility, nor does it merely indicate the possibility of experience, it contains the material before the subject receives anything sensible. It seems that in this phase the understanding is uncoupled from sensibility and is no longer sequentially reliant on it to receive material, rather, the understanding now autonomously generates its own material which is the basis for experience. It is with this phase that Kant undoes the Stufenleiter series, ‘senses […] understanding […] reason’ (KrV A298/B355) and the simultaneous reciprocity wished for in the first Critique so that the understanding now ‘makes’ experience and precedes sensibility.26

    3. The understanding thinks the object in place of its ‘givenness’ in sensibility – the object is only thought. In a crucial and final step Kant sees the object not as given, but as thought or perhaps created. This last phase is dubious but demonstrates a crystallization of the new understanding/sensibility relation. Kant now contends that objects are made by the understanding to such a degree that they are only thought, rather than given, hence the Latin inscription: ‘It cannot be given, but it can be understood’. Sensibility becomes entirely subordinate and reliant on the understanding as the seat of possibility, receiving only what the understanding has inserted. Hence, the object is thought instead of passively given.

From this transformative arch a major question is put to the possibility of a materialist dimension in Kant’s fascicle XI discussions. The materialist contention is compellingly argued by Jeffrey Edwards, who proposes that the ether constitutes a transcendental material condition for sensible experience (Edwards 2000, pp.163-4). But this is problematized by the preceding argument in that it would mean the understanding elementally inserts the ether, which could not then be a transcendental material condition, but a transcendental conceptual condition. This discussion leads back to a general problematic root which inhibits the entirety of the Transition: how material forces affect a subject that creates the concept of attractive and repulsive force prior to the empirical- sensible event itself; 27 and stated more generally: how the understanding determines


26 Bryan Wesley Hall claims ‘we make everything ourselves’ is phrased in a purely organizational key. That is, that we simply organize perceptions emanating from the ether. This seems a weak interpretation since it insufficiently accounts for the radical thesis of the understanding ‘making’. See (Hall 2017, p.192).

27 As fascicle X makes clear: ‘For experience does not come of its own accord as influence of the moving forces on sense, but must be made.’ (OP 22:320, p.107). Also see (OP 21:477, p.41 and 22:408, p.123).

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material before it is given in sensibility.28 In fascicle XI Kant seems clear that to answer these questions effectively we must change the order of the faculties: we only experience what the understanding makes possible to begin with, which in this case are the affections of force. So, this cannot be read in an entirely materialist sense, which rests on the architectonic primacy allotted to sensibility in the first Critique.

But there is, nonetheless, something stubborn and irrational in this reversal as when

F.H. Bradley spoke of a world where ‘Death would come before birth, the blow would follow the wound, and all must seem to be irrational.’ (Bradley 1916, p.215). That is, Kant essentially seems to be arguing for the precedence of the (non-categorial) conceptual over the sensible, which cannot square up to the critical edifice by any measure. It requires an immense amount of unpacking to try and switch from the standard critical perspective, based on traditional causality, to a more fluid perspective, which leads some commentators to profoundly question this thesis.

Frederick Beiser is explicit about not believing the faculties to change in Opus postumum. His argument runs as follows. After detailing the fluidity of the understanding and sensibility, he goes on to question whether this constitutes a ‘transformation or revision’ of the faculties (Beiser 2008, pp.195-6). He answers in the negative, claiming that Kant retains his ‘old dualisms’, or his ‘continuing allegiance to the distinction between understanding and sensibility.’ (Beiser 2008, pp.197-8). Understanding must still rely on sensibility, otherwise Kant’s whole critical architectonic is jeopardized; he would have to account for a modification to the theory of space set out in Transcendental Aesthetic as well as revise the schematism and perhaps even the Deductions. Furthermore, there are textual elements in Opus postumum which seem to contradict this thesis, showing Kant’s allegiance to the Stufenleiter rendering of the faculties. How should we account for these moments?

My retort is that Kant works out of a changed notion of architectonic, an architectonic building-site of transition, which allows for conflations that would otherwise result in error, but this is still tacit in Kant’s thinking, he has not yet formalized it. Thus, Kant does not abolish the critical distinction between the two faculties (he remains faithful to their difference) but he tends towards reversing them for the simple reason that later fascicles depend on this, such as fascicle VII, written directly after fascicle XI. For, as we will see in section 4, without the reversal of the faculties the Selbstsetzungslehre falls apart. Further, Kant is playful with the relationship between the faculties, sometimes insisting on the precedence of the forms of sensibility (space and time), sometimes on the precedence of the understanding (especially the synthetic unity of apperception). But as stated above, if we fail to note the changed methodological space within which Kant works, we fail to note the micro-transformations taking place, one of which is that made to the understanding. Hence, although sometimes Kant appears to restate the Stufenleiter formulation of the faculties, we must place this in the wider context of transformation occurring in fascicle XI, and indeed in the whole Transition site. This can explain the lead-



28 This is effectively identical to Kant’s critical question of how synthetic a priori cognition is possible.

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up to fascicle VII, where, one of the concluding thoughts of fascicle XI is taken to its extreme: that the ‘material element of sensible representation lies in perception, i.e., in the act through which the subject affects itself and becomes an appearance of an object for itself.’ (OP 22:502, p.146 t.m). 29


  1. A Problematization of Phenomena

    We can also conjecture a wider problematization around Kant’s notion of ‘phenomenon’ here. Phenomena in the first Critique were supposed to pertain to objects given through sensibility, divorced from any conceptual engendering, but in light of the architectonic reversal this no longer seems possible. A further issue is how this problematic is expressed in Kant’s discussion of Newton’s Book III of Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (Philosophae Naturalis Principia Mathematica), for one of the main themes of fascicle XI is a critique of Newton’s magnum opus.30 I claim that Kant’s interrogation of the sensibility/understanding relationship questions Newton’s famous ‘deduction from the phenomena,’ but ultimately questions the assumptions about phenomena in Critique of Pure Reason.

    In On the Ground of the Distinction of all Objects in General into Phenomena and Noumena in the first Critique, Kant connects phenomena with the empirical and sensible (KrV A248/B305nC) and noumena with abstractions of sensibility by the understanding (KrV A255/B311). After showing the impossibility of having one without the other, Kant connects the two terms to the conceptions of mundis sensibilis and mundis intelligibilis.31 The former, mundis sensibilis, pertains to the ‘sum total of appearances,’ which is intuited (this is correlated to theoretical astronomy, ‘which expounds the mere observation of the starry heavens’), and the latter, mundis intelligibilis, pertains to the interconnection (Zusammenhang) of appearances which is thought (this is correlated to ‘contemplative astronomy’ such as Newton’s laws of gravitation). The latter makes ‘an intelligible world representable’, or, a world of understanding something phenomenally given (KrV A256- 7/B312-3). So here, Kant’s theorization of the place-holder of phenomena is quite bound up with Newton’s use but in a very peculiar way. By aligning Newton’s phenomena with mundis intelligibilis, Kant effectively places them in the register of noumena, obviously a contradictory move, since Newton could not have ‘deduced’ his theory from noumena. So what does Newton say about phenomena?

    To begin an exegesis of what this term means in Newton’s system, we must start with the basic methodological premise that Newton claims to have no metaphysical edifice in his work, since he is not engaging in formal questions of how we know, but with the


    29 I am in agreement with Lehmann in foregrounding the aspect of the subject as an appearance here: ‘The subject posits itself not merely as cogito, rather as an object in appearance, as psychophysical subject, as an organism.’ (Lehmann 1969, p.409, m.t). Also see (Basile 2013, p.135-7) for an overview of Lehmann’s understanding of the Selbstsetzungslehre.

    30 See (Caygill 2005, p.33). See (Tuschling 1971, p.91) for a list of references to the ‘Newton-Polemik’ in

    Opus postumum.

    31 Sinnenwelt (world of senses) – see section 1 of this essay – and Verstandeswelt (world of understanding), respectively.

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    mathematical foundations of what we know via the content of scientific observation and experiment.32 It is in this sense that he ‘present[s] principles of philosophy that are not […] philosophical but strictly mathematical’ (Newton 1999, p.439), and that these are ‘deduced from the phenomena’ (Newton 1999, p.589) rather than from hypotheses. Hence, trying to locate a direct philosophical vocabulary of phenomena in the framework of Principia would seem like a futile exercise, but their difference from hypotheses suggests an indirect clue as to what this might look like.

    Newton meant many things by the term ‘hypothesis’ which Alexandre Koyré has usefully catalogued. Koyré demarks an early use of the term by Newton as ‘a fundamental assumption or supposition in a theory.’ (Koyré 1965, p.264). This is the general sense of the term in the seventeenth century, whereby one can develop a hypothesis to justify a more general theory. It is not in this sense, however, that Newton is against hypotheses later in his life but a narrower definition with connotations of fictionalization or unscientific presumption for the sake of a theory – of which Descartes and Leibniz are the chief targets in Newton’s mind. In this narrower definition, hypotheses present a feigned (fingo) framework upon which no science can be based. 33 In Book III of Principia hypotheses are contrasted with the rules of philosophical reasoning (regulae philosophandi) and the phenomena from which wider mathematical propositions can be deduced. We know this contrast is great because, as Koyré points out, the first edition of Book III listed nine ‘hypotheses’, whilst the second and third editions replace these with the three then four ‘rules’ respectively, and the six ‘phenomena.’34 With this change we are given the entry point into a more broadly philosophical perspective than other sections of the Principia. What are the rules of philosophical reasoning and the phenomena? Are we to assume that phenomena are empirical receptions given in sensibility and rules the categorical strictures placed upon this content? That is, can we read a critical epistemology into these terms?

    That there is an epistemology in Book III is a difficult claim to stake, but this does sometimes seem a suitable description and has been discussed in some of the (non- philosophical) Newton literature.35 In Rule 3 for example, Newton claims that based on evidence gleaned from experiments on particular bodies, we can conjecture about all other bodies like them. That is to say, the rule acts much like an epistemological-categorical generalization: ‘The extension of bodies is known to us only through our senses […] but because extension is found in all sensible bodies, it is ascribed to all bodies universally.’ (Newton 1999, p.441, italics added). The ‘all’ in this sentence indicates something akin to the critical model of the understanding as a function of conceptualizing inductive connections, interconnections and combinations distended from sensible content. So far this is a model which seems to conform to the traditional Kantian critical edifice.


    32 See (Caygill 2005, p.38).

    33 See (Koyré 1965, pp.34-5).

    34 See (Koyré 1965, pp.262-3) and (Newton 1999, p.440).

    35 For example, (Kerszberg 2012, p.530) discusses ‘two epistemological strategies’ at play in the deduction from phenomena.

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    But a problem emerges when trying to map the faculty of sensibility onto Newton’s phenomena. To take the first two examples:


    Phenomenon 1: The circumjovial planets [satellites of Jupiter], by radii drawn to the centre of Jupiter, describe areas proportional to the times, and their periodic times – the fixed stars being at rest – are as the 3/2 powers of their distances from that centre. (Newton 1999, p.443).


    Phenomenon 2: The circumsaturnian planets [satellites of Saturn], by radii drawn to the centre of Saturn, describe areas proportional to the times, and their periodic times – the fixed stars being at rest – are as the 3/2 powers of their distances from that centre. (Newton 1999, p.444).


    These phenomena constitute a series of inferences, describing mathematically the behaviour of physical, celestial bodies. Within the descriptions of the phenomena Newton includes a table which collates all the observational data that goes toward making up a single phenomenon, from the observations of Giovanni Alfonso Borelli to the observations of Giovanni Domenico Cassini. The importance of observational data for verifying phenomena, or even simply describing them, tells us immediately that for Newton phenomena are not ‘given’ in empirical sense-impressions but are constructed from inherently conceptualized statistics of observation. The phenomena Newton works with are strictly numerical documentations of the times and distances of elliptical orbits and hence are resistant to alignment with sensibility or the critical conception of the faculties more generally. As much as the term ‘phenomenon’ in the modern context has become generally intertwined with a relation to sensibility (perhaps no thanks to Critique of Pure Reason), this is simply not so in the Principia. There are no sensible correlatives in Book III, only mathematical correlatives, which seems an entirely purposeful intention of Newton, who, as I have quoted above, claims he only engages in principles of mathematics which form a foundation on which to base natural philosophy.

    Kant picks up on this complicated situation in fascicle XI by raising the issue of the title Newton chose for his ‘immortal work’. The problem Kant has is that a mathematical principle cannot properly lie at the foundation of a philosophy of nature, just as a philosophical principle cannot lie at the foundation of a mathematics of nature; both occupy separate territories and would need to be put through the rigorous building-site of transition in order to find their intermediary concepts (Mittelbegriffe/Zwischenbegriffe), before transitioning from one to the other (OP 22:488-9, p.138). Kant takes this problematization to an extreme, suggesting two new branches: 1. ‘Philosophical principles of natural science’ (scientiae naturalis principia philosophica) and 2. ‘Mathematical principles of natural science’ (scientiae naturalis principia mathematica) (OP 21:238, m.t). Between August and September 1798, in fascicle IV, Kant hints at the problematic implicit in Newton’s methodology,


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    What are called the mathematical foundations of the science of nature (philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica), as expressed by Newton in his immortal work, are (as the expression itself indicates) no part of the philosophy of nature. They are only an instrument (albeit a most necessary one) for the calculation of the magnitude of motions and moving forces (which must be given by observation of nature) and for the determination of their laws for physics. (OP 21:482, p.43).


    Hence, in Kant’s mind it is absurd to engage in a mathematical foundation of natural philosophy, since it acts merely as the instrumental calculation of moving forces (phenomena), not their grounding principle. Accordingly, Newton made a fundamental – not to mention architectonic – error by engaging in an amphiboly of two different territories without explaining the transitorial principle for doing so. In fascicle XI Kant claims that vis a vis this confusion, the Principia ‘assumes’ gravity ‘for the sake of the system’ (OP 22:455, p.125),36 which means it engenders the definition of a conceptualized phenomenon against a sensible phenomenon. Thus, a non-empirical – conceptual – gloss must be given to Book III, wherein it does not unfold according to phenomena understood in the register of sensibility, but in the register of the understanding. But as I have argued above, Newton had already mapped out this criticism by claiming only to engage in mathematical principles.37 Hence, it is Kant’s theorization of phenomena which is changed from Critique of Pure Reason, not Newton’s. It may well be that the object of critique in fascicle XI is Newtonianism but the direct result is a critique of the Critique.

    What differs with both Book III and the first Critique, however, is the changed role of architectonic wherein the forces – as phenomena – genetically stem from and are posited by the subject. Book III did not come close to suggesting this and it dramatically differs from Critique of Pure Reason. In a sense, what Kant does with the concept of phenomena is place it on the site of transition, turning it into a mid-way point, not quite a pure hypothesis, not quite a pure sensible item but inserted via the understanding, nonetheless:


    The first principle of representation of the moving forces of matter is not to regard them as things in themselves but as phenomena, according to the relation which they have to the subject – as they affect our sense, or as we affect our sense ourselves. [It involves] inserting the formal element of sensible representation into the subject in order to progress from the Axioms of Intuition, the Anticipations of Perception, etc. to experience – that is, for experience as a system, not as derived from experience. Consequently, [it amounts to] oneself founding such a system a priori – composing it synthetically, not deriving it analytically from the material


    36 Friedman traces this problem of assumption to Metaphysical Foundations. See (Friedman 1994, pp.149- 50).

    37 Adickes suggests that Kant missed this due to the peculiar English use of the term ‘philosophia naturalis

    (natural philosophy), which is equivalent to ‘Naturwissenschaft’ (natural science) (Adickes 1920, p.159n1). But it seems unlikely, since the two terms in German or English were not explicitly separated in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Even in Newton’s hands the terms were still obscure, although some argue that he set in motion their separation and the eventual supersedence of natural philosophy by natural science in the nineteenth century. See (Maxwell 2017, pp.30-58).

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    element of empirical representation. Hence, it is this principle of form – not the material which moves the senses (Sinnenbewegende Stoffe)38 – which provides a priori the basis for the possibility of experience (by the rule, forma dat esse rei). (OP 22:300, pp.103-4, t.m).


    In other words, Kant’s notion of phenomenon in Transition diverges from an immediate sensible element which affects the subject externally to reflect the fact of its intermediary concept (Mittelbegriff/Zwischenbegriff) status, sandwiched between both sensible and conceptual elements without clear boundaries between them. In this sense Kant’s phenomena are more like Newton’s in Book III (although still very different) than his own in the first Critique.39 Further, this underscores the architectonic transformation of the faculties in the Transition project more generally as well as beyond the remit of Kant studies.

    From a more contemporary perspective, whilst the experimental physicist may argue that they merely observe brute facts,40 the transformation in fascicles X and XI suggests this can no longer be maintained since ‘to observe’ necessarily indicts the chain of genesis of the subject stemming from the understanding. This throws up an extremely modern perspective of physics as W.H. Werkmeister points out: ‘It is a fact […] that in the Opus postumum Kant developed ideas that are strikingly similar to principles and conceptions of modern physics and quantum mechanics.’ (Werkmeister 1980, p.127). The transformation of the understanding ties a Gordian knot between observer and observed, between phenomenon and subject – an unwitting anticipation of the wave function collapse in the Copenhagen theory of quantum mechanics. It is in this spirit that I claim we should read Kant when he quotes the scholastic saying, ‘forma dat esse rei’ (‘form gives being to the thing’) throughout fascicle X.41

    Hence, in as much as the experimental physics side of Transition is intimately bound up with the observation of phenomena, the meaning of ‘observation of phenomena’ takes on a new, richer significance emboldened by the understanding. When a subject observes an experiment, the observation cannot be considered passive nor primarily received through sensibility but engendered by the understanding and the conceptual. Kant’s whole line of argumentation in fascicle X and XI is premised on the implicit reversal with the understanding as the root from which all possibility grows, or in Burkhard Tuschling’s words, ‘We cannot understand nature, the world and its objects, as absolutely independent entities but only as products of the synthesizing activity of our understanding’ (Tuschling 1989, p.210). Only we must now extend the understanding beyond solely engaging in synthesizing material. In this way Kant comes close to Christoph Lichtenberg’s view that, ‘in observing nature, and especially the order found in



    38 Literally, ‘sense-moving material’.

    39 I am in agreement with (Friedman 1994, pp.230-1) on this point.

    40 The now classic example is (Kuhn 2012, pp.25-8) where three descriptions are given to account for ‘fact- gathering’.

    41 See (OP 22:318, p.105; 22:322, p.108; 22:355, p.115).

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    nature, we are always only observing ourselves.’ (Lichtenberg 2012, p.113). Building on such a sentiment in fascicle XI, Kant races to an extreme point in fascicle VII and the Selbstsetzungslehre, which I now turn to.


  2. The Selbstsetzungslehre and Fascicle VII

Most of fascicle VII discusses ‘self-positing’ (Selbstsetzung). Exactly what this means for Kant and how it plays into the evolution of the understanding shall be the focus of this section.

As a preliminary starting point, it is worth noting Kant’s methodological use of the term ‘positing’ (Setzung) in his 1763 essay The Only Possible Argument in Support of a Demonstration of the Existence of God. Kant tells us that positing involves positioning relations, and hence defines the concept of combination (verbindungsbegriff) (BDG 2:73). This constitutes a ‘relative’ element or the epistemological side of the act of positing as opposed to the ontological, which Kant describes as ‘absolute positing’, an attribute of God. More importantly, in the next sub-section Kant goes on to state that ‘a distinction must be drawn between what is posited and how it is posited’ (BDG 2:75). Although in 1763 Kant had not developed clear distinctions of methodology, the difference between ‘what’ and ‘how’ in the act of positing hints at a distinction between the practical and theoretical in Kant’s later corpus. Indeed, these two sides return in the Selbstsetzungslehre, written some 37 years after the Only Possible Argument, playing an important role in differentiating the theoretical-epistemological (‘how’) discussions from the practical-moral (‘what’) discussions of self-positing. In the following, I investigate the theoretical- epistemological (‘how’) side of fascicle VII. This brief departure is a reminder that Kant is not introducing a new concept, he is transforming an old concept, whilst sticking to its original methodological underpinning.42

In a letter to Johann Heinrich Tieftrunk of November 5, 1797, Kant refers to the act of positing (setzen) as ‘the a priori condition of apperception’ (Br 12:213), pointing up the link between apperception and positing, claiming that ‘positing, as a function of the mind, is spontaneity and, like all functions of self-consciousness, is a spontaneous synthesis (zusammensetzen) and therefore a function of unity.’ (Br 12:213). This is a good place to start, since three years later Kant begins writing on self-positing in a much more sustained, radical way. Thus, I will start with the Transcendental Deductions to better understand the role of apperception, before moving on to the Selbstsetzungslehre.

Although there are voracious disagreements over the divergencies of the two Transcendental Deductions, we may say that both share the contention that transcendental apperception constitutes a synthesis.43 In schematic terms, transcendental apperception is


42 Alongside Eckart Fӧrster, I disagree with Adickes when he says that Kant only engages in a repetition of Fichtean ‘extreme idealism’ by adopting the popular discourse of ‘setzen’ (Adickes 1920, p.668). The term had already been theorized in Kant’s work long before. See (Fӧrster 1989, pp.217-8).

43 To pick two examples, the A edition reads, ‘the original and necessary consciousness of the identity of oneself is at the same time a consciousness of an equally necessary unity of the synthesis of all appearances in accordance with concepts’ (KrV A108); and the B edition reads, ‘it is only because I can combine a

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the identity or synthetic unity of the subsisting ‘I think’ which accompanies and unifies all representations of objects in sensibility into a singular self-conscious experience (KrV B131-2). In its role as a unifier, Kant theorizes that apperception precedes the empirical content of objects: ‘no cognitions can occur in us, no connection and unity among them without that unity of consciousness that precedes all data of the intuitions’ (KrV A107, italics added). And in the B edition Kant is even more direct:


The synthetic unity of consciousness is therefore an objective condition of all cognition, not merely something I myself need in order to cognize an object (Object) but rather something under which every intuition must stand in order to become an object (Object) for me. (KrV B138).


Transcendental apperception, then, is the condition of possibility of all cognition, through which sensible objects must pass to become ‘objects for me’. But it is only this in so far as it unifies the field of disparate empirical material into a singular experience according to the categories. That is to say, Kant sticks to the architectonic ordering of the faculties peculiar to the first Critique: simultaneous reciprocity and Stufenleiter seriality.

The importance of the faculty of understanding in this regard cannot be downplayed, however. Indeed, Kant notes that ‘the synthetic unity of apperception is the highest point to which one must affix all use of the understanding’ (KrV B134). The ‘highest point’ pertains to the various stages in the A Deduction: (1) synthesis of apprehension in intuition – aligned with sensibility; (2) synthesis of reproduction – aligned with imagination; and (3) synthesis of recognition in the concept – aligned with the understanding (KrV A98-110). Via the categories, the understanding organizes the material synthetically and ‘legislates’ 44 over sensibility, which is combined in transcendental apperception. This is a contested area of Kant scholarship45 and there are many perspective we could take, but we at least get a sketch of a relationship between the faculty of understanding and transcendental apperception, that the latter has its root in the former.

Returning to the motif put forward in section 2, another important factor is Kant’s identification of the spontaneity of transcendental apperception with the understanding, which he states clearly in the B Deduction: ‘this representation is an act of spontaneity, i.e., it cannot be regarded as belonging to sensibility.’ (KrV B132).46 But what is spontaneous about transcendental apperception, if all it can do is unify – and ‘legislate’ over – sensible content? To table an answer it seems obvious to return to the understanding as the act of combining appearances to find their common rules and form through the categories, as Kant does in the A Deduction (KrV A127), but this would water down the much stronger


manifold of given representations in one consciousness that it is possible for me to represent the identity of the consciousness in these representations itself’ (KrV B133-4).

44 See (Deleuze 2008, pp.13-5).

45 See (Gardner 1999, p.145 and pp.158-9) and (Martin 1974, pp.192-3).

46 Also see (KrV A126).

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thesis that spontaneity involves production and creation.47 We see this notion emerge at the beginning of Transcendental Logic, where Kant uses the term ‘hervorbringen’ to describe the spontaneity of understanding, which is translated ‘bringing forth’ but should be appended by the terms, ‘to generate’, ‘to spawn’ or ‘to produce’. This productive-creative aspect of spontaneity does not seem at stake in the Transcendental Deductions, however, especially not in connection with transcendental apperception and the understanding, which remain organizational.

Zooming out to the Selbstsetzungslehre, we initially find a similar line of thought to the Deductions. For example, midway through fascicle VII Kant says, ‘The faculty of representation proceeds from the consciousness of myself (apperceptio), and this is a merely logical act, an act of thought, through which no object is yet given by me’ (OP 22:79, p.187), which is to say, self-consciousness, or apperception, is a pure ‘ens rationis’ or concept without an object, a logical act, or act of the understanding combining disparate material. Further, in a deleted passage from the same section of fascicle VII Kant gives us further information about the Selbstsetzungslehre’s methodological raison d’être, which also resonates with the Deductions: ‘what is thinkable (cogitabile) requires an object (dabile), namely, something which corresponds as intuition to a concept’ (OP 22:79, p.187). Determining the giveable (dabile) object corresponding to the thinking/thinkable (cogitabile) subject is hence the task of the Selbstsetzungslehre.48 It seems that Kant is staying within the bounds of the first Critique here, as Edwards suggests, ‘one could, it seems, justifiably maintain that the description of theoretical self-positing does nothing more than refine the presentation of the a priori anticipation of the form of possible experience already offered in the first Critique.’ (Edwards 2000, pp.168-9).

I claim that although its methodological ambition is similar to the Deductions, the Selbstsetzungslehre is fundamentally different because it is premised on the reversal effected in fascicles X and XI and hence the understanding is the origin of one’s self as an object. This brings to light the productive-creative spontaneity of the understanding and with it the altogether new thesis of the Selbstsetzungslehre: to be self-conscious is to posit one’s self as an object.49 The emphasis is thus on explicating the specific act whereby the subject makes itself into an object for sensibility since this machination cannot be ‘derived from a sense-object, but determines the object by its [the subject’s] a priori act, [through which] it is the owner and originator of its own representations.’ (OP 22:82-3, p.189, t.m). We can see here how the possibility of the subject as object is indexed in the spontaneous act of self-generative creation; no longer is the subject with apperception given reciprocally with sensibility, nor is it reliant on sensibility, but via the understanding it creates the very possibility of sensibility: ‘The understanding begins with the consciousness of itself (apperceptio) and performs thereby a logical act. To this the


47 What (Ellis 2017, p.139) calls ‘absolute spontaneity’.

48 In Fӧrster’s words, it tries ‘to show how the I as mere object of thought (cogitabile) can become an empirical object given in space and time (dabile).’ (Fӧrster 2000, p.103).

49 ‘Consciousness of itself (apperceptio) is an act through which the subject makes itself in general into an object.’ (OP 22:413, p.180). ‘Consciousness of myself (apperception) is the act of the subject to make itself into an object (object).’ (OP 22:89, m.t). Also see (OP 22:98, p.196).

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manifold of outer and inner intuition attaches itself serially, and the subject makes itself into an object in a limitless sequence.’ (OP 22:82, p.189). What’s more, by reading the architectonic reversal of understanding and sensibility into Transition before the advent of fascicle VII, we can understand Kant much more clearly when he writes things such as, ‘That there is something else outside me is my own product. I make myself.’ (OP 22:82, p.189). If we were to read these sentences from a strictly ‘critical’ perspective, they obviously indicate a major contradiction along Berkeleyan subjective idealist lines. But if we read them as logical consequences of the architectonic reversal, that is, in the transitionary context from which they arise, we get a much clearer perspective on what Kant might mean. Kant is saying that the possibility of the subject’s empirical content is premised on the understanding producing – or, indeed, conceptually inserting – this content in the first place, and that this content – the object – is therefore made by the spontaneous, apperceptive act of the subject. But what then happens to receptivity?

In the Transcendental Deductions receptivity is defined in opposition to spontaneity as an act, but this is changed in fascicle VII, where receptivity must also be considered an activity.50 If the understanding precedes sensibility and makes experience possible through a self-positing act, then receptivity, the defining feature of receiving sensible impressions, must also be made into an act. But how does this active conception of receptivity not abolish what Hall calls, ‘genuine receptivity’ (Hall 2017, p.188), and is the relation between spontaneity and receptivity not completely undermined here? As Kant himself states in the November 5, 1797 letter, the question is, if the subject posits itself as object, ‘from where does the manifold of sensation come, what in it is the merely empirical aspect of sensation? [...] what are these objects that affect sensibility?’ (Br 12:215-6, t.m).

Unless by ‘genuine’ we mean ‘passive’ I do not think this thesis abolishes genuine receptivity. Receptivity is still a feature of sensibility in fascicle VII, but it is not premised on a conception of affectivity which lies permanently open like a black hole, rather, it forms an active affectivity of openings and closings; a kind of leaping out to take hold of content. But then we are led into the second question, does this not reduce receptivity and spontaneity to the same definition? This question marks the radical departure Kant makes from the first Critique to Transition, for in the latter he does not want to define spontaneity and receptivity solely on whether they are acts but also by their relation to forces. Hence the distinction between spontaneity and receptivity is not undermined, nor do they become conflated and subsumed under the same definition, rather, they are deferred to a different set of definitions involving two interconnected ways of being affected by forces. This is in keeping with the new dynamical theory of matter Kant develops in Opus postumum. So, although there is a change in so far as receptivity becomes an act, it retains its characteristic distinguishing feature as bound up with sensibility, only deferred to the


50 ‘The representation of apperception which makes itself into an object of intuition contains a twofold act: first, that of positing itself (the act of spontaneity); and [second], that of being affected by objects and interconnecting (zusammen) the manifold in representation to a priori unity (the act of receptivity).’ (OP 22:31, p.173, t.m, italics added). Also see (OP 22:28) and (OP 22:466, p.132).

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context of force. But this opens even more issues, now to do with Kant’s ‘critical’ conception of space.

According to Tuschling’s ‘subjects at stake’ (Tuschling 1993, p.160), space – which was an a priori form of sensibility in the first Critique’s Transcendental Aesthetic undergoes a revision in Opus postumum precisely along the lines of the change made to the role of apperception in Selbstsetzungslehre. Keeping with the general ‘productive’ thematic of fascicle VII, Kant says space becomes a form ‘which we ourselves make (machen)’ (OP 22:76, p.185), that is, if the first empirical content is made via the apperceptive subject, then it must also make space, since it is in space that the subject must encounter itself as a body. Space is hence no longer an empty, pure form of sensibility, but a continuum of posited affective forces – a plenum – pressing upon the body of the subject, which ties fascicle VII into the Elementarsystem that Kant had been working on for many years before. Although this indicates significant departures from fascicle VII, it is important for tracing out the wider consequences the transformation instigates.

One way to make sense of the modification made to space is given by Fӧrster. First, he claims, ‘Space must […] be represented, not merely as a form of intuition, but as something existing outside me, as something empirically given. It can be this only if it is filled with moving forces’. Second, ‘for there to be experience of any particular object in space, the object’s moving forces must affect the subject’. And last, ‘The moving forces of matter cannot be given to the subject by being passively received. They are recognized only by the subject’s reaction, as forces with which we interfere’ (Fӧrster 1989, p.230).51 Rather problematically, this suggests an empirical realism with regards to space, something which Kant argues against throughout Opus postumum, but it nonetheless shows how the possibility of being affected by forces through space is premised on the activity of the subject. For the subject to be experientially affected by forces it must intervene by itself emanating forces. In this connection, the self-positing subject transforms space into an ‘act […] of the power of representation positing (setzen) itself’ (OP 22:88, p.193, t.m). Hence when Kant says, ‘The position (position) of something outside me, itself first commences from me, in the forms of space and time, in which I myself posit (setze) the objects of outer and inner sense’ (OP 22:97, p.195)52 it comes preloaded with such a modification. Space becomes filled with activity, first with the spontaneous act of understanding and then the receptive act of sensibility. A shift from space as a pure form of sensibility to space which is premised on proliferating affective forces and the dual active capacities of the self- conscious subject is thus at stake. Accordingly, to be affected is cached in the capacity to affect, but the wider implication is that the whole structure is grounded in the original act of the understanding, which can only be the case if it precedes sensibility;53 space is the subject’s power of spontaneous, theoretical self-positing given in representation.


51 Fӧrster references a passage from fascicle IV in support of this reading: ‘The concept of primordial motive forces is not taken from experience, rather it must lie a priori in the activity of the mind, and of which we are conscious in moving.’ (OP 21:490, m.t).

52 Also see (OP 21:38)

53 In a passage from fascicle X, but written around April 1800 (during Kant’s writing of fascicle VII) Kant is clear on this: ‘Our sensible intuition is, initially, not perception (empirical representation with

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Conclusion

Ultimately, what the transition through fascicles X, XI and VII shows is an inherent experimental playfulness in Kant’s methodological approach. He is willing to put his previous distinctions through radical twists and turns, which often result in some peculiar concepts and ideas in Transition, such as the Selbstsetzungslehre. But we must always situate transformations like this primarily on the architectonic site of transition, for it is here that Kant is able to play with concepts in an experimental way in an attempt to find their interconnections and points of contact. We should take this approach as a prompt, both to engage with Kant in this process of thinking by setting his work within a larger set of transitions, but also to challenge our own assumptions about what Kant’s system of philosophy actually is.


Works Cited

I cite passages in Opus postumum according to volume and page number in Kant’s gesammelte Schriften, edited by the Prussian (now German) Academy of Sciences (1900–), followed by the page number in the English translation. I cite all of Kant’s other works according to volume and page number in the Academy edition also, except Critique of Pure Reason, which is quoted according to first and second edition pagination (as is customary). Unless otherwise stated I follow the translations of the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant. Where I have modified a translation, I have attached the abbreviation ‘t.m’, where I have translated the passage myself, I have attached the abbreviation ‘m.t’.


Adickes, Erich. (1920), Kants Opus postumum: dargestellt und beurteilt. Berlin: Reuther and

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Allison, Henry E. (1973), The Kant-Eberhard Controversy. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.

Basile, Giovanni Pietro. (2013), Kants Opus postumum und seine Rezeption. Berlin: Walter de

Gruyter

Beiser, Frederick. (2008), German Idealism: The Struggle Against Subjectivism, 1781- 1801.

Harvard: Harvard University Press.

Bradley, F.H. (1916), Appearance and Reality: A Metaphysical Essay. London: George Allen

and Unwin.



consciousness), for a principle of positing oneself and of becoming conscious of this position precedes it’ (OP 22:420, p.184).

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Caygill, Howard. (2007), ‘The Transition Problem in Kant’s Opus postumum’. In Kant: Making Reason Intuitive, ed. Loli Patellis, Kyriaki Goudeli, Pavlos Kontos, pp.16-

27. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Caygill, Howard. (2005), ‘The Force of Kant’s Opus postumum: Kepler and Newton in the XIth Fascicle’. Angelaki vol. 10, no.1: pp.33-42.

Deleuze, Gilles. (2008), Kant’s Critical Philosophy. trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam. London: Continuum Publishing.

Descartes, Rene. (1999), Selected Philosophical Writings. trans. John Cottingham and Robert

Stoothoff. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Edwards, Jeffrey. (2000), Substance, Force, and the Possibility of Knowledge: On Kant’s Philosophy of Material Nature. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Ellis, Addison. (2017), ‘The Case for Absolute Spontaneity in Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason’.

Con-Textos Kantianos no.6: pp.138-164.

Feyerabend, Paul K. (1985), Realism, Rationalism and Scientific Method: Philosophical Papers Volume 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Förster, Eckart. (2000), Kant’s Final Synthesis: An Essay on the Opus postumum. Cambridge,

MA: Harvard University Press.

Fӧrster, Eckart. (1989), ‘Kant’s Selbstsetzungslehre’. In Kant’s Transcendental Deductions:

The Three ‘Critiques’ and the ‘Opus postumum’, ed. Eckart Fӧrster, pp.217-238. California: Stanford University Press.

Friedman, Michael. (1994), Kant and the Exact Sciences. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Gardner, Sebastian. (1999), Kant and the Critique of Pure Reason. Oxon: Routledge.

Hall, Bryan Wesley. (2017), The Post-Critical Kant: Understanding the Critical Philosophy

Through the Opus postumum. Oxon: Routledge.

Heidegger, Martin. (1997), Phenomenological Interpretation of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. trans. Parvis Emad and Kenneth Maly. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Hoppe, Hansgeorg. (1969), Kants Theorie der Physik: Eine Untersuchung über das Opus postumum von Kant. Frankfurt: Vittorio Klostermann.

Kerszberg, Pierre. (2012), ‘Deduction Versus Discourse: Newton and the Cosmic Phenomena’.

Foundations of Science vol.18, no.3: pp.529-44.

Koyré, Alexandre. (1965), Newtonian Studies. London: Chapman and Hall.

Kuhn, Thomas S. (2012), The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: Chicago University

Press.


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Lambert, Johann. (2009), ‘New Organon’. In Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason: Background Source Materials, eds. Eric Watkins and Manfred Kuehn, pp.257-274. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm. (1989), Philosophical Essays. trans. Roger Ariew and Daniel Garbor. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing.

Lehmann, Gerhard. (1969), Beiträge zur Geschichte und Interpretation der Philosophie Kants.

Berlin: Walter de Gruyter

Lichtenberg, Georg Christoph. (2012), Philosophical Writings. trans and ed. Steven Tester.

New York: State University of New York Press.

Locke, John. (1995), An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. New York: Prometheus Books.

Martin, Gottfried. (1974), Kant’s Metaphysics and Theory of Science. trans. P.G. Lucas.

Connecticut: Greenwood Press.

Massimi, Michela. (2018), ‘Grounds, Modality, and Nomic Necessity in the Critical Kant.’ In

Kant and the Laws of Nature, ed. Michela Massimi and Angela Breitenbach, pp.150-70. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Maxwell, Nicholas. (2017), In Praise of Natural Philosophy. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

McDowell, John. (1996), Mind and World. Harvard: Harvard University Press.

Newton, Isaac. (1999), The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. trans.

I.Bernard Cohen and Anne Whitman. California: University of California Press. Smith, Norman Kemp. (1992), Commentary to Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. Atlantic

Highlands: Humanities Press International

Sng, Zachary. (2010), The Rhetoric of Error from Locke to Kleist. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Tuschling, Burkhard. (1993), ‘The Concept of Transcendental Idealism in Kant’s Opus postumum’. In Kant and Critique: New Essays in Honour of W.H. Werkmeister, ed.

R.M. Dancy, pp.151-167. Netherlands: Springer.

Tuschling, Burkhard. (1989), ‘Apperception and Ether: On the Idea of a Transcendental Deduction of Matter in Kant’s Opus postumum’. In Kant’s Transcendental Deductions: The Three ‘Critiques’ and the ‘Opus postumum’, ed. Eckart Fӧrster, pp.193-217. California: Stanford University Press.

Tuschling, Burkhard. (1971), Metaphysische und Transzendentale Dynamik in Kants Opus postumum. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

Werkmeister, W.H. (1980), Kant: the Architectonic and Development of His Philosophy.

Illinois: Open court.


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FUERZAS, FACULTADES Y FORMAS A PRIORI EN KANT FORCES, FACULTIES AND A PRIORI FORMS IN KANT EUGENIO MOYA

Universidad de Murcia, España


Abstract

For the author of this paper, the Kantian rejection of the identification of his concept of a priori with the Leibnizian notion of innateness can be understood only in a clear and precise way, if we resort to the Kantian conception of epigenesis as epistemological model; that is, if we consider the faculties of knowledge as formative forces that are composed with other forces of nature to make possible the original acquisition of intuitions and concepts a priori.

Key words


Epigenesis, innatness, mind, original acquisition, preformation.


Resumen

Para el autor de este artículo, el rechazo kantiano de la identificación de su concepto de a priori con la noción leibniciana de lo innato solo puede comprenderse de manera clara y precisa, si recurrimos a la concepción kantiana de la epigénesis como modelo epistemológico; es decir, si consideramos las facultades cognitivas como fuerzas formativas que se componen con otras fuerzas de la naturaleza para hacer posible la adquisición originaria de intuiciones y conceptos a priori.


Palabras clave

Adquisición originaria, epigénesis, innato, mente, preformación.


Introducción

La Historia de la Filosofía ha proyectado siempre una imagen de Kant como pináculo filosófico de la Modernidad; como la mejor expresión de las insuficiencias de una razón




[Recibido: 8 de noviembre de 2018

Aceptado: 15 de abril de 2019]


Eugenio Moya


exenta. Como le escribía, no sin sorna Hamann a Christian Jacob Kraus, el 18 de diciembre de 1784, un filósofo autoconcebido solitario (autónomo), apoltronado detrás de la estufa y con el gorro de dormir hasta los ojos.

No se trata solo de imágenes críticas, sino sostenidas por pensadores de filiación kantiana como Habermas. En Wahrheit und Rechfertigung (1999) atribuye a Nietzsche haber sabido señalar, bajo el impulso que supusieron las revolucionarias tesis de Darwin, los límites y presupuestos de una razón kantiana no situada. Le reconoce habernos enseñado que la verdad de cualquier juicio (y en especial el sintético a priori) depende de hasta qué punto favorece la vida, conserva la especie, quizá, incluso, la selecciona. Le agradece habernos ofrecido, frente a la imagen antropocéntrica del sujeto soberano, capaz de autodeterminar sus acciones, las cosas o la misma historia, la imagen naturalizada del hombre como producto: de la naturaleza, de la historia… Habermas, por ello, termina reclamando la necesidad de renovar el concepto kantiano de lo transcendental:

El objeto del análisis transcendental ya no es aquella ‘conciencia general’, sin origen, que constituía el núcleo común de todos los espíritus empíricos. La investigación se dirige ahora más bien a las estructuras profundas del trasfondo que es el mundo de la vida; estructuras que se encarnan en las prácticas y rendimientos de los sujetos capaces de lenguaje y acción. El análisis transcendental busca los rasgos invariantes que se van repitiendo en la multiplicidad histórica de las formas de vida socioculturales. Habermas 2002, p. 21)

Con la detrascendentalización, señala el filósofo frankfurtiano, la conciencia transcendental kantiana ha bajado a la tierra en la forma desublimada de la práctica comunicativa cotidiana, ha perdido las connotaciones de una instancia “situada más allá del espacio y del tiempo” (Habermas 2002, p. 20), y lo a priori pasa a ser concebido como resultado de “procesos propios de la génesis de una razón penetrada por la naturaleza y la historia”. (Habermas 2002, p. 310).

Argumentaré en este trabajo que solo la desatención al epigenetic turn de la filosofía de Kant puede justificar la perspectiva del frankfurtiano, pues ese giro arroja luz sobre los problemas relacionados con la génesis y validez del a priori, además de darnos una imagen más ajustada de una mente y sus facultades como entidades mundanas, de origen natural, que responden, por tanto, a los mismos procesos –esquemas, dirá Kant- básicos de formación y funcionamiento que el resto de cualquier ser organizado (vivo). Pero antes intentaré mostrar en esta introducción que la orientación hermenéutica de Habermas rivaliza en su incomprensión del a priori con la visión analítica (principalmente anglosajona).

Sabemos que en su famosa Respuesta a Eberhard (1790), Kant dejó meridianamente claro que apriorismo e innatismo son incompatibles:

La Crítica no admite, en absoluto, representaciones implantadas en el sujeto desde la Creación [annerschaffene], ni innatas [angeborene]; a todas ellas, ya pertenezcan a la intuición o a los conceptos del entendimiento, las considera adquiridas [erworben]. Pero hay una adquisición originaria [ursprüngliche Erwerbung] (como se expresan los maestros del derecho natural), una


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adquisición, por tanto, de aquello que antes no existía en modo alguno, y que, por consiguiente, no pertenecía a ninguna cosa antes de esa acción. (AA 8: 221)1


Sorprenden, sin embargo, las dificultades que la tradición analítica ha tenido siempre para tematizar de modo adecuado esta incompatibilidad. Isabel Cabrera (1994) ha sabido resumir y asumir bien estas dificultades. En principio, se pregunta por qué Kant hace del espacio una forma de la sensibilidad, además de una intuición pura, cuando la noción de “intuición pura” ya recogía su carácter de condición epistémica. Es evidente, según la autora (aunque introduce un desconcertante “me parece” en su texto), que Kant no consideraba el espacio “innato”, porque lo concebía más como una forma o estructura de la percepción que como una representación con contenido propio; sin embargo, pensar en “formas” cuyo asiento está en la mente humana es, para ella, otro modo de pensar en algo innato, solo que quizá más en la línea de Chomsky que la de Descartes. Conforme a la tradición analítica, considera que si el filósofo de Königsberg rechazaba el innatismo por ser una hipótesis explicativa innecesaria, “también pudo rechazar la teoría de las formas de la subjetividad por las mismas razones”. Así pues, concluye, que pese a los heroicos intentos de Allison 2 , la sugerencia de Strawson continua en pie: “siempre podemos quedarnos con una interpretación austera del a priori, solo en tanto condición de posibilidad, sin buscar un apoyo adicional.” (Cabrera 1994, p. 158).

Habermas reclamaba una detrascendentalización del a priori; la tradición analítica su deflación3. Ambas tradiciones hacen buena a su manera la injusta anotación que Schiller introduce en la decimotercera de sus Cartas sobre la educación estética del hombre sobre la molestia que siempre supuso, al menos para el transcendentalismo kantiano todo lo material, fáctico y contingente.


1 Las referencias a obras de Kant se harán indicando el volumen y la página de la edición de la Academia (Immanuel Kant, Gesammelte Schriften, vols. 1-22: Preussische Akademie der Wissenschaften, vol. 23: Deutsche Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin, vols. 24 -…: Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, 1900-). La única excepción a esta norma es la Crítica de la razón pura, que, según lo usual, se citará con las letras A y/o B (según se trate de la primera o segunda edición) y el número de párrafo correspondiente.

2 Allison (1992, p. 497) ha intentado siempre superar una “explicación convencional” del idealismo trascendental que termina por acercarlo en demasía a Berkeley, pues relega el conocimiento al ámbito subjetivo de las representaciones. Esta mezcla de escepticismo y fenomenismo resulta inapropiada para una comprensión del apriorismo. En esencia, él propone considerar lo a priori como simple condición de posibilidad del conocimiento humano (1992, p. 40).

3 Tengamos en cuenta que, aunque en las últimas tres décadas hemos asistido a un renacer del a priori en la epistemología analítica (Coffa 1991, p. 8), sobre todo por el declive del empirismo quineano y el empuje del giro historicistra de Kuhn (Friedman 2002) siempre se ha tendido a una interpretación semántica de la idea kantiana. De hecho, a priori es entendido como presuposición. Esto es: A es una condición de posibilidad de la experiencia de B, si A es una condición necesaria de la significatividad o el valor de verdad de B. (Friedman 2001, p. 74). Friedman ha hablado, incluso, de un “relativized a priori”. (Friedman 2009, pp. 265-266)


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Más allá del giro copernicano: el epigenetic turn de Kant

Una simple mirada bibliométrica a la Crítica de la razón pura nos pone en la pista de que la anotación de Schiller no parece corresponderse bien con el trascendentalismo kantiano.



Kant muestra gran interés por los pensadores modernos. Los cita 25 veces, frente a las 12 referencias a pensadores antiguos. Entre los pensadores modernos, el 60% de las veces cita a científicos. Y entre éstos, casi el 54% son “baconianos”.

Entendemos “baconianos” en sentido kuhniano. En efecto, numerosos historiadores, entre ellos Koyré (1938, pp. 16-17) o Butterfield (1964, p. 61), han afirmado que el movimiento baconiano fue un fracaso, sin consecuencias para la revolución científica moderna. Tal evaluación, sin embargo, es resultado de considerar que las ciencias son una sola. Si el baconianismo contribuyó en poco al desarrollo de las ciencias clásicas, no puede negarse, escribe Kuhn, que dio lugar a gran número de nuevos campos científicos, que arraigaban en los oficios existentes; en las artes mecánicas, que el de Verulam siempre propuso como paradigmas culturales. El estudio de la química, del magnetismo, etc., extrajeron sus primeros datos de las experiencias tenidas con la fabricación de cerveza, la brújula o la conductividad eléctrica. Son desarrollos científicos que dependían de la fabricación y perfeccionamiento de instrumentos; ejemplos típicos que, según Kuhn, han hecho a Bacon merecedor de dar título a las ciencias emergentes (Kuhn 1983, pp. 66 y ss.). No por casualidad Kant le dedica a Bacon la segunda edición de la Crítica.

Claro que entre esas ciencias baconianas brillaba ya en el siglo XVIII con luz propia las investigaciones sobre la reproducción animal y, por tanto, la embriología. Aunque pueda sorprender, no es extraño que Timothy Lenoir, en 1989 -en su imprescindible The Strategy of Life- le reservara a Kant un puesto destacado en el pensamiento biológico. Aplicando la metodología lakatosiana de los programas de investigación, defendió que la biología tedesca, durante la primera mitad del siglo XIX –esto es, el tiempo en el que se erige la


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embriología y, con ella la biología del desarrollo, en disciplina con status científico- estuvo guiada por un núcleo de ideas en cuya formulación y clarificación tuvo Kant un papel fundamental (Lenoir 1989, p. 2).

En el mismo sentido, Helmut Müller-Sivers, en 1997, sugería que la imagen kantiana de la filosofía transcendental como revolución copernicana oscurecía el verdadero sentido de su aportación: el propio Kant era ya consciente de que a finales del siglo XVIII las ciencias de la vida habían desplazado en gran parte a la físico-matemática a la hora de convertirse en una de las fuentes fundamentales de la reflexión filosófica, incluido su programa transcendental (Müller-Sievers 1997, p. 1). De hecho, planteaba lo que hemos introducido como epigenetic turn de la filosofía kantiana.

Lo cierto es que la idea de epigenesia, extraída del contexto de la embriología dieciochesca, le ofreció un modelo con gran rentabilidad heurística para dar cuenta de la vis autoformativa que presupone la idea de a priori y la capacidad autoengendadora de la mente humana. Induzcamos aquí, todavía sin mediación interpretativa, un texto importante de la Crítica de la razón pura (A 765/B 793):

Hume pensaba tal vez, aunque jamás lo haya desarrollado, que en los juicios de cierta clase vamos más allá de nuestro concepto del objeto. A esta clase de juicios les he dado el nombre de sintéticos. El modo de ir, mediante la experiencia, más allá del concepto que hasta entonces poseía es algo que no ofrece dificultades […] Pero creemos también que podemos sobrepasar a priori nuestros conceptos extendiendo nuestro conocimiento […]Nuestro escéptico no distinguió estas dos clases de juicios, cosa que hubiera debido hacer. Consideró directamente imposible la autopoyesis de nuestro entendimiento (y de la razón) sin ser fecundado por la experiencia [die Selbstgebärung unseres Verstandes (samt der Vernunft), ohne durch Erfahrung geschwängert zu sein].


Para Müller-Sivers, la noción de epigénesis reforzaba un modelo teórico que, más allá del mecanicismo, reafirmaba la subjetividad –la espontaneidad y la libertad- como fundamento absoluto (Müller-Sievers 1997, pp. 4-5). Limitaremos aquí el alcance espontaneísta, “metafísico” de la epigénesis. En Kant no encontraremos, como en Herder (DeSouza 2018, pp. 125-126) la presencia de lo invisible (espiritual, animado) en lo visible (material e inanimado). Pero, no restaremos ni un ápice la importancia de una noción que, opuesta a la de preformación divina -mantenida por científicos (Swammerdam, Haller, Bonnet...) y filósofos (Malebranche, Leibniz...) del XVII y XVIII- justificaba opciones ontoepistémicas alejadas del innatismo, y abogaba por una mente, como la humana, con capacidad para interaccionar con el mundo y autoproducir formas. Ahora bien, a diferencia de la Naturphilosophie tedesca, nunca fue Kant un defensor del vitalismo organicista (“animismo” o “hilozoísmo”, en su lenguaje). Su polémica con Herder así lo atestigua. Tampoco del materialismo. El primero lo vivifica todo. “Der Materialismus, wenn er genau erwogen wird, tötet alles”: el materialismo, tomado de un modo preciso, lo mata – escribe en Sueños de un visionario (AA 2: 330)- todo. En cualquier caso, su conocimiento de la fisiología, la embriología y, posteriormente, del galvanismo, le hizo pensar que no era descabellado concebir una ley de continuidad en lo vivo entre irritabilidad, sensibilidad y


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pensamiento como efectos de una naturaleza autoproductora que se auto-organiza en todos sus productos, incluido el humano, gracias a su bildende Kraft.

Fuerza activa y comunicación universal

Durante mucho tiempo los comentaristas de Kant creyeron que su filosofía precrítica no era más que un ejemplo en su propia obra de lo que el prólogo a la segunda edición de la Crítica de la razón para denunciaba como un errado y continuo ir y venir desde una solución a otra; incapaz, pensaban, de ofrecer una filosofía de la naturaleza coherente con los logros teóricos de la ciencia natural newtoniana y las investigaciones fundamentales de la metafísica racionalista. Sin embargo, en los últimos cincuenta años los trabajos de Beck (1969), Laywine (1993), Schönfeld (2000) y Watkins (2005) nos han hecho rastrear en ese periodo lo que podemos llamar “hallazgos críticos”; esto es, piezas teóricas que fueron finalmente decisivas para los desarrollos de la filosofía madura de Kant. Entre ellos está el de fuerza activa. Veamos.

En su intento por superar el dualismo sustancial cartesiano, Leibniz defendió que todas las sustancias eran dinámicas e inmateriales; todas actuaban con espontaneidad aunque con grados diversos de actividad y pasividad. Se trataba de una doctrina que permitía compatibilizar el comercio o comunicación universal de unas sustancias individuales con otras al incluir en cualquiera y en cualquier instante temporal su noción completa, gracias a la armonía universal. De este modo, cada una de ellas se constituía es un mundo aparte, independiente de todo lo demás, excepto de Dios, su causa última (Discurso de metafísica,

§ 14); sin que pudiera interactuar causalmente con otras, ni recibir influjo físico alguno. Como metafóricamente afirma en la Monadología (§ 7), las mónadas “no tienen ventanas”: cada una de ellas alberga en sí, en su individualidad, la representación de todo el universo. No es solamente el hombre, como sostuvieron los renacentistas, un microcosmos; lo es todo ser individual. Toda mónada es un “espejo del universo”, un mundo abreviado. La reducción del ser al pensar no podía ser más radical.

Desde esta perspectiva, extensión y fuerza representativa habían dejado de ser pares irreconciliables, desde el origen, desde el mismo nacimiento (todo es, en realidad, innato) aunque de un modo oscuro, inconsciente, y es el esfuerzo intelectual y reflexivo el que hace que poco a poco vayamos adquiriendo claridad y distinción.

A pesar de los esfuerzos y predicamento de Leibniz, la aceptación de una eficiencia causal entre las sustancias, que patrocinaron los cartesianos y a la que se adscribieron los aristotélicos, era todavía dominante a principios del siglo XVIII en la Universidad de Königsberg (Wundt 1964, pp. 117-118). De hecho, a partir de 1727 la doctrina del influjo real (physicus) se abrió paso dentro de la propia escuela wolffiana, gracias al Systema causarum efficientium de Martin Knutzen, el maestro de Kant en Königsberg.

No resulta extraño, por ello, que, como ha sostenido Watkins, lo que unifica las publicaciones tempranas de Kant es su interés por desarrollar un sofisticado tratamiento


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metafísico de la causalidad. Sus Pensamientos acerca de la verdadera estimación de las fuerzas vivas (1746), la Nova dilucidatio (1755) y la Monadología Física (1756), dan buena cuenta de ello. Convendrían en que todas las sustancias que existen en el mundo [Welt], del cual nosotros somos una parte, poseen fuerzas esenciales de manera que sus acciones [Wirkungen] se difunden [sich ausbreiten] en asociación mutua [in Vereinigung miteinander] (AA 2: 24).

El papel que tuvo Knutzen en todo este proceso de maduración intelectual de Kant es discutible, pero no deja de ser cierto que determinadas aportaciones suyas, asumidas por Kant, forman parte de lo que hemos llamado “hallazgos críticos”. Reparemos en que su obra de referencia es la disertación académica Commentatio philosophica de commercio mentis et corporis per influxum physicum explicando de 1735, cuya segunda edición apareció con el título referido de Systema causarum efficientium en 1745, un año antes de que Kant presentara en la Universidad de Königsberg su primer libro.

Knutzen orienta su trabajo a intentar disminuir la distancia entre materia y espíritu, pero no al estilo leibniciano, intelectualizando, como después diría Kant, el mundo, sino estableciendo una comunidad real entre ellos, de tal modo que el alma humana pueda representárselo conforme a las modificaciones de su cuerpo. La cuestión es cómo puede producirse tal comercio sin caer en un monismo materialista. Y la respuesta de Knutzen consiste en hacer que cuerpo y espíritu se comporten como si fueran vasos comunicantes, una hipótesis que tendrá un largo alcance en la filosofía crítica kantiana al concebir la adquisición originaria de las representaciones a priori como un resultado de la composición de fuerzas.

El cuerpo, para Knutzen, “no hace penetrar en el espíritu ni ideas de las cosas exteriores, ni una fuerza representativa, sino que sólo modifica la fuerza del espíritu y su sustancia de manera que la representación nazca en él”; y el espíritu “no hace penetrar en el cuerpo ninguna fuerza motriz, sino que sólo modifica y dirige con su acción la que reside en los elementos del cuerpo de manera que finalmente el movimiento se produce” (Knutzen 1745, pp. 145-147.). Con una analogía: de igual modo que el macillo del piano percute contra una cuerda cuando se acciona una tecla, pero el sonido está siempre en función de las propiedades inherentes a la cuerda, actuando aquél de potenciador de la resonancia o del timbre.

En su trabajo sobre la Estimación de las fuerzas vivas asume Kant la idea de composición de fuerzas, pero corrige al maestro atribuyendo a los cuerpos no solo fuerza motriz, sino la fuerza activa. Un reproche que, sensu contrario, dirige en la Crítica de la razón pura a Leibniz al reducir éste toda fuerza activa a la fuerza representativa:

Las sustancias en general deben poseer algo interior, algo exento de todas las relaciones externas y, consiguientemente, exento de composición. Lo simple es, pues, el fundamento de lo interior de las cosas en sí mismas. Pero lo interior de su estado no puede consistir en el lugar, la figura, el contacto o el movimiento (determinaciones todas ellas que constituyen relaciones externas).En consecuencia, no podemos asignar a las sustancias otro estado interno que aquel mediante el cual

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nosotros mismos determinamos interiormente nuestro sentido, a saber, el estado de las representaciones. Así fue como quedaron perfiladas las mónadas, que deben constituir la materia básica del universo entero, pero cuya fuerza activa no consiste más que en representaciones, una fuerza en virtud de la cual sólo son realmente activas dentro de sí mismas.

Esta es precisamente la razón de que su principio de la posible comunidad de las sustancias entre sí tuviera que ser una armonía preestablecida. No podía ser un influjo físico. (KrV. A 274/B 330).

Desde su primer opúsculo, Kant, se muestra convencido de que la materia no puede ser definida por la simple extensionalidad. Introduce, por ello, el concepto metafísico de fuerza viva o activa, como “la verdadera medida de fuerza en la Naturaleza” (AA 1: 139]. No se trata de una simple fuerza motriz, de atracción o repulsión, sino una fuerza interna y formativa, que se incrementa “por la acción de cualquier movimiento externo” [AA 1: 140; 21: 249-251], con lo que, esta vez frente a Leibniz y su doctrina de la armonía preestablecida, Kant sostiene la idea de que “las mónadas se influyen mutuamente”. Es el mismo planteamiento que aparecerá una década más tarde, en 1755, en su famosa Historia general de la Naturaleza y teoría del cielo. En su prefacio (AA 1: 234, después de poner entre paréntesis las explicaciones antropomórficas como las de la intervención divina, sostiene una conjetura sobre la evolución general del Universo, según la cual, la masa informe y heterogénea que lo componía inicialmente comenzó a organizarse impulsada por sus fuerzas de atracción y repulsión. El proceso comenzó cuando en la nebulosa inicial se produjeron condensaciones que empezaron, en virtud de principios newtonianos, a atraer los materiales de su entorno, que acabaron por organizarse en forma de sistema (solar, por ejemplo) en equilibrio dinámico (AA 1: 269 y ss]. La materia, en virtud de su fuerza activa, tiene, por tanto, una inagotable fuerza formativa (Bildungskraft) que permite la emergencia (Enstehung) de órdenes de realidad diferentes.

Así pues, la fuerza motriz hace posible que un cuerpo, en virtud de su masa, resista no sólo a la penetración sino también al movimiento. De ella se derivan otras como la atracción, repulsión, elasticidad... Así pues, la fuerza pasiva haría referencia a lo que en la segunda parte de los Principios metafísicos de la ciencia de la naturaleza [AA 1: 496 y ss.] Kant llama antitypia o impenetrabilidad. La fuerza activa presupone, en cambio, no sólo un conato o tendencia inherente a la acción, sino también una tendencia a la receptividad de la acción; algo que será clave en el planteamiento crítico de la sensibilidad4 y, por ende, el papel que tiene el mundo o las fuerzas exteriores para hacer emerger las representaciones a priori de espacio y tiempo. Con el lenguaje del comienzo de la Estética Trascendental (§ 1):

Sean cuales sean el modo o los medios con que un conocimiento se refiera a los objetos, la intuición es el modo por medio del cual el conocimiento se refiere inmediatamente a ellos, así como aquello a que apunta todo pensamiento en cuanto medio. Tal intuición únicamente tiene lugar


4 Reparemos en que Kant concebirá siempre la sensibilidad como receptiva, pero no pasiva, ya que, alimentando la imaginación, ha de poder “afectar” a los conceptos de sus objetos (KrV A77/B 102), y que pensar y conocer son concebidos por Kant como “acciones” (Handlungen), en cuanto que resultan de dos actos básicos del entendimiento que se concretan en juicios: la subsunción conceptual y la síntesis de categorías e intuiciones (KrV, A 77-78/B 102-104).

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en la medida en que el objeto nos es dado. Pero éste, por su parte, sólo nos puede ser dado [al menos a nosotros, los humanos], si afecta de alguna manera a nuestra mente. La capacidad (receptividad) de recibir representaciones, al ser afectados por los objetos, se llama sensibilidad (KrV, A 19/B 33)

En la famosa carta a Herz en febrero de 1772 –sobre la que luego volveremos-, Kant ya es consciente de que su problema fundamental consiste en haber concebido una mente humana ectípica (necesitada de sensaciones) y tener que explicar una relación de nuestras representaciones intelectivas puras [die reine Verstandesbegriffe] con sus objetos que no sea la de la abstracción von den Empfindungen der Sinne, ni la del influjo hiperfísico, ni la del preestablismo (AA 10: 131-132). Y veremos, de nuevo, como la noción de composición de fuerzas y, con ella, la idea de epigenesia cobrarán un papel determinante para explicar la generación de las representaciones puras in der Natur der Seele, como le dice a Marcus Herz.

No sugerimos, con todo, que haya una línea explicativa unitaria entre el periodo crítico y el precrítico. Hemos hablado de hallazgos críticos, o sea, respuestas o planteamientos que Kant considera conquistas teóricas. Pero no desconocemos que el lenguaje crítico ha cambiado o reorientado la perspectiva. Gustavo Sarmiento ha insistido con razón en este punto (Sarmiento 2004, p. 14). En el periodo crítico el filósofo de Königsberg ya no habla de “mundo”, sino de una naturaleza que puede ser materialiter o formaliter spectata como conjunto completo de todos los fenómenos, en la medida en que, gracias a un principio interno de causalidad, se hallan en una completa interdependencia (KrV, A 419/B 446).

Bildungstrieb y epigénesis. Las facultades de la mente como fuerzas de la naturaleza

Estimulado por los escritos de Blumenbach, Kant se vincula definitivamente en los años 80 con la doctrina de la epigénesis. Lo hace, como escribe en el decisivo § 81 de la Crítica del Juicio, porque “considera la Naturaleza como productora de suyo y no sólo como capaz de desarrollo” (AA 5: p. 424]. Aunque como ha sostenido Zammito (2018, pp. 233-235) el formative drive tiene un componente metafísico, sus premisas son también empíricas. La existencia de “monstruosidades”, de híbridos, de caracteres heredados de los dos progenitores, la regeneración de partes amputadas en la cola de las lagartijas, etcétera, evidencian, para él, que hay que dejar algo, al menos, a cargo de la naturaleza. Sin embargo, la razón principal de su alineamiento la encontramos en la combinación de dos conceptos fundamentales, generalmente muy desatendidos por los intérpretes de su obra crítica y que suponen un avance sin rupturas entre los diferentes periodos de la producción intelectual de Kant: me refiero al los conceptos de fuerza vital y comunidad de interacción recíproca (sistema). Ellos le permitirán unir las hipótesis biológicas con las cognitivas. Y es que, como escribe en la recensión sobre la obra de Herder, existen en todo organismo fuerzas que le hacen modificarse internamente a sí mismo en función de las diferentes circunstancias externas en las que vive (AA 8: 62). Podríamos hablar de una “autoproducción inducida” por el medio.


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Desde esta perspectiva, no compartimos las interpretaciones de Zöller (1988), Sloan (2002), Zammito (2003) o Goy y Watkins (2014, introducción). Todos coinciden en sostener que la doctrina biológica de la epigénesis no fue asumida plenamente hasta después de su polémica a mitad de los años 80 con Herder y Forster5, de ahí que solo aparezca en la segunda edición de la Crítica. Sin desconocer que las analogías embriológicas aparecen ya en textos inmodificados de esa Crítica, ellos piensan que el lenguaje kantiano no es claramente antipreformista. Tal es así que Zöller considera que el apriorismo kantiano hasta esos años -coincidiendo con la recepción de las hipótesis de Blumenbach- estaría muy cercano al innatismo leibniciano (Zöller 1989). De parecida opinión es Claud Piché. Considera que, aunque Kant conoce desde el Beweisgrund (1762) la teoría biológica, la epigénesis (AA 2: 114-115), no le sirve en rigor, más allá de la metáfora de la productividad, para dar sentido a su giro copernicano ni para ofrecer un modelo epistemológico claro (Piché 2001, p. 188).

No comparto esta opinión. Kant sabe que el preformismo leibniciano sustrae a todo individuo la fuerza formativa [Bildungstrieb] para hacerla provenir directamente del Creador (Crítica del Juicio, § 81; AA 5: 423), necesitando una cantidad excesiva de disposiciones sobrenaturales para que cada embrión formado al comienzo del mundo no padeciese cambio alguno a lo largo de la evolución natural en su interacción con el entorno. El conocimiento de los epigenetistas franceses que demuestra en los años 60, en el Beweisgrund (AA 2: 126) indica a las claras un cambio de paradigma. Por eso, en los setenta tiene pleno convencimiento de que la idea de epigénesis tiene un claro significado epistémico para dar respuesta al problema crítico fundamental. Sabe que es preciso distinguir entre auswickeln y entwickeln, entre el mero desenvolvimiento de formas “vor- gebildet” (voraus-gebildet; vorausgestaltet) de los preformistas, que siempre supone una evolutio partes involutae [Auswicklung der eingewickelten Teile], o sea, simple educción; y el desarrollo [Entwicklung] epigenético, dirigido siempre por los gérmenes originarios y disposiciones naturales [Keimes-entwicklung], presentes en la fuerza interna formativa de cada especie –Zeugunskraft, la llama ya en su primer tratado sobre las razas humanas (AA 2: 435)6-, pero siempre, eso sí, inducidos por la interacción con el entorno. Las diferentes reflexiones de Kant durante la década silenciosa dejan siempre claro los papeles activo e interactivo que Kant siempre atribuyó a la mente y sus facultades. En la Reflexión 4275, fechada en 1770-71, escribe:


5 Kant emplea el término “Epigenese” en una obra publicada en la (primera) Recensión al primer volumen de Ideas para una filosofía de la historia de la humanidad (1784-1785) de Herder. (AA 8: 50)

6 Natalia Lerussi, apoyándose en Beiser, Zammito, Bernasconi y Shell, sostiene que la concepción kantiana de epigénesis tiene su fuente de origen y de inteligibilidad en la teoría de las razas desarrollada por el filósofo en tres textos, respectivamente, de 1775/1777, 1785 y 1788 (Lerusi 2013, p. 88.).


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Crusius explica los principios reales de la razón conforme al sistema de preformación (desde principios subjetivos); Locke conforme al influjo físico de Aristóteles; Platón y Malebranche por intuición intelectual; nosotros, según la epigénesis, a partir del uso de las leyes naturales de la razón.(AA 17: 492)

Son las mismas opciones que plantea en la Reflexión 4446 (1769-1772?) sobre los conceptos del entendimiento (AA 17: 554). En todos los casos, como señala la Reflexión 4851 (1776-78) se trata de entender conceptos intelectivos no como educta sino producta priori. Escribe literalmente:

producta o bien por influjo físico o conforme a las condiciones formales de nuestra sensibilidad y entendimiento con ocasión de la experiencia [bey gelegenheit der Erfahrung]; por lo tanto, producta a priori, no a posteriori” (AA. 18: 8).

Podríamos seguir acumulando reflexiones: la 4859 (1776-1778); la 5637 (1780-1783). Insiste siempre en la idea de una “epigenesin intellectualem” (AA 18: 12). Una idea que enfrenta, del mismo modo que hace el § 27 de la segunda versión de la Deducción Trascendental que ofrece la Crítica de 1787, tanto a la deducción empírica que intentaron los empiristas como al preformismo leibniciano. En último término, Kant apela a la capacidad de las facultades de la mente, como Naturkräfte, de autoengendrar conceptos; de producir formas, estimuladas por las fuerzas exteriores. De ahí la importancia de la afección sensible.

Lo mismo sucede en el plano de la embriogénesis. No compartimos, por ello, la mixtura que Boris Demarest ha defendido:

Kant (1) thinks of what is pre-formed as a species, not an individual or a part of an individual; (2) has no qualm with the idea of a specific, teleological principle or force underlying generation, and conceives of germs and predispositions as specific constraints on such a principle or force. (Demarest 2017, p.3).

La misma plasticidad germinal que Kant defiende nos obliga a pensar en procesos autopoyéticos cuyo resultado es siempre un natürliche Neubildungs-Prozesse, esto es, un proceso natural (no preestablecido) lleno de emergencias y ganancias (Moya 2008, pp. 159-182). Es un modelo presente desde comienzos de los ochenta, que se consolida tras las lecturas de Caspar Wolff y Blumenbach, y que no duda en elevarlo al plano filogenético de la evolución de las especies. Leamos la Reflexión metafísica 6302 (1783-1784):

La conservación de las especies [die Erhaltung der Arten] puede ser considerada o completamente natural o necesitada de un influjo sobrenatural. En el primer caso, podría ser visto también como natural el origen de las especies [der Ursprung der Arten], pues cada generación es, en cuanto nuevo comienzo [als neuer Ursprung], tan duradera como permitan las causas externas [fremde Ursachen] que pueden modificar y variar la fuerza formativa [die bildende Kraft] (AA 18: 574).

Considero, por ello, que el error fundamental a la hora de evaluar el papel de la epigénesis en la gnoseología kantiana radica en que no se ha sabido ver la prioridad que tiene el plano epistémico en la consolidación de su idea de epigénesis. Es lo que el filósofo llama la conciencia de la productividad de nuestro entendimiento y voluntad lo que, desde el plano


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reflexivo, le ofrece más aval. En Über den Gebrauch teleologischer Principien in der Philosophie (1788) lo señala con claridad:

Conocemos tales fuerzas según su fundamento de determinación a través de la experiencia de nosotros mismos, es decir, en nuestro entendimiento y voluntad, como causa de la posibilidad de ciertos productos” (AA 8: 181)

Añade Kant que el entendimiento y la voluntad son nuestras fuerzas fundamentales. Por eso, en el Opus Postumum insiste que es das Bewustseyn unserer eigenen Organisation als einer bewegenden Kraft der Materie macht uns den Begrif des organischen Stoffs (AA 21: 190].

Kant fue, en definitiva, más allá de Leibniz. Y en sentido opuesto. Entendió que la fuerza vital (vis vivifica) de todo lo orgánico es siempre autoorganizadora [AA. 21: 264 y 643; 22: 189; 22: 210]. “Los cuerpos orgánicos son aquellos que poseen —dice Kant [23: 484] — fuerza vital”. Y aunque siempre mostró serias reservas críticas a las implicaciones hilozoístas del epigenetismo (Zammito 2003, pp. 73-109], lo cierto es que pensó que por las fuerzas pasiva y activa emergen de la materia los cuerpos y sistemas físicos, y por la fuerza vital nuevos cuerpos orgánicos; seres orgánicos que, en circunstancias preservadas e inducidos por su entorno, son capaces de “reproducirse a sí mismos según la especie” y “existir para sí y por mor de sí mismos” (AA 22: 193]. En los Träume (1766), introduce, de modo pionero (Weber y Varela 2002, p. 106), la idea moderna de vida como la posibilidad interna de autoorganización o autodeterminación (AA 2: 327n.).

Los cuerpos orgánicos e inorgánicos, en definitiva, han de ser concebidos, por tanto, más que como sustancias, como “plexos de fuerza”. Es también el caso de la mente. Kant abandonó muy pronto la concepción del alma cartesiana. Para el de Königsberg, el alma no es “cosa”, sustancia, sino sistema. De ahí que la conciba de modo orgánico. Sustituye, así, el término Seele por el de Gemüt. La mente posee unas fuerzas o facultades irreductibles entre sí; cuenta con disposiciones naturales diferentes, y, por tanto, con capacidad de actuar y funcionar de distinto modo en función de su interacción con el mundo (entorno).

Insistir como Falduto (2017, pp. 21 y 26), o la misma tradición analítica, en abandonar el problema de las fuentes cognitivas para restringir el estudio de las facultades mentales o las formas a priori a la perspectiva de las condiciones de posibilidad no solo supone descuidar aspectos fundamentales del trascendentalismo kantiano, sino incapacitarse para entender de un modo adecuado las formas a priori como adquisiciones originarias.

No olvidemos dos cosas. Primero: las fuerzas o facultades de la mente, por sus disposiciones naturales, terminan teniendo fuerza normativa. Y, segundo: la deducción trascendental de las mismas categorías del entendimiento exige “examinar primero las fuentes subjetivas que constituyen la base a priori de la posibilidad de la experiencia” (KrV, A 97). Como escribe en la Analítica Trascendental, se trata



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de investigar la posibilidad de los conceptos a priori a base de buscarlos sólo en el entendimiento como su lugar de procedencia y a base de analizar su uso puro en general. Tal es la tarea propia de una filosofía trascendental. El resto pertenece al tratamiento lógico de los conceptos dentro de la filosofía en general. Perseguiremos, pues, los conceptos puros hasta llegar a sus primeros gérmenes y disposiciones en el entendimiento humano, en los cuales se hallan preparados hasta que, finalmente, la experiencia los desarrolla [entwickelt]. (KrV, A 66 /B 90-91).

O, como señalaba ya en la Reflexión 4873 (1776-1778): “Die transcendentale Philosophie betrachtet nicht die Gegenstände, sondern das Menschliche Gemüth nach den qvellen, woraus in ihm die Erkenntnis a priori abstamt”. (AA 18: 16)7.

Consideramos, por lo demás, que Heinrich (1989) ha aportado suficiente información sobre el contexto jurídico de la deducción trascendental de Kant como para concluir que la quaestio originis y la quaestio iure están indisolublemente unidas en su filosofía trascendental.

Formas a priori y adquisiciones originarias

Aunque como ha defendido Scheurer (1982, p. 241), Newton, a fin de que sus Principia fuesen más fácilmente comunicables y entendibles en su tiempo, lo publicó en forma de lenguaje geométrico, lo más característico de la revolución newtoniana fue un cambio de lenguaje matemático que le permitió reducir los principios físicos a principios matemáticos, como hace en los dos primeros libros, para después, como hace en el tercero, aplicar esos principios matemáticos a fin de resolver problemas físicos. Y es que su novísimo cálculo de fluxiones, le permitió pensar en términos de rectas y curvas trazadas a partir de puntos en movimiento, elongables. Lo que está en juego no es, como sucedía en Galileo, un trazado cinemático de las condiciones de un espacio geométrico (donde la descripción del movimiento se hace en función de la posición), sino más bien estudio de las propiedades del espacio a partir de principios dinámicos (de magnitudes que “fluyen”, es decir, que indefinidamente hacen crecer otras magnitudes).

Un ejemplo, extraído del Waste Book (8 de noviembre de 1665), una especie de cuaderno de notas del propio Newton, servirá para ilustrar su programa. En efecto, a la hora de resolver el problema matemático de cómo trazar tangentes a líneas mecánicas, Newton aplica principios del movimiento rectilíneo uniforme (inercial). En esencia, su procedimiento es análogo al que aprenden los estudiantes de los primeros cursos de física cuando tienen que resolver problemas de composición y descomposición de fuerzas. En efecto, supongamos que tenemos las dos rectas OA y OB y que tratamos de encontrar su tangente.


7 En Welche sind die wirklichen Fortschritte, die Metaphysik seit Leibnizens und Wolffs Zeiten in Deutschland gemacht hat? (1791), escribe: “Para resolver el problema de la Razón es necesario considerarlo en su relación con las facultades que configuran lo que puede llamarse una ‘Razón pura’, las cuales permiten al hombre disponer de conocimiento a priori”. AA 20: 324.


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Evidentemente, esas dos rectas pueden ser interpretadas dinámicamente como dos fuerzas centrífugas que se ejercen sobre un mismo punto (O), es decir, con un mismo punto de aplicación, con lo que el problema de encontrar la tangente se reduce a hallar la fuerza resultante, entendiendo OA y OB como sus componentes. Teniendo en cuenta la regla del paralelogramo, trazamos paralelas a cada fuerza, que pasen por el extremo de la otra, esto es


De este modo, uniendo el punto de aplicación mecánico (O) con la intersección de las paralelas tenemos la fuerza resultante (FR) y, por ende, la tangente buscada. Gráficamente:



El principio fundamental con el que se construye el método de fluxiones es un principio básico de la mecánica: toda magnitud matemática, la extensión por ejemplo, puede concebirse como generada por un movimiento local continuo.

Traigo a colación este capítulo de la historia de la ciencia moderna, porque si uno lee la introducción a la Dialéctica trascendental que Kant hace en sus dos versiones de la Crítica de la razón pura, descubre que Kant, a la hora de explicar el origen del error, utiliza el procedimiento newtoniano de la composición de fuerzas. En efecto, para Kant, ni la verdad ni el error se hallan en el objeto en cuanto intuido, sino en el juicio sobre éste en cuanto pensado. Es, pues, correcto decir que los sentidos no se equivocan, pero no porque juzguen correctamente, sino porque no juzgan en absoluto. La sensibilidad, recordemos, siente o intuye, pero no piensa (KrV, A 51-52 / B 75-76). Tampoco hay que atribuir el origen del error al entendimiento puro: en un conocimiento enteramente concordante con las reglas del entendimiento, no hay error. Ninguna fuerza de la naturaleza puede, por sí sola, apartarse de sus propias leyes. Y el entendimiento es –lo repetimos- una fuerza normativa más de la naturaleza; lo dice ya con meridiana claridad en el Preisschrift de 1764: “El entendimiento humano, como cualquier otra fuerza de la naturaleza [so wie jede andere Kraft der Natur], está sujeta a ciertas reglas.” (refl. III, § 1; AA 2: 292). Por eso,

Como no tenemos más que estas dos fuentes de conocimiento, llegamos a la conclusión de que el error sólo es producido por el inadvertido influjo de la sensibilidad sobre el entendimiento. A causa

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de tal influjo, ocurre que los motivos subjetivos del juicio se funden con los objetivos, haciendo que éstos se aparten de su disposición del mismo modo que un cuerpo en movimiento seguiría siempre, de por sí, la línea recta […] (KrV, A 293-295 / B 350-351)

Es preciso, señala Kant, distinguir el acto propio del entendimiento respecto de la fuerza sensible que con ella se compone a fin de evaluar la relación entre las dos; o sea, si el influjo de la sensibilidad es conforme o disconforme con las reglas propias del entendimiento, pues solo en el primer caso podrían ser obtenidos juicios puros a priori.

Pues bien, teniendo en cuenta que en la misma Crítica de la razón pura nunca deja de pensar la mente como una comunidad de interacción (sistema) y su dinamismo -también su normatividad— como un modo más del dinamismo y actividad propia de la naturaleza [freiwirkenden Natur (KrV A 626 /B 654)], podemos lograr una explicación adecuada y precisa, más allá de las confusiones de analíticos y hermeneutas, no solo del significado de las formas a priori como adquisiciones originarias, sino también del gap que separa el apriorismo kantiano del innatismo preformista. Mostraremos, incluso de modo gráfico, que aquél siempre supone, conforme a la idea de epigenesia, ganancia, adquisición, Erwerbung; el segundo, herencia [Vererbung]. No hacemos, en cualquier caso, otra cosa, que apoyarnos en la tarea que se impuso a sí mismo Kant en el comienzo de la Analítica de los Conceptos (KrV, A 66 /B 90-91), y que repite en el § 4 de los Prolegómenos: buscar aquellos conocimientos que la razón misma [Vernunft selbst] en su ejercicio desarrolla [entwickelt] a priori a partir de sus ursprünglichen Keimen (AA 4: 274).

Partimos, pues, sin las dudas que manifiesta Rancán de Azevedo (2008) en su, por otra parte, bien documentado trabajo sobre lo innato en Kant, de una premisa: Kant rompe la ecuación innato=a priori, planteando la alternativa de una adquisición originaria o a priori (Yamane 2010, pp. 416-417.), un concepto que Kant toma del derecho natural (AA 8: 221) y más en concreto, como anota en la Metafísica de las costumbres, de la noción de posesión jurídica (AA 6: 258)

Adquiero una cosa cuando hago (ejficio) que algo devenga mío.. -Originariamente mío es lo exterior que también es mío sin un acto jurídico. Pero una adquisición originaria es aquella que no se deriva de lo suyo de otro. Nada exterior es originariamente mío; pero sí puede ser adquirido originariamente, esto es, sin deducirlo de lo suyo de algún otro.

Todos para Kant tenemos el derecho a una primera ocupación de un suelo como adquisición originaria, pero alguien puede llegar a tener legitimidad para hacerse dueño de una parcela privada fundándose en la posesión común originaria del suelo y en una voluntad de uso (libertad exterior), que le corresponde a priori, siempre y cuando no haya ningún propietario que, apelando a lo que es suyo por herencia o compra (derecho real), se oponga a la ocupación e impida su uso privado por otro durante un tiempo prolongado8. Podemos decir que en tal caso, la segunda adquisición ex novo también es originaria. Por prescripción adquisitiva o usucapión. Gráficamente:


8 En el Código Civil español ese uso sin oposición se fija en 30 años.


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La possessio communis originaria del suelo no legitimaría la apropiación privada, sino que la limita en función del reconocimiento de la libertad de asentamiento de todo el género humano (AA 6: 261). Por eso, el uso y ocupación efectiva, no fraudulenta ni delictiva, justificaría el nuevo dominio sin dañar la libertad del otro, pues la ausencia de cuidado sobre el suelo poseído compromete los propios derechos (AA 6: 292-293). La nueva adquisición sería, en todo caso, originaria porque garantiza la posesión jurídica de un bien que antes de la acción de ocupar no se tenía en modo alguno. Como decíamos, hay facta que tienen valor jurídico.

Pues bien, Kant traslada este modelo no solo a la deducción trascendental de las categorías, sino a la de cualquier representación pura (incluidas las de espacio y tiempo) para explicar lo que desde el punto de vista epistémico llama “sistema epigenético de la razón”. “Epigénesis” y “adquisición originaria” apuntan así a un núcleo común de significado: a saber, la “actividad” de unas facultades de la mente capaces por su bildende Kraft de adquirir o producir a priori formas, siempre inducidas (que no fecundadas) por la experiencia (léase: sensaciones). Reproduzcamos al respecto un texto fundamental de la Crítica de la razón pura (A 85-86/B 118):

Tenemos ya dos clases de conceptos de índole completamente distinta, que coinciden, sin embargo, en referirse a objetos enteramente a priori, a saber, los conceptos de espacio y tiempo como formas de la sensibilidad, por una parte, y las categorías como conceptos del entendimiento, por otra. Pretender deducirlos empíricamente sería una tarea totalmente inútil, ya que el rasgo distintivo de su naturaleza consiste precisamente en que se refieren a sus objetos sin haber tomado nada de la experiencia para representarlos. Si hace falta deducirlos, su deducción tendrá, pues, que ser trascendental. No obstante, respecto de esos conceptos, como respecto de todo conocimiento, puede buscarse en la experiencia, si no el principio de su posibilidad, sí al menos la causa ocasional de su producción. En tal sentido, las impresiones dan el impulso inicial para abrir toda facultad cognoscitiva en relación con ellas y para realizar la experiencia.

Ésta incluye dos elementos muy heterogéneos: una materia de conocimiento, extraída de los sentidos, y cierta forma de ordenarlos, extraída de las fuentes internas de la pura intuición y del pensar, las cuales, impulsadas por la materia, entran en acción y producen estos conceptos.


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Me parece suficientemente claro el texto, pero volvamos otra vez a Über eine Entdeckung, porque allí Kant realiza seis afirmaciones que recojo con literalidad y que han de ser interpretadas como precisiones conceptuales y terminológicas decisivas (AA 8: 222-223):

  1. La condición de posibilidad de la intuición sensible no es ninguna intuición sensible, ni un concepto del entendimiento, ni una imagen; es la propia receptividad de la mente cuando se ve afectada por algo (en la sensación) para obtener una representación de acuerdo con su naturaleza subjetiva.

  2. Solo esta primera condición formal, por ejemplo de la posibilidad de una intuición del espacio, es innata9, no la representación del espacio misma.

  3. El espacio, como una noción adquirida originariamente (la forma de objetos externos en general), cuyo fundamento es innato (como mera receptividad), se adquiere mucho antes de la concepción definida de las cosas que se ajustan a esa forma, cuya adquisición es una adquisición derivada.

  4. Toda adquisición derivada presupone conceptos trascendentales del entendimiento.

  5. Los conceptos trascendentales son adquiridos y no innatos, pero su adquisición, como la del espacio, es originaria.

  6. Esa adquisición no presupone nada innato excepto las subjetivas condiciones de la espontaneidad del pensamiento (conforme a la unidad de la apercepción).

Reparemos en 1-6: hacen intervenir tres elementos: a) las condiciones subjetivas tanto de la sensibilidad como del entendimiento; b) las sensaciones, como efecto de la afección de nuestra sensibilidad por algo; c) el resultado del ejercicio de aquellas facultades: intuiciones puras de espacio-tiempo y conceptos puros del entendimiento. Son tres elementos que remiten a lo que supra llamábamos composición de fuerzas y que nos ha servido para explicar la adquisición originaria en el plano de la posesión jurídica.

En efecto, comencemos por las formas o intuiciones puras de espacio y tiempo. El esquema sería éste:


9 Kant introduce aquí en término angeborne para referirse a unas disposiciones naturales que no son adquiridas. Tengamos en cuenta que Kant siempre rechazó que los factores externos puedan producir gradualmente formas nuevas que no estén permitidas por la organización originaria (AA 2: 435; 8: 97). Lo contrario supondría, primero, en el plano bioevolutivo, la defensa de un epigenetismo espontaneísta, cercano a lo que será después el lamarckismo e incompatible con la idea kantiana de “planes de formación”; y, segundo, en el plano epistémico una idea querida para la epistemología darwiniana de “experiencia filogenética de la especie”, una noción que olvida la lección esencial de Kant: nunca podemos derivar el conocimiento a priori del saber perceptivo.

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En el lenguaje de la Estética Trascendental (KrV, A26-27/B 42-43):


Sólo podemos, pues, hablar de espacio, del ser extenso, etc., desde el punto de vista humano. Si nos desprendemos de la única condición subjetiva bajo la cual podemos recibir la intuición externa, a saber, que seamos afectados por los objetos externos, nada significa la representación del espacio. Este predicado sólo es atribuido a las cosas en la medida en que éstas se manifiestan a nosotros, es decir, en la medida en que son objetos de la sensibilidad.

Convendría, de todos modos, hacer una precisión en este punto. Ya en la precitada carta a Herz de 1772 Kant no parecía encontrar problema alguno en explicar la naturaleza a priori del espacio. Y es así porque tempranamente, en 1768, en el opúsculo Von dem ersten Grunde des Unterschiedes der Gegenden im Raume, había realizado tres hallazgos críticos importantes:

  1. Las representaciones intelectivas y sensibles son irreductibles. Basándose en el argumento de las contrapartidas incongruentes (Moya 2008, pp. 383-390) sostendrá que unas y otras no se diferencian solo por la mayor o menor claridad, sino por su origen o fuente (AA 2: 382-383).

  2. El espacio, en cuanto absoluto y originario, tiene la prioridad sobre las cosas que en él se representan (AA 2: 383).

  3. El cuerpo-sensible (y sus disposiciones) es el fundamento primero de la noción de espacio y sus regiones (AA 2: 378-379).

Si pasamos ahora al plano del entendimiento, tenemos que subrayar dos cosas. La primera es que, como Kant afirma nada más comenzar la “Analítica de los conceptos” (KrV, A 65 / B 89-90), el entendimiento, como subsistema de la mente, “constituye una unidad subsistente por sí misma, autosuficiente, no susceptible de recibir adiciones exteriores” [Er ist also eine für sich selbst beständige, sich selbst gnugsame und durch keine äußerlich hinzukommende Zusätze zu vermehrende Einheit]. En efecto, todo sistema S está integrado

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por una serie de elementos (E), que poseen una dinámica (D) y que interaccionan con un medio (M). Formalmente:

S = <E, D, M>


Es claro que, desde esta perspectiva sistémica (orgánica), el medio no es algo “exterior” que añada o adicione algo a la estructura “interna”. En otros textos hemos podido comprobar cómo Kant señala que el entendimiento nunca es “fecundado” por la experiencia. Aquí, en el pasaje de la “Analítica”, señala que no recibe adición exterior alguna. Es evidente: en cualquier sistema la interacción con el medio solo introduce una perturbación a la que responde con sus propias reglas el sistema. Por eso, a lo largo de este trabajo hemos manejado el término “induce”; una noción que nos lleva al segundo subrayado que queríamos hacer: las categorías como formas puras del pensar, como conceptos a priori, son también adquisiciones originarias (producciones) que requieren, tanto en su uso lógico como referencial, unas reglas que “debo suponer en mí ya antes de que los objetos me sean dados”; unas reglas (a priori, dice aquí Kant), que, inducidas por la interacción sensible con los objetos, “se expresan en conceptos a priori (welche in Begriffen a priori ausgedrückt wird) a los que, por tanto, se conforman necesariamente todos los objetos de la experiencia y con los que deben concordar”. (KrV, B XVII-B XVIII)10. De modo gráfico:


De nuevo, la interacción sensible, el momento receptivo, es necesario. Frente a Reinhold, Jacobi o Fichte, que consideraron que la idea kantiana de un sujeto a la vez sensible


10 En la “Analítica de los conceptos” Kant diferencia entre “conceptos a priori originarios” y “conceptos a priori derivados”. Son los dos puros, independientes de toda experiencia, pero los primeros no presuponen otro tipo de conceptos, como les sucede a los segundos. Kant cita la causalidad como concepto “originario” y el de “fuerza” como concepto puro derivado de él (A 81-82/B 107-108). Podríamos distinguir así entre adquisiciones originarias primarias y adquisiciones originarias secundarias.

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(receptivo) e intelectual (espontáneo) no debía ser tomada literalmente en serio, el mismo Kant, en lo que fue su último texto publicado en vida: “Erklärung in Beziehung auf Fichtes Wissenschaftslehre” (1799), defendió con rotundidad que “la Crítica ha de ser entendida atendiendo exactamente a su literalidad” [ so erkläre ich hiermit nochmals, daß die Critik allerdings nach dem Buchstaben zu verstehen] (AA 12: 370-371) 11 . Como ha escrito recientemente Dalia Nassar, si se desatiende a la receptividad sensible y se recupera, al modo poskantiano, con el concepto de autoproducción la viabilidad de una intuición intelectual, se hace difícil explicar la objetividad de las categorías (Nassar 2017, pp. 804- 805).

En resumen, la adquisición originaria de las formas a priori o representaciones puras por parte de nuestras facultades es el resultado de una composición de fuerzas: presupone, por un lado, como comienzo (en el orden temporal) la sensación (la interacción corporal- sensible con el mundo), pero, en cuanto totalmente independiente de ella, tiene, por otro lado, como condición formal las fuentes subjetivas de nuestra intuición y pensamiento. En el fondo, buscar el Ursprung der Begriffe exige, conforme al modelo epigenético, explicar die Enstehung der Begriffe; esto es, remitirlos a la capacidad autopoyética que la mente, como cualquier otro órgano, exhibe. Las formas puras o categorías, por eso, como dice la Dissertatio de 1770, in legibus menti insitis (attendendo ad eius actiones occasione experientiae)” (AA 2: 395). En el lenguaje de la Crítica, son die wahren Stammbegriffe des reinen Verstandes (KrV, A 81/B 107); esto es: serían ursprüngliche Stammbildung, dispuestos con el linaje característico de la especie [Stammgattung] humana 12. De ahí su validez universal y necesaria. La normatividad lógica presupone, pues, normalidad biológica, una invarianza funcional de la especie ante los problemas que les plantea a los individuos su medio ambiente. Gráficamente, y como modelo general de la adquisición originaria de las formas a priori, tendríamos:


11 El 11 de enero de 1799 en la misma Erlanger Literatuzeitung, en la que Kant publicará el 28 de agosto la “Erklärung”, apareció la recensión de Buhle del Entwurf der Transzendentalenphilosophie y en ella se comentaba: “Kant es el primer maestro (der erste Lehrer) la filosofía transcendental, y Reinhold el excelente divulgador de la doctrina crítica: pero el primer filósofo trascendental es sin duda Fichte. Fichte ha realizado el plan esbozado en la Crítica, y ha llevado a cabo sistemáticamente el idealismo transcendental insinuado [angedeuteten] por Kant.” (AA 13: 542-543).

12 Christoph Girtanner, discípulo de Blumenbach y seguidor de Kant, en Über kantische Prinzip für die Naturgeschichte ( 1796, pp, 58-59) tomó el concepto de “Stammgattung”, que Kant introdujo en su teoría de las razas, para referirse al conjunto de Keime y Anlagen que, como fuerzas generadoras, son responsables, en función de las circunstancias del entorno, de la emergencia y durabilidad de ciertos caracteres (fenotípicos) de cada raza. La tarea de historia natural consistiría en investigar cómo la forma original de cada Stammgattung de animales y plantas, su a priori biológico, fue adquirida; y cómo se han derivado gradualmente de ella las diferentes especies, en función de las variaciones del medio. Para apreciar la importancia de la visión kantiana en el desarrollo de este punto en la biología alemana de finales del XVIII y comienzos del XIX, véase el libro de Zammito The Gestation of German Biology (2018, especialmente pp. 313-316).

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  1. (eds.), Kant: Analysen—Probleme—Kritik , Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, pp. 71-90.


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    Kant’s anthropological study of memory


    HECTOR LUIS PACHECO ACOSTA


    Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Barcelona, Spain


    Abstract


    The aim of this article is to shed light on Kant’s anthropological theory of memory. I shall contrast physiological studies of memory against Kant’s own study. I suggest some ideas about the relation between memory and time, as long as memory has the power to store and reproduce the temporal configuration of our representations. Moreover, I deal with the problem of personal identity and I suggest that memory contributes to the possibility of this identity from a pragmatic point of view. Finally, I hold that Kant’s pragmatic anthropology does not only provide a description of memory for the human being’s self-knowledge but also for the human being’s self-perfection. Thus, such description discloses not only what the human being is but also what this can become, insofar as it is capable of perfecting itself.


    Key words


    Kant, anthropology, memory, personal identity, obscure representations


    Memory is at the center of the revolutionary redisposition of the powers of the mind, as it is undertaken in Kant’s lectures on anthropology, although unfortunately it has not yet received due attention among Kant’s commentators.1 James Russell (2014) and Robert


1 References to Kant’s works are by volume and page of Deutschen Akademie der Wissenschaften (ed.) (so- called Akademie edition), 1902–, Kants gesammelte Schriften, 29 vols., Berlin: Georg Reimer (later Walter De Gruyter) (AA). References to the Critique of pure Reason use the standard notation (CPR) followed by


[Recibido: 28 de marzo de 2019

Aceptado: 15 de abril de 2019]

Kant’s anthropological study of memory


Hanna (2012) were interested in the problem of memory, as they trace back the roots of episodic memory to Kant’s theory of spatio-temporal conditions of experience. I, by contrast, maintain that the essential characteristics of episodic memory can be found in Kant’s anthropological study of memory. It is noteworthy that Kant’s analysis of memory has its own place in the majority of his lectures on anthropology between 1772 and 1796 (Collins, AA 25:87; Friedlander AA 25:521; Pillau, AA 25:757; Menschenkunde, AA 25:974; Mrongovius, AA 25:1272-3). Although, such analysis is quite scattered in the Parow anthropology lectures (1772-3). Even, he attaches a distinctive place to memory in the book I ‘On the cognitive faculty’ in the Anthropology2 (see AA 7:182). However, Kant’s lectures on anthropology do not exhibit a monolithic description of memory but such description changes over the years, encompassing similar and different ideas. I shall peruse Kant’s official view of memory in the Anthropology, contrasting it with the role played by memory in his lectures on anthropology.


  1. Physiological vs pragmatic views on memory


    Kant’s anthropological analysis of memory is meant to be regarded as pragmatic rather than physiological, for his lectures on anthropology aim to reach a very useful knowledge for common human beings (see AA 15:801). However, Kant was acquainted with prominent authors associated with a physiological or medical approach, such as Johann Theodor Eller (1689–1760), Albrecht von Haller (1708-1777), Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon (1707-1788), Johann Gottlob Krüger (1715–1759), Charles Bonnet (1720-1793),

    Ernst Platner (1744 - 1818), among others (see AA 25:85-6; Kant, 2012, p. 2; Brandt, 1999, p. 65; Sturm, 2008, p. 496). J. G. Krüger, for instance, makes some physiological remarks on memory by stating that certain movements in the brain are at the basis of the power of imagination. It means that memory and remembrance are conditioned by the occurrence of such movements, insofar as the former relies on imagination (see Krüger, 1756, §69, p. 213). Accordingly, an excessive numbness in the fibers of the brain may cause not only the lack of memory but also paralysis in arms and feet. This numbness also accounts for the fact that memory is weaker in old age than in youth (see §69-70, pp. 213- 4, §74, pp. 220-1). Afterwards, Bonnet holds that memory, through which we retain ideas of things, is connected with the body (see Bonnet, 1770, §57, p. 42).


    Kant’s interest on physiological investigations of human nature is mainly evident in his Essay on the Maladies of the Head (1764), Review of Moscati’s “On the Essential Corporeal Differences between the Structure of Animals and Human Beings” (1771), Note



    the pages of its first (1781) and second (1787) edition (A/B). Translations are from the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant; it should be noted, nonetheless, that I have occasionally modified these translations. Where there is no reference to an English translation, the translation is my own. Here and throughout the thesis the genderunspecific reference (mind, subject, human being) is made with the pronoun ‘it’ and its cognates.

    2 All references to Kant’s Anthropology from a pragmatic point of view (1798) will have this form (Anthropology).

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    to Physicians (1782), “From Soemmerring's On the organ of the soul (1796), and the third essay of “Conflict of the Faculties” (1797). For instance, in his Essay on the maladies of the head, he maintains that the ‘disturbed faculty of remembrances’ (das gestörte Erinnerungsvermögen) is a particular form of the reversedness of the head and that the appearances caused by such illness are chimerical representations of previous states that never existed (see AA 2:267). This suggests that the role of the brain is essentially stronger in the early years of Kant’s lectures on anthropology than in the years thereafter (see Brandt, 1999, p. 65).


    However, Kant considers that physiological knowledge of human nature lies outside of the scope of pragmatic anthropology because the former describes a set of facts that cannot be changed by the subject, who would be then a mere observer of what takes place in its mind. In this vein, Kant holds:


    He who ponders natural phenomena, for example, what the causes of the faculty of memory may rest on, can speculate back and forth (like Descartes) over the traces of impressions remaining in the brain, but in doing so he must admit that in this play of his representations he is a mere observer and must let nature run its course, for he does not know the cranial nerves and fibers, nor does he understand how to put them to use for his purposes. Therefore, all theoretical speculation about this is a pure waste of time. (AA 7:119)


    Kant, as R. Brandt notices, is not committed to explaining how unavailable representations, although contained by the faculty of remembrance, are physiologically deposited in consciousness (see Brandt, 1999, p. 65). For the problem of the physiological process which are at the basis of memory was not relevant for his Anthropology (see also AA 15:749; 2:345; 29:908-9). Kant’s approach to Descartes’s view of (corporeal) memory3 leans partly on what he stated in the Passions of the soul:


    When the soul wants to remember something, this volition makes the gland lean first to one side and then to another, thus driving the spirits towards different regions of the brain until they come upon the one containing traces left by the object we want to remember. These traces consist simply in the fact that the pores of the brain through which the spirits previously made their way owing to the presence of this object have thereby become more


    3 Descartes introduced the notion of intellectual memory (in opposition to corporeal memory) during the spring 1640 in his letter to Mersenne (see Descartes, 1991, pp. 146, 148, 233), but Kant, in his Anthropology, mainly focuses on Descartes’ corporeal memory. Accordingly, I deem correct Emanuela Scribano’s claim that “a theory of “intellectual” memory not only surfaced in the year 1640, but, and above all, it was given a central role in human memory—even if that role was not specified. In any case, in 1644 memory still seems to be “intellectual” because it concerns thoughts not produced via brain traces, thoughts representing immaterial things” (Scribano, 2016, p. 142). However, there is no reference in the Passions of the soul to intellectual memory and this has led John Morris to say that Descartes was not yet ready to defend the doctrine of intellectual memory in public (see Morris, 1969, p. 457; see Yates, 1966, pp. 370-4). Against the latter interpretations see: Kessler, 1988, pp. 509-518, Sutton, 1998, pp. 64-5, and others.

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    apt than the others to be opened in the same way when the spirits again flow towards them. (Descartes, 1985, article 42, pp. 343-4)


    To remember something, it is necessary to find the traces left by the impressions of objects, so that the spirits easily can go through those traces and the more they go through them, the easier it will be the act of remembering. Images are stored in memory, akin to the lines left by a folded and unfolded piece of paper; this is pointed out by Descartes in a letter (1640) to Meysonnnier: “for the impressions preserved in the memory, I imagine they are not unlike the folds which remain in this paper after it has once been folded; and so I think that they are received for the most part in the whole substance of the brain” (Descartes, 1991, p.143). These spirits are nothing but a very fine air, contained by little tubes (nerves) coming from the brain, which transmits information through the nervous system (see Descartes 1985, article 7, p. 330; 1985, p.100). As a consequence, these spirits can be regarded as purely physical items whose role is probably filled today by neuro- electrical impulses (see Descartes, 1985, article 10, pp. 331-2; Cottingham, 1993, p. 13).


    The act of finding something in memory is connected with the pineal gland, which is “where the seat of the imagination and the ‘common’ sense is located” (Descartes, 1985, pp. 106; see also pp. 340-1). Namely, the soul and the body interact with each other in the pineal gland. Memories, nonetheless, are not exclusively received on the gland but are also retained in different areas of the brain (see Sutton, 1998, p. 63). Descartes’ “pneumatic” explanation of the nervous system invokes nothing more than mechanical micro-events that are explained in the same way as any other physical phenomenon (see also Cottingham, 1993, pp. 13-4; Joyce, 1997, p. 376). However, his psychophysiological ideas do not pretend to locate memory’s seat but rather to model the mechanism of retention and storage (see Sutton, 1998, pp. 52-3). Of course, some of Descartes’ ideas about memory had a big influence on his contemporaries and on subsequent philosophers; thus, correctly Joyce suggests that


    One trend in the Renaissance was toward placing more weight on physiology and an organic conception of the soul, and many naturalistic works were published in the spirit of the Alexandrian revival of the fifteenth century, more in line with the materialistic account of memory favored in Descartes's published works. (Joyce, 1997, p. 381, footnote 17).


    Similarly, John Locke holds that external objects produce ideas in us if any motion goes from the object to our sense-organs, which is continued by our nerves (named animal spirits), by some parts of our body to the brain (see ECHU 2.8.12. 171-2; 2.9.3. 183-4).4 Locke believed that memory was grounded on processes occurred in the brain and that the constitution of the body could affect memory, just like diseases (even fever) can strip the mind of all its ideas (see ECHU 2.10.5. 196-7; Brandt, 1999, p. 64; Sutton, 1998, p. 170). Locke also explains why sleeping thoughts are forgotten, by claiming that “the memory of


    4 All references to Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding will have this form (ECHU), followed by book, chapter, section numbers, and the pagination in Locke (1959).

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    thoughts, is retained by the impressions that are made on the brain, and the traces there left after such thinking” (ECHU 2.1.15. 134). Locke argues that when an ‘awaking man’ thinks, the materials of the body are employed, but when a man sleeps its soul thinks apart and makes no use of the organs of the body, it brings as a result that no impression is left on the brain, and, therefore no memory of these thoughts remains.


    In contrast, Kant is not interested in a “scholastic” anthropology that produces science for the school, but which is of no utility to the human being (AA 25:856, 853). Therefore, he does not aim to explain which physiological brain process are at the basis of the faculty of remembrances (see AA 7:176; 15:801; see also Svare, 2006, p. 87). He is rather concerned with the identification and application of what might hinder or stimulate people’s memory:


    If he [someone] uses perceptions concerning what has been found to hinder or stimulate memory in order to enlarge it or make it agile, and if he requires knowledge of the human being for this, then this would be a part of anthropology with a pragmatic purpose, and this is precisely what concerns us here. (AA 7:119)


    In Kant’s view, memory is not a subject-matter of natural sciences and he does not want to provide a purely speculative analysis of memory. Instead, he champions the sort of knowledge that turns out to be useful for human beings in common life; thus, special tricks, like rhymes, or maxims in verse (versus memoriales), become a great advantage to the mechanism of memory (see AA 25:1282, 762). It follows that all pragmatic knowledge, or skills derived from cultural progress should have no other goal than its use for the citizens of the world, that is to say, these are pursued by us in as much as we benefit from them (see AA 7:119).


    In a section of the Metaphysics of Morals, amazingly titled “A human being's duty to himself to develop and increase his natural perfection, that is, for a pragmatic purpose”, Kant maintains that the human being looks after its own perfection: “a human being has a duty to himself to cultivate (cultura) his natural powers (powers of spirit, mind, and body), as means to all sorts of possible ends” (AA 6:444). It means that the human being should work on its natural predispositions and capacities, if it is to be regarded as an animal rationale. Of course, the human being uses its powers according to the freedom by which this determines its scope. However, the human being should not develop its capacities for the advantages involved in their cultivation but rather for a command of a morally practical reason (see AA 6:445; 7:277). The improvement of memory should be a subject of study for education, because the latter seeks to promote the general and particular culture of the powers of the mind. Kant suggests that the improvement or “culture” of memory belongs to the particular culture, as long as memory is a cognitive faculty that belongs to the lower powers of the understanding (see AA 9:475; 6:445).


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    Memory is a power of soul crucial for the self-improvement, since it is a disposal of the understanding i.e. of the rule which is used by human beings in order to fulfill their purposes. The analysis of the forms of memorizing is one of the most evident signs of Kantian interest for the human being’s self-development. Certainly, he seeks to identify what can enlarge or make memory agile, in order to reach a more effective use of memory in the daily experience (see AA 7:119, 183; Svare, 2006, p. 56). As a result, a more effective use of memory can contribute to the human being’s fulfillment of its duties with itself and with the others, for “quite apart from the need to maintain himself, which in itself cannot establish a duty, a human being has a duty to himself to be a useful member of the world” (AA 6:445-6). Kant is concerned with the cognitive role of memory in his pragmatic study of the functioning of memory and of the way in which certain social practices enhance the human being’s memory. As Helge Svare notices, pragmatic anthropology seeks to identify what promotes or impedes memory, and that is why the study of human behavior in context becomes central. That study focuses on:


    Exploring what either promotes or impedes memory, we have to look at the practices entertained by people trying to learn, for instance, a certain method or technique. Or we may look at the pedagogical institutions where the art of making students remember what is being taught is cultivated in the form of didactic practices. (Svare, 2006, p. 87)


    The contribution of memory to human self-perfection is also linked to the field of education as the human being must look after the cultivation of memory as well as of the understanding, even from a very early age. For instance, memory can be cultivated by remembering the names in stories, or reading and writing texts that should be understood by the child in languages that the children should be taught, first by hearing while they are in social intercourse, even before they can even read (see AA 9:474-5).


  2. Memory and time


    In this section I suggest that, according to Kant, memory is a storing-reproducing faculty that preserves the formal and material conditions of experience, so that memory stores and reproduces experienced events, as well as tensed and tenseless temporal relations contained in these events (see Pacheco, 2018). This description of memory agrees with recent characterizations of episodic memory, according to which it stores “spatial and temporal landmarks that identify the particular time and place when an event occurred” (Squire & Shrager, 2009, p. 19; see on this point also Tulving, 1972, p. 385). J. Russell and

    R. Hanna argue for Kantian roots of a current account of episodic memory, particularly with regard to Kant’s account of space, time, and the synthetic unity of experience (see Russell & Hanna, 2012, pp. 32-4). Unfortunately, they do not deal particularly with Kant’s account of memory. Furthermore, Russell argues that “Kant’s analysis of the spatiotemporal nature of experience should constrain and positively influence theories of episodic memory development” (Russell, 2014, p. 391). However, I shall not argue that



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    Kant’s theory of space and time evidences the existence of episodic memory, but rather that his theory of memory involves essential elements associated to this kind of memory.


    Kant suggests, in different places, that memory involves tensed temporal series, for it constitutes a mental power directed at the past (see AA 25:1277, 1289, 1471; 15:816). For instance, he admits in the Anthropology that the ‘faculty of remembrance’ (Erinnerungsvermögen) is a sensible faculty by which human beings are capable of bearing in mind the past through imagination:


    The faculty of deliberately visualizing the past is the faculty of memory, and the faculty of visualizing something as taking place in the future is the faculty of foresight. Provided that they belong to sensibility, both of them are based on the association of representations of the past and future consciousness of the subject with the present; and although they are not themselves perceptions, as a connecting of perceptions in time, they serve to connect in a coherent experience what no longer exists with what does not yet exist through what presently exists. (AA 7:182)


    Nevertheless, the quoted passage is ambiguous because it is not clear whether the faculty of remembrance, or rather the past, present or future state of the subject cannot be regarded as a kind of perception. In my view, this impossibility should be admitted with regard to the faculty of remembrance, for a particular kind of perception, i.e. an empirical representation accompanied by consciousness (see AA 7:144; 9:65; CPR B160, B207), cannot reach the status of a mental power. In Kant’s view, the faculty of remembrance has the power to associate the representation of a past ‘state’ (Zustand) of the subject with that of its present state. Since this faculty has the power to unite perceptions in time, the following interrogation arises: What perceptions is Kant referring to? The passage apparently suggests that perception is constituted by a set of items that differ by their temporal condition, namely ‘what no longer exists’ (the past), ‘what does not yet exist’ (the future) and ‘what presently exists’ (the present):


    Although they [the faculty of memory and that of foresight] are not themselves perceptions, as a connecting of perceptions in time, they serve to connect in a coherent experience what no longer exists with what does not yet exist through what presently exists. (AA 7:182)


    Memory is a necessary faculty for the connection of perceptions in a ‘coherent’ (zussamehängende) or connected experience. To my knowledge, ‘what no longer exists’ expresses the form of a representation evoked by memory, namely the tensed temporal determination of a representation by which the latter exists in the past. This representation also expresses the matter of a representation, that is, that which no longer exists and can only be previously derived from sensibility, such as color, figures, flavors, sounds, etc. Therefore, the power of memory includes the reproduction of both the form of perceptions


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    and their matter, so that perceptions or similar kinds of representations (“intuitive- remembrances”) also can be reproduced by memory.


    The relation between tensed aspects of time and memory is also indicated by Kant’s claim that “they are called the faculties of memory and divination, of respicience and prospicience (if we may use these expressions), where one is conscious of one’s ideas as those which would be encountered in one’s past or future state” (AA 7:182; see also 25:974; Krüger, 1756, §68, p. 212). Accordingly, memory is a reproductive power of imagination through which we can be conscious of ideas that, according to their temporal features, are posited in the past and, according to its material content, are derived from sensibility (see AA 29:881). Thus, it seems reasonable to assert that “a memory is an inner appearance that has temporal content (i.e., what the memory represents is temporally ordered)” (Bader, 2017, p. 133).


    As noted earlier, Kant holds that memory has the power to reproduce voluntarily former representations, and this prevents the mind from being a mere plaything that has no control of its functions. This reproduction involves three different acts that constitute the formal perfections of memory5 : ‘to grasp’ (fassen) something rapidly in memory, ‘to recollect’ (besinnen) it easily and ‘to retain’ (behalten) it for a long time (see AA 7:182). The first act means that memory representations must be processed in order to identify the pursued one, among several representations, and once this representation is identified, it is certainly caught up. The second one refers to the effort or the act by which the representation is brought to consciousness (see AA 25:521). Finally, the third one consists in the act of retaining the yearned representation for a sufficient time, so as not to lose it. Kant, nonetheless, confesses that these acts do not appear always together, for sometimes one believes that one has something in memory but one cannot bring it to consciousness, namely one cannot ‘remind’ (entsinnen) it (see AA 7:182).


    The functioning of memory is described as follows: to remember something we need to catch it from memory, then we must recollect it by means of imagination and finally we have to retain it in consciousness. Moreover, memory stores many representations by using the reproductive imagination to evoke them. Indeed, Kant says that “this reproductive power of imagination is that which lies as ground of memory and is differentiated from the latter only by the fact that consciousness must come in addition and then, it is memory [for] does not produces anything but only repeats it6 (AA 25:1464; my translation; see also AA 25:511; 7:182; Bruder, 2005, p. 10). Accordingly, the act of remembering


    5 Ernst Platner suggests a very similar description of memory, according to which memory is composed by three effects: i) ‘receptivity’ (Empfänglichkeit), that is, the capacity to catch something; ii) ‘to retain’ (Behalten) something and iii) ‘remembrance’ (Erinnerung), understood as the activity through which the retained ideas can be brought back and represented to the soul with the consciousness that we had them previously (see Platner, 1772, §336-7, p.104).

    6 Diese reproductive Einbildungskraft ist die, welche dem Gedächtniße zu Grunde liegt und ist von derselben in weiter nichts unterscheiden als daß das Bewustseyn hinzu kommen muß, und dann wird sie Gedächtniß Sie bringt nichts hervor sondern wiederholt nur” (AA 25:1464).

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    demands consciousness of the stored representations, and an agreement between the initial experiential input received from experience and its faithful reproduction through memory (see AA 15:805).


    Furthermore, Kant suggests that our experience of the world often involves a reference to the past (and to the future). For instance, in our daily experience, we can observe that if we stare at a particular street, this empirical intuition somehow triggers our memory, reproducing a past representation associated with the intuition. As a result, our mind “draws forth the representations of the senses from previous times, and connects them with the representations of the present” (AA 28:236). The aforementioned example entails a form of consciousness, for “in the intuiting of the present we always look at the past and the future. We put it into connection in this way and we become conscious of it”7 (AA 25:87; my translation). It follows that, we can be conscious of what has been stored, of what is recently apprehended, and of the connection between them (see AA 28:236). This connection is determined by the law of association inasmuch as the empirical intuition should be similar with the reproduced past representation; these recalled representations can be images, sounds, concepts, etc., which express a past episode of our life associated with what we are experiencing.


    The association between memory and time is clear in the description of autobiographical memory as the set of memory that human beings have about their past experiences (see Robinson, 1986, p. 19; Kasabova, 2009, pp. xi, xiv). This idea was present in Kant’s own philosophy. Like H. J. Paton, Anita Kasabova maintains that memory is a consciousness of the past, which comes in two steps, that is, retention and recollection. Concerning the latter, she claims:


    Recollection (…) is the reflective level of recalling not only the past object, but recalling it as past. In order to do that, we have to recall the elapsed act as well as the elapsed object so that what is not now present once more appears before us. (Kasabova, 2009, p. 92)


    Accordingly, both Paton and Kasabova stress the difference between to recall a past object and to recall the tensed temporal cues that posit the object in the past and not in the present. This distinction can be supported by Kant’s Reflexionen zur Anthropologie where he claims that “there is a distinction [crossed out: itself the] between to have the learned in memory and to remember the time in which we receive these representations” 8 (AA 15:148; my translation). It means that, for instance, when we remember the first time we rode bicycle, we do not remember only the representations associated with the event but also their “position” in time as past (see Paton, 1939, pp. 171-2). As a result, the



    7 “Beym Anschauen des gegenwärtigen sehen wir stets aufs vergangene und aufs künftige. Dadurch bringen wir es in Verbindung, und werden es uns bewußt” (AA 25:87).

    8 “Es ist ein Unterschied, sich der das Gelernte im Gedachtnis zu haben und sich der Zeit zu erinnern, da wir

    diese Vorstellungen empfingen” (AA 15:148).

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    remembrance of the tensed temporal position prevents us from regarding the past representation as a new one in the mind but rather as a remembrance.


    It is tempting to assume that, according to Kant, the representations of our inner states are ordered according to tenseless temporal relations of succession or simultaneity, so that our autobiographical recollection involves the temporal relations, according to which our past representations can be ‘earlier’, ‘later’, or ‘simultaneous’ to others (see Pacheco, 2018). However, since the dimension of time is succession and all representations of ourselves are related in time, then our autobiographical memory involves a successive time-span of discrete episodes of our own life. This interpretation, to certain extent, agrees with Kasabova’s view of autobiographical recollection, as she claims that “recollection presentifies the past and constructs a temporal continuity of discrete episodes as ‘earlier’ and ‘later’: its sequences are arranged as the part in a literary work. If we read it, events unfold in a successive time-span” (Kasabova, 2009, p. 92). Kasabova surely is not concerned with our memory of time alone but also, like Kant, with the way the human being experiences time (see Kasabova, 2009, p. 94). Accordingly, in the Anthropology, Kant admits the possibility of experiencing time and this depends upon the experience of one’s life:


    How are we to explain the phenomenon that a human being who has tortured himself with boredom for the greatest part of his life, so that every day seemed long to him, nevertheless complains at the end of his life about the brevity of life? (AA 7:234)


    Kant answers that the thought of such brevity is motivated by the fact that the various and different tasks of the last part of an old person’s life produce in its memory the deceptive conclusion that this part has been a longer-travelled lifetime than what it actually was. In contrast, the emptiness of the major part of its early lifetime generates ‘little remembrance’ (wenig Erinnerung) of what has happened in its life, producing the illusion that this (early) part of its lifetime has been shorter than what it really was (see AA 7:234). In other words, the illusion of such brevity is produced by both the “memory scarcity” of events occurred in the early part of an old person’s life and the “rich memory” of events occurred in the late part of it. In this example, an old person experiences the brevity of its life as the brevity of time, and in terms of the present, past and future, for “to feel one's life, to enjoy oneself, is thus nothing more than to feel oneself continuously driven to leave the present state (which must therefore be a pain that recurs just as often as the present)” (AA 7:233). It means that the abolishment of a person’s life brings as a consequence the abolishment of time and vice versa.


    Furthermore, Kant indirectly points out the relation between self-consciousness and tensed series of time in the “Leningrad Reflexion on Inner Sense”, where he states that time contains the way in which we appear to ourselves. Therefore, the cognition of ourselves is


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    determined by the way in which we appear to ourselves in time. Kant here refers to the typical distinction between pure (transcendental) and empirical apperception: “the first merely asserts I am. The second that I was, I am, and I will be, i.e., I am a thing of past, present, and future time” (AA 18:623). The idea is that pure apperception refers to intellectual consciousness that, in strict sense, provides no cognition of ourselves, because the proposition “I am” is not an experiential proposition but, rather, a formal one.


    In contrast, empirical apperception emphasizes a temporality in the self, insofar as this is capable of obtaining an empirical cognition of its past mental states. This has led J. Bennet to claim that “when Kant speaks of ‘the determination in time’ of my existence he means the establishment of the empirical facts about me-of what my states have been-at the various stages in my history” (Bennet, 1966, p. 205). Of course, the subject has access to a knowledge of its own mental history and to its past states, resorting to its memory. The empirical apperception, termed also “cosmological apperception”, allows the self to consider its existence as a magnitude in time and in relation to other external things: “I am immediately and originally conscious of myself as a being in the world and only thereby is my own existence determinable as a magnitude in time” (AA 18:623). In this vein, Kant does not deal with the self in “isolation”, but as a being posited in temporal relations of the present, past and future. Thus, these relations rule both its self-experience and its experience of other things. Indeed, Kant’s pragmatic account of memory includes not only an observational knowledge, but also a practical one that is meant to help our memory:


    The effort to remember the idea, if one is anxious about it, is mentally exhausting, and the best thing to do is to distract oneself for a while with other thoughts and from time to time look back at the object quickly. Then one usually catches one of the associated representations, which calls it back to mind. (AA 7:182-3)


    It follows that when too much attention is focused on what we try to remember, the act of “remembering” turns out more difficult; we should focus on other representations associated with that which is to be remembered, in order to bring it to our consciousness more easily (see also AA 25:975).


  3. Obscure representations in our memory


    The analysis of the emergence of unconscious mental content is not a discovery of Kant but is already present in Alexander Baumgarten9 and has its sources in the Leibnizian theory of the petites perceptions, which was probably known by Kant himself (see Kitcher, 2012, pp 10-11; Sánchez, 2012, p. 193). As Leibniz claims, “an obscure notion is one that is not sufficient for recognizing the thing that it represents” and adds an example: “I once saw a certain flower but whenever I remember it I cannot bring it to mind well enough to


    9 Baumgarten accepted the existence of dark perceptions in the soul; the collection of these perceptions was named fundus animae (see Baumgarten, 2013, §§ 10-11).

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    recognize it, distinguishing it from other nearby flowers, when I see it again” (Leibniz, 1989, pp. 23-4). Thus, clear ideas are those which, even as memories, represent the objects themselves with accuracy, while obscure ideas (notions) lack the original exactness, or have lost any of their freshness, and are faded by time (see New Essays, II. 29. 254. §2).10 Kant’s view of an obscure representation is slightly different from Leibniz’s own, albeit both take into consideration the existence of obscure notions and memory. As P. Kitcher notices (see 2012, p. 9), Leibniz grounds self-identity on the train of petites perceptions of which we are not conscious. These, nonetheless, are guarantee of the connection among the perceptions of our past existence (see New Essays, II. 27. 239. §14; see also Monadology,

    §§20, 23).


    Kant states in the CPR that the faculty of being conscious of oneself, like the faculty of memory, varies in degrees (see CPR B415 footnote; see also A175/B217). In this vein, Kant does not think that clarity is the consciousness of a representation, namely the less consciousness of a representation we have, the more obscure the representation is. He, by contrast, holds that “a representation is clear if the consciousness in it is sufficient for a consciousness of the difference between it and others” (CPR B415 footnote). We have representations in memory of which we have a certain degree of consciousness, which nonetheless is not sufficient for the remembrance, that is, sufficient to be remembered (see Svare, 2006, pp. 202-3).


    However, even though we are not conscious of these representations, we can still make a distinction in the connection of obscure representations, just like we do it with the marks of some concepts. It means that neither the consciousness, nor the distinction of the presentation (from others) prevents a representation from being obscure (as Leibniz believed). For this can only be “clear”, if we are conscious of its difference from other representations (on this compare Wolff, 1983, §729-30). For instance, we usually make a distinction between the concepts of right and equity, albeit we have no consciousness of their distinction. Likewise, a musician who hits many notes simultaneously when improvising is not necessarily conscious of the distinction among the different hit notes (see CPR B414-15 footnote).


    These obscure representations, nonetheless, should not be taken as an innate stock that reflects the world in its entirety in a metaphysical context (see Oberhausen, 2002, pp. 133- 4). Instead, these should be regarded, in general, as representations derived from experience, which are stored in memory and have an influence on our thoughts and actions. Kant even remarks that there are representations which we cannot be fully conscious of, so that we cannot, even by the most strenuous self-examination, “get entirely behind our covert incentives, since, when moral worth is at issue, what counts is not actions, which



    10 All references to Leibniz’s New Essays on Human Understanding will have this form (New Essays), followed by book, chapter, the pagination and section numbers in Leibniz (1996).

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    one sees, but those inner principles of actions that one does not see” (AA 4:407; see also 6:43, 51; Rockmore, 2012, p. 309).


    Kant’s anthropology lectures (including the Anthropology) have always stated the existence of unconscious representations, although his reflection on them changes over time (see Kitcher, 2012, p. 13). I am concerned with an aspect of this problem, namely the relation between obscure representations and memory.11 One of the most evident signs of the Kantian anchoring of obscure representations in memory can be found in the Busolt anthropology lectures from 1788- 1789, where he states that memory is “the field of obscure representations” (AA 25:1439-40). In other words, the mind is not totally transparent to itself but our memory encloses representations of our own mental states, which are not always “visible” to us. Instead, he remarks that


    One can represent the human soul as a map, whose illuminated parts are the clear ones, especially bright, the distinct ones, and the unilluminated parts signify the obscure representations. Obscure [ones] occupy the biggest place, and are the ground of the clear ones. Human beings are often become a play of obscure representations. (AA 25:1440)


    Kant’s example reveals that the human being is not only conscious of all its mental processes but is also capable of noticing these in a particular way (see also AA 25:867-8). Like Leibniz, Kant argues (against Locke) that there are effectively obscure representations, whose existence we are not directly conscious of, but only through their effects. Concerning to the existence of obscure representations in the mind, Kant illustrates: “the field of sensuous intuitions and sensations of which we are not conscious, even though we can undoubtedly conclude that we have them; that is, obscure representations in the human being (and thus also in animals), is immense” (AA 7:135; see also 2:266). In this regard, mental processes demand that some of our representations should happen in our consciousness, while others should be kept in our memory in order to avoid an “overcrowding” of representations that could not be associated properly: “if I wanted to become conscious in an instant of all obscure representations all at once, then I would necessarily be very astonished at myself. Thus what lies in my memory is also obscure and I am not conscious of it” (AA 25:480). This has lead me to consider controversial Nuria Sánchez’s claim that


    The discovery of the predominance of obscure regions of the mind does not supply an instrument to reveal the most concealed human thoughts either, since it cannot break the resistance which human beings can oppose, in order to keep their thoughts hidden”. (Sánchez, 2012, p. 178)


    11 For a thoughtful study of the role of unconscious representation in Kantian theory of cognition, see Kitcher (2012).

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    I think that this interpretation causes some problems because, first, it suggests that there is no way to know these obscure representations, but such idea is contrary to Kant’s known suggestion that these representations can be cognized by means of inferences. Second, if the human being were capable of choosing, among many thoughts, those which need to be hidden, then these would not be contained in obscure regions, namely the human being would be conscious of them. It is a fact that the external observation of human beings makes them behave in a different way (hiding or changing behavior) as they feel observed. However, Kant does not regard this difficulty as a phenomenon brought about by obscure representations, but rather by a desire of disguising (see AA 7:120-1).


    Kant suggests at times that most of the human soul’s acts are carried out in obscurity and despite of the fact that we are not immediately conscious of obscure representations through senses, we could be conscious of their existence through inferences: “obscure representations are those of which we are conscious not immediately, but rather through their effects. Everything contained in our memory lies in the field of obscure representations” (AA 25:1439-40). He also sets out two similar examples of the existence of obscure representations:


    If an individual reads, then the soul attends to the letters, for if it spells [the words] out, then it reads, [and] then it attends to what it reads. The individual is not conscious of all this. The musician who is improvising must direct his reflection upon every finger he places, on playing, on what he wants to play, and on the new he wants to produce. If he did not do so, then he also could not play, but he is not conscious of this. (AA 25:479)


    Accordingly, the musician man’s reflection on the performed and pretended movements of his fingers is, on a certain level, obscure. For he is not conscious of every single movement of his fingers, which is involved in the more general act of improvising (see Svare, 2012, p. 203). Even more, Kant maintains that “the greatest store of cognitions exists in obscurity”, so that the cognitions of the soul depend upon philosophical reflections along with judgements that arise from obscure representations already prepared beforehand in obscurity (see AA 25:479). In this vein, human beings judge universally and such judgements are based on reason, although at times one is not aware of them because their ground lies in obscurity:


    For example, a drunken man is more tolerable than a drunken woman. Everyone judges this way. What is the basis? Women are subjected to impugnment. Why does one shake hands with a stranger with one’s right hand? The right hand is [our] active one, thus we leave it free for him. Why do we put the most distinguished among three [persons] in the middle? Because he can then converse on both sides. (AA 25:480)


    Indeed, the existence of obscure representations relies on the fact that the human being does not lose everything that has come to its mind, but some of those contents remain obscure in memory. These representations lie in the mind, although one cannot be


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    conscious of all of them in an instant. We are conscious of some of them only, if something, in the community with others, occasions them (see AA 25:868). Kant underlines that it is difficult to draw such representations out of obscurity in as much as one cannot inspect them directly. For when one is supposed to narrate something obscure, one can think of nothing, whereas if one simply were to narrate everything one knows, abundant representations would come to light indirectly. It is reasonable to suggest that “if we do not enter into the world, the obscure representations will have serious difficulties to be conveniently identified” (Sánchez, 2012, p. 200). However, these obscure representations, stored in memory, have a great influence on the human being to the extent that these can make understanding fall into error. It seems astonishing the fact that, according to Kant, human beings are a play of obscurity (see AA 25:481-2, 869).


    The study of secret processes in the soul is very important and still today controversial, since obscure representations like feelings, superstitious ideas, prejudices, etc., determine human being’s judgements (see AA 25:869). For it is common to observe that at times human actions or decisions are not determined by a judgement formed with consciousness, through a careful weighing of the pros and cons, but rather these are guided by a preliminary unconscious judgement (see AA 25:481). Despite of the fact that these obscure representations have an influence on our actions, they cannot be simply withdrawn thereby from our will (see Brandt, 1999, p. 150).


    In my view, Kant’s analysis of obscure representations could not only draw attention to their existence but also may help us to get rid of them in certain circumstances, since “obscure representations are that which produces, in one human being more, in the other fewer, follies. The human being is rational as long as this can consider itself superior to the influence of obscure representations” 12 (AA 25:870; my translation). Kant is here suggesting that the human being is aware of the existence of obscure representations in its mind, and that it has the power to overcome these, replacing them with representations guided by the free use of its own reason.


  4. Personal identity and memory


In this section I show how personal identity and memory are related in Kantian anthropology. I focus on the following questions: What would be the effects of the removal of memory from human self-consciousness? Does personal identity rely on memory? I shall not prove, or even attempt to prove, that memory can indeed provide an adequate criterion of personal identity. However, I shall assemble some indications about the contribution of memory to personal identity from a pragmatic perspective. As to the first question, I answer that there is a positive and negative effect.


12 “Dunkle Vorstellungen sind, das was bei dem einen Menschen mehr, bei dem andern weniger Thorheiten hervorbringt. Der Mensch ist vernünftig, so lange er sich des Einflusses der dunklen Vorstellungen überheben kann” (AA 25:870).

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On the one hand, Kant argues that the existence of many gaps in memory upon awakening, derived from inattention to neglected interconnected ideas, is a necessary condition for dreaming. That is to say, without these gaps we would dream, every night, again just where we were the night before, so that there would be a continuity not only in our waking life but also in our states of sleep and we would live in two different worlds. Certainly, these gaps of memory prevent us from being in a diseased condition in which we take the stories we sleep as revelations from an invisible world (see AA 7:175-6).


On the other hand, Kant holds that ‘forgetfulness’ (Vergeßlichkeit), contrary to memory, is a misfortune in which “the head, no matter how often it is filled, still remains empty like a barrel full of holes” (AA 7:185). Of course, being oblivious of remote or near past events can be caused by old age or by habits that humans have. This second case, for Kant, takes place in persons who read fiction books and have the freedom to create things according to the drift of their imagination. For instance, human beings’ occupation in fantasy and in all the ways of killing time undermines memory, making a human being useless for the world. Memory is weakened by fantasies that distract the human being, turning the absent-mindedness (i.e. a lack of attention to the present) into something habitual (see AA 7:185).


Kant warns against the potential risks of reading novels, suggesting that we should not read something in general with the aim of forgetting it in the future. Unfortunately, most of the people do not read novels with the aim of retaining them but simply to amuse themselves (see AA 25:1275, 979, 523), so that the more people neglect retaining things, the weaker the memory will be (see AA 25:1462). However, Kant’s observation of problems related to memory is not merely descriptive but it is also intended to help the human being to overcome them. For example, he suggests that to suspend our judgement may be helpful, if the human being wants to avoid a mistake derived from eventual memory faults (see AA 25:1273). Kant does not regard memory as an inalterable faculty but its capacity fluctuates over time; thus, in old age it is harder to grasp something in memory, although it is easier to extend it. Perhaps this happens because, so to speak, ideas have no more place for new information (see AA 25:1462, 522; 29:912). For instance, old people often can remember what they did as they were young but cannot remember what they did last night (see AA 7:185; 15:147, 149). Young people, by contrast, have a ‘capable’ (capax) memory rather than ‘tenacious’ (tenax) one, as far as they grasp quickly but they forget very soon (see AA 25:1462).


It may be pointed out that, in Baumgarten’s view, memory may be good with regard to extension or intensity. According to the first one, memory is vast and according to the second one, it is firm, tenacious, capable, vigorous or ready. Kant suggests that melancholic people have a vast and faithful memory, while choleric people have a faithful but not a vast memory (see AA 25:1276); sanguine people easily grasp something (capax memoria) but they cannot retain it for a long time, and phlegmatic people grasp something


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with difficulty but they retain it for a long time (tenax memoria) (see AA 25:975, 1273). It seems, however, that only some elements of this taxonomy lingered in Kant’s lectures on anthropology and most of them are left out (see AA 25:975, 1462; 21:443).


Moreover, unlike Kant, philosophers like Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Hobbes and even Leibniz believed that self-observation was only possible in the form of a remembrance. Descartes, by contrast, thought that this self-observation could take place ‘at once’ (see Kulstad, 1994, pp. 32-4; Brandt, 1999, p. 82; Bobro, 2004, p. 26). In my view, Kant occupies an intermediate position because all the representations, which are reached through a “synchronic” (simultaneous) empirical self-consciousness concerning one’s inner states, must be stored by memory as soon as they appear in consciousness. Even though a “synchronic” empirical self-consciousness is admitted, it does not entail that the representations of oneself are static or permanent, but they flow successively in time and cannot be stopped (see Pacheco, 2018). Thus, we can only be conscious of past representations, if memory stores and reproduces these representations; thus, memory grounds the connection of the present representations of our inner states with the past ones.


Kant nowhere explicitly states that memory is a necessary condition of self- consciousness, so that human beings could be conscious of their representations while being conscious of, say, inner states. However, all these representations are neither static nor fixed but rather they flow successively in time, so that they can only have continuity, if memory’s functions of storing and reproducing are presupposed. In other words, if memory were torn from the self-consciousness, the human being would be conscious of a set of totally new representations. As a result, memory is not a necessary condition of empirical self-consciousness, but rather a condition of the continuity of the representations derived from an empirical self-consciousness.


With regard to the second question, I argue that the unity and sameness of the self are grounded on memory from a pragmatic point of view. As A. Brook notices, this idea may be problematic, for it is difficult to find even “a prima facie argument for personal identity in the role of memory or other kinds of retention of representations and/or their objects in synthesis” (Brook, 1994, p. 187). Other commentators argue that personal identity cannot be justified via memory but, on the contrary, memory is grounded on both synthesis and the unity of consciousness (see Brook, 1994, pp. 179, 186; Paton, 1929, p. 324; Kitcher,

1990, pp. 124-6; Powell, 1990, pp. 158-9; Kemp Smith, 2003, p. 251). In other words, memory presupposes the notion of personal identity, so that the former should not be used to define personal identity. I believe, nonetheless, that these two claims are compatible, namely personal identity depends upon memory’s power to reproduce earlier experiences of our mental states (e.g. belief, desire, etc.) whose synthetic unity has been previously submitted to the unity of consciousness.


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Of course, the problem of the reliance of personal identity on memory was not only attractive for D. Hume (1978, pp. 262, 259) but also for J. J. Rousseau (1979, p. 283), D. Diderot, D’ Alembert (1769/1964, pp. 155-6), among others. For instance, Locke suggested that memory was a necessary condition for personal identity of the personal self:


As far as any intelligent being can repeat the idea of any past action with the same consciousness it had of it at first, and with the same consciousness it has of any present action; so far it is the same personal self. For it is by the consciousness it has of its present thoughts and actions, that it is self to itself now, and so will be the same self, as far as the same consciousness can extend to actions past or to come. (ECHU 2.27.10, 451)


Personal identity is not exclusively integrated by memory but also by consciousness, time, and action (see Powell, 1990, p. 155). Locke’s view of memory, albeit not unproblematic13, provides elements that are compatible with Kant’s own view. For, in Kantian anthropology, personal identity, to an extent, relies on our consciousness of past thoughts and actions.


In Leibniz’s view, personal identity is secured by continuity of consciousness or memory (see Kitcher, 2012, pp. 8-9). Indeed, he held in New Essays on Human Understanding that “the existence of real personal identity is proved (…) by present and immediate reflection; it is proved conclusively enough for ordinary purposes by memories across intervals and by the concurring testimony of other people” (New Essays, II. 27. 219-

220. §§9-10). Leibniz believed that consciousness was a necessary condition for personal identity and that memory is involved in the consciousness of our mental states, in as much as consciousness is nothing but a form of memory. It visibly means that if a human being were stripped of all sense of its past existence, beyond the power of ever retrieving it again, this could not be the same person anymore (see New Essays, II. 27. 238-9 § 13-14).


Similarly, Baumgarten grounds personality on intellectual memory: “reason (§640) is the faculty for perspicuously perceiving the correspondences and differences of things distinctly (§572, 579), and hence it is intellectual wit and acumen (§575), intellectual memory or PERSONALITY” (Baumgarten, 2013, §641). He also grounds personality on the spirituality of the human soul: “the human soul is a spirit (§754). Therefore, it has freedom (§755). And since spirituality, intellectuality, personality” (Baumgarten, 2013,

§756); thus, a human soul that cannot conceive of something distinctly nor determine itself


13 On the reception of Locke’s account of personal identity, see Sutton, 1998, p. 160f; Powell, 1990, pp. 152- 157; Ameriks, 1982, pp. 149-151; Kitcher, 1990, pp. 123- 127. The circularity objection to the memory criterion of personal identity can be traced back to E. Joseph Butler (1692-1752), who claimed that personal identity is not constituted by, but presupposed in our consciousness of the past, i.e. recollection. In his view, if our consciousness of the past were a condition of personal identity, it would imply erroneously that “a person hast not existed a single moment, nor done one action, but what he can remember; indeed none but what he reflects upon” (Butler, 1896, p. 388). Accordingly, the “remembering our experience of X” does not prove our personal identity, which arises rather from the fact that “we are the same while we are experiencing X”, so that our “remembering of X” presupposes the idea of personal identity (see Butler, 1896, p. 389; see also Bernecker, 2009, pp. 47-8).

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(according to its preferences), and which loses all of its personality and freedom, is merely a chimera.


Kant also accepts a relation between memory and personal identity. For he admitted Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s claim that “what I know surely is that the identity of the I is prolonged only by memory, and that in order to be actually the same I must remember having been” (Rousseau, 1979, p. 283); Kant integrated this claim into the Collins anthropology lectures (see AA 25:12). The identity of the person cannot be demonstrated as the human being does not have access to an empirical intuition of such identity, but rather to a stream of many representations: “with the human soul we cognize nothing perduring, not even the concept of the I, since consciousness occasionally disappears. A principle of perdurability is in bodily substances, but in the soul everything is in flux” (AA 28:764; see also 29:1038; CPR B415). Kant identifies the notions “the identity of the person” with “intellectual memory” and emphasizes that even though we cannot demonstrate this identity, we are allowed to assume its existence: “with respect to the identity of the person, intellectual memory <memoria intellectualis>, no one comprehends its necessity, and also cannot demonstrate it, although its possibility can be assumed” (AA 28:764). This identification can also be found in Reflexionen zur Anthropologie where he states that “memoria intellectualis [is] the identity of the person in its consciousness” 14 (AA 15:148; my translation). Indeed, Kant maintains that intellectual memory consists in the consciousness of oneself in a psychological sense and that it is concerned with personal identity (see AA 29:1036-1038). Certainly, it does not seem right to ascribe personal identity to a human being who lacks intellectual memory and suffers from amnesia that prevents it from reproducing memories of its personal life, past experiences, and so on (“autobiographical” memory). The importance of this identity is evident from a pragmatic point of view, as long as we use it all the time in our daily life. That is, we think of ourselves and others as creatures tied to the past, that is, as agents as having a personal identity constituted by a set of past social characteristics (see Wollheim, 1979, p. 224).


I believe that according to Kant, personality is what makes the human being rational. This idea can be inferred from a passage in which he comments that the best proof of the immortality of the human being (particularly of its soul) demands for the “future” life. The immortality entails the perdurability of the soul as substance, as a living being with representations and the survival of its personality. Kant underlines that without personality “one cannot say that human beings will exist in the future as rational beings. — Perduring memory <memoria perdurabilis>, connection of both states with the consciousness of the identity of the subject, without this the person is dead” (AA 28:688). Despite of the fact that the latter passage is extracted from an ontological rather than anthropological or scientific context, it still serves to show that personality, the status of rational being and memory are tightly connected in Kant.


14 “Memoria intellectualis — Identität der Person in ihrem Bewustseyn” (AA 15:148).

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Again, memory cannot guarantee a psychological continuity of intentions, beliefs, character traits, values, etc. It is plain that the human being is not conscious of all events of its life, but, as notices Brook, “we have countless representations of self of which we are not aware — memories of oneself, for example” (Brook, 1994, p. 151). Memory, hence, cannot provide the human being with an absolute continuity of all events relating to its existence but only with a relative one that involves memories of some number of events. This relative and partial identity, which could be called a “pragmatic identity” (see CPR A365-6), has been interpreted by A. Brook in terms of an illusion. He declares that


Kant was able to do something no one else has done. He was able to diagnose why memories of a certain kind, namely, of having had experiences and having done actions, as well as some other representations represented as past, generate an illusion that the earlier subject whose experiences and actions one represents as having been had or done is guaranteed to be oneself. (Brook, 1994, p. 179)


Accordingly, the relation between identity of the subject and memory is explained by means of a relation between “looseness in persistence” and “tightness in the unity of one's consciousness across time” (see Brook, 1994, p. 180). If my reading is correct, personal identity is possible, only if this relation is “displayed in memories of having had experiences and having done actions” (Brook, 1994, p. 180). Thus, Brook seems to suggest that personal identity, which is usually regarded as grounded on memory, is actually grounded on the unity of consciousness (see Brook, 1994, pp. 183-4, 193). In a sense, this is correct. For the empirical representations of myself can only be my representations, if transcendental apperception is presupposed. Kant even seems to leave open the possibility of an organization of memory content via apperception, insofar as memory is grounded on the reproductive power of imagination (see AA 29:884).


Indeed, memory is a source of representations of mental states, external objects, events, etc., which provides the human being with past materials in which this unity of consciousness is displayed. Kant notices the relevance of empirical material for the judgement “I think”. As he puts it: “only without any empirical representation, which provides the material for thinking, the act I think would not take place, and the empirical is only the condition of the application, or use, of the pure intellectual faculty” (CPR B423). Kant does not refer here to memory, although it is reasonable to consider that memory is concerned with the storing and retrieval of empirical material on which this pure faculty is applied. In brief, if memory is impossible without unity of consciousness, unity of consciousness is also impossible without a memory that provides a potential unified material (see on this point Strawson, 1966, p. 99 and Kitcher, 1990, p. 124).


On top of that, human consciousness of personal memories constitutes a conditio sine qua the human being could not represent itself as being the same. Since humans cannot reach an empirical intuition of their personal identity, it seems that any form of personal identity could only arise from the set of changes that constitutes the human being. This


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identity, which should be explained from a pragmatic perspective, is not only recognized by the subject, but also by other human beings in social intercourse. The relation between the human being’s self-consciousness of the representations of its lifetime and memory, as the faculty that has the power to preserve these representations, constitutes a basic condition for personal identity. Nuria Sánchez correctly points out that “the inner sense alone cannot yield any fruitful observation, because it is an uninterrupted flow of representations” (Sánchez, 2012, p. 184). It follows that without the “autobiographical” memory, the human being would not have access to the very stream of the past representations of its own existence.


However, this stream of representations must be somehow subject to a form of apperception, by which these are connected by consciousness as my memories (see AA 29:884). P. Kitcher points out a similar practical use of the term apperception, as she holds: “identical apperception is both necessary and sufficient for the practical use of the concept of personality. And, given human epistemic limitations, that is all that can be used” (Kitcher, 2011, pp. 186-7). Thus, without such unity of consciousness, these memories would not belong to one and the same human being but to various consciousness or “selves”. Evidently, Kant’s concern for a knowledge of the human being as embedded in the world is more obvious in the Anthropology than in the CPR.


Conclusion


Memory is a crucial power of the mind because it has the power to preserve the temporal framework of those representational contents that have been previously stored and later reproduced. The operations of memory are accompanied by our will, so that we voluntarily evoke contents that are to be remembered. Memory is also relevant for the problem of the brevity of life, in the sense that the duration of life seems to be longer if we have many memories of present events, but few of earlier ones. However, Kant’s analysis of memory is not only descriptive but also prescriptive, as he seeks a knowledge that may help us to improve our memory with regard to the number of things that can be remembered and the duration of those remembrances. Certainly, memory is not guarantee of personal identity, since the former cannot provide the human being with an absolute continuity of all events relating to its existence but only with a relative one that only involves some events. Finally, personal identity should be regarded as the composite of memory and the unity of consciousness because the former, integrated by memories of one’s past experience, presupposes the synthetic power of pure understanding as a necessary condition for experience in general.


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La necessità del gusto e il sensus communis kantiano.

A partire da alcune recenti letture


The Necessity of Taste and the Kantian Common Sense On the basis of recent interpretation


FEDERICO RAMPININI


Università degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata”, Italia


Sinossi


La nozione di “sensus communis” è una delle nozioni più importanti e allo stesso tempo complesse dell’intera filosofia kantiana. Tale complessità è dovuta alla diversità di significati che essa acquisisce nel corso degli scritti kantiani, i quali non dedicano mai una analisi precipua a questo concetto. Recenti studi, come quelli di Zhengmi Zhouhuang e di Serena Feloj, hanno contribuito a focalizzare l’attenzione su tale nozione, sulla sua importanza e sulle difficoltà ad essa connesse. Proprio a partire dalla discussione di queste interessanti analisi, vorrei proporre una lettura epistemologica del “senso comune”, che tenga conto della molteplicità delle connotazioni che tale nozione di volta in volta assume, senza per questo perdere di vista l’unità e la sistematicità del sistema delle facoltà. Questa nozione a mio giudizio può essere identificata con la stessa facoltà di giudizio: facoltà che nell’esperienza estetica esprime pienamente la sua eautonomia, essendo a sé stessa sia oggetto sia legge. In questa senso la trattazione del “sensus communis” rende più che mai evidente l’importanza e la ricchezza teorica dell’approfondimento delle condizioni trascendentali che ha luogo nella terza Critica.


Parole chiave


Kant, Critica della facoltà di giudizio, giudizio di gusto, facoltà di giudizio, senso comune.



[Recibido: 5 de abril de 2019

Aceptado: 27 de abril de 2019]

97


Federico Rampinini


Abstract


The concept of “sensus communis” is one of the most important, yet intricate, notions among the whole kantian philosophy. Such complexity is due to the diversity of significances that it acquires throughout the progression of Kantian texts, which never seem to devote to this concept a thorough analysis. Recent studies, such as those by Zhengmi Zhouhuang and Serena Feloj, have contributed to bring the attention to such notion, to its relevance and to its related hardships. Basing myself upon these interesting assessments, I would like to propose an epistemological reading of “sensus communis”, taking into consideration the multiple and diverse undertones it assumes from time to time without, however, losing track of the unity and systematicity of the faculties’ system: a faculty which in its aesthetic experience fully expresses its autonomy, being both the object and the law to itself. This notion, as I claim, can be identified with the faculty of judgement itself: in this regard the handling of “sensus communis” clearly emphasizes the relevance and theorical richness of the transcendental conditions’ in-depth examination held in the third Critique.


Keywords


Kant, Critique of Judgment, judgment of taste, faculty of judgment, common sense.


1.

Come è noto Kant nel corso dell’Analitica del bello1 volge lo sguardo al mondo del bello, orientando la sua ricerca non tanto all’oggetto d’arte o all’oggetto bello in sé, quanto piuttosto, in accordo con l’impianto generale della sua filosofia, al particolare giudizio attraverso il quale un determinato oggetto, naturale o artistico, viene valutato bello. Diversamente, non sempre, in modo particolare in ambito anglosassone2, è accolta l’idea, proposta fra gli altri da Garroni (1989), secondo cui l’Analitica del bello rappresenta un lento ma progressivo scavo verso la determinazione del Bestimmungsgrund del giudizio di gusto, e in generale della facoltà di giudizio. Le nozioni di “disinteresse”, “universalità” e “finalità senza fine”, che contraddistinguono lo sviluppo della trattazione kantiana (§§ 1- 17), non vanno intese in senso materiale, non devono essere attribuite né all’oggetto in sé, né al piacere del gusto, né tanto meno all’esperienza estetica nel suo insieme, che risulterebbero così astratti e meramente formali: esse piuttosto vanno concepite come qualificazioni delle condizioni trascendentali, del “fondamento determinante” del piacere e


1 Le opere di Immanuel Kant, come è d’uso, sono citate dalla cosiddetta Akademie-Ausgabe (Kant, 1900 sgg.) indicata con AA, seguita nell’ordine dal numero del volume, in caratteri romani, dal numero della pagina e della riga, in caratteri arabi, ed eventualmente, dopo i due punti, dal numero della pagina della traduzione italiana adottata. Solo la KrV viene citata, come di consueto, secondo la paginazione originale delle prime due edizioni. Nei passi citati lo spaziato è sempre di Kant, mentre il corsivo è mio. Faccio uso delle abbreviazioni consuete. Le traduzioni italiane a cui mi riferisco sono: per la Anth. si veda Kant (2010); per la GMS si veda Kant (2003); per le GSE si veda Kant (1989); per la KrV si veda Kant (2014); per la KU si veda Kant (2011); per la Log. si veda Kant (2010a); per i Prol. si veda Kant (1996); per WA si veda Kant (2013).

Vorrei esprimere la mia gratitudine al prof. Anselmo Aportone e alla prof.ssa Gianna Gigliotti, per aver letto con attenzione questo testo e per avermi fornito preziosi consigli.

2 Si veda sopratutto Guyer (1997).

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del giudizio di gusto. Qualora invece si ascrivessero questi attributi all’oggetto stesso si incorrerebbe in fraintendimenti spiacevoli, quali quello di leggere l’estetica kantiana come una semplice “estetica dell’arabesco”, come una teoria meramente formale che rifugge emozioni e sensazioni, perdendo di vista il problema di fondo della prima sezione della Critica della facoltà di giudizio3. Essa concentra la sua attenzione non sul giudizio estetico effettivo, non sulla normazione dell’esperienza estetica effettiva, che pure talvolta viene affrontata, bensì sulla ricerca delle sue condizioni di possibilità: tale ricerca è condotta attraverso una messa a fuoco del sentimento della bellezza, realizzata grazie a una progressiva delimitazione del suo territorio, escludendo da esso residui di piacere morale, sensuale o conoscitivo.

Se il momento della qualità e quello della quantità conducono a un principio autonomo (disinteressato appunto) che risiede nella soggettività trascendentale (pertanto universale) – identificato nel momento della relazione, col principio della Zweckmäßigkeit ohne Zweck – quello della modalità, piuttosto che introdurre un ulteriore tema nella discussione, affronta il problema relativo alla tipologia della richiesta di universalità insita nel giudizio di gusto. Esso avanza tale richiesta con forza, con la presunzione che il sentimento che comunica debba esser “necessariamente” esperito anche dagli altri soggetti che si rapportano con quel determinato oggetto. Nel caso del bello si «attribuisce agli altri il medesimo compiacimento: [si] giudica non semplicemente per sé, ma per ciascuno, e [si] parla quindi della bellezza come se essa fosse una proprietà delle cose» (KU, AA V 212, 32-34: 48). La necessità estetica, contrariamente a quella logica, «non può essere derivata da concetti determinati, e quindi non è apodittica» (KU, AA V 237, 12-13: 73); essa non riguarda la connessione che si instaura fra il soggetto e il predicato, bensì è «soltanto esemplare, vale a dire: una necessità dell’accordo di tutti in un giudizio che viene considerato come esempio di una regola universale che non si può addurre» (KU, AA V 237, 7-10: 72). Eppure, poiché la necessità di un giudizio estetico investe l’intera sfera dei soggetti giudicanti (essa è la «necessità dell’accordo di tutti» [KU, AA V 237, 7: 72]), credo che possa dirsi allo stesso tempo necessaria anche la relazione fra il predicato (bello) e il soggetto (la rosa, ad esempio) del giudizio 4 : affermare che tutti i giudicanti devono necessariamente concordare col mio giudizio vuol dire sostenere che il rapporto sussistente fra soggetto (la rosa) e oggetto (bello) deve rimanere il medesimo, pur mutando il soggetto


3 Emblematiche a tal proposito sono le letture di Guyer (1977 e 1997, pp. 184-227) e di Rogerson (1986). Rogerson ha affermato che Kant non può sostenere che la configurazione spaziale fornisce la base per un giudizio di gusto perché tale configurazione è concettualmente determinabile e questo confligge chiaramente con la natura disinteressata di un tale giudizio. Tuttavia la disposizione spazio-temporale degli elementi del giudizio di gusto non è necessariamente in contrasto con il primo momento dell’Analitica del bello: è possibile salvare la configurazione spazio-temporale all’interno dell’esperienza estetica distinguendo semplicemente fra l’apprensione di tali elementi attraverso l’immaginazione e la loro determinazione concettuale, che davvero priverebbe il giudizio di gusto del suo necessario “disinteresse”. Paul Guyer ha interpretato la “forma” dell’oggetto bello come il segno della concezione classicistica, a causa dell’esemplificazione, nel caso della pittura, della forma mediante il disegno e dell’attrattiva mediante il colore: eppure tale esemplificazione non può esser presa per un’identificazione, anche alla luce delle affermazioni sulla bellezza come espressione di idee estetiche. Si veda inoltre quanto sostenuto in MSI, AA II 392, 23-393, 11.

4 Su questo si veda anche Longuenesse (2006).

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empirico che compie il giudizio. L’oggetto deve necessariamente esser ritenuto bello da ogni soggetto. Il quarto momento approfondisce dunque quanto era stato già affermato nel secondo, dichiarando che l’universalità del giudizio di gusto è “necessaria”, e, allo stesso tempo, fornisce anche il presupposto che fonda una tale necessità, introducendo la nozione di “senso comune” – di cui verrà data anche giustificazione, sebbene non come principio unicamente assunto dall’esperienza estetica, bensì come principio della conoscenza empirica in generale5.

All’interno di questo quadro, tuttavia, la necessità del giudizio di gusto, la legittima pretesa al consenso universale, non è certo di facile comprensione né di facile argomentazione a causa proprio del carattere paradossale del giudizio di gusto: esso «determina il suo oggetto rispetto al compiacimento (come bellezza) mediante un’esigenza di accordo da parte di ciascuno, come se fosse oggettivo» (KU, AA V 281, 32-34: 118), ma d’altro canto «non è determinabile per mezzo di argomenti, come se […] fosse semplicemente soggettivo» (KU, AA V 284, 3-4: 120). A tal proposito nel § 7 dell’Introduzione si afferma:

ciò che vi è di strano e singolare sta solo nel fatto che non è un concetto empirico, ma un sentimento di piacere (quindi nessun concetto), che mediante il giudizio di gusto deve essere attribuito a ciascuno e collegato con la rappresentazione dell’oggetto, come se fosse un predicato legato alla conoscenza di questo (KU, AA V 191, 6-11: 26. Traduzione leggermente modificata)6.


La prospettiva kantiana se da un lato rinviene nel giudizio di gusto una pretesa di universalità, dall’altro lato rifugge da un’estetica prescrittiva. Come ha giustamente rilevato Feloj i tratti di soggettività, idealità ed esemplarità, che appartengono al giudizio di gusto e alla sua pretesa di universalità, sono conciliabili con un’estetica che non prescrive principi o norme, sulla base dei quali sia possibile classificare gli oggetti e dedurre le loro qualità estetiche. La studiosa ha recentemente pubblicato un importante lavoro proprio sul tema della normatività estetica, Il dovere estetico. Normatività e giudizi di gusto: sin dalle prime pagine sono dichiarate le intenzioni teoriche, le quali d’altro canto traggono la loro ispirazione e il loro fondamento da una solida e meditata riflessione ermeneutica relativa alle filosofie di Hume e di Kant.


2.

Il dibattito filosofico-estetico odierno ha luogo, in larga misura, all’interno di quella tradizione che, non senza qualche approssimazione, può esser detta “analitica”: facendosi erede di problemi già ben presenti all’estetica settecentesca, essa ha riconsiderato il


5 Il § 21 ha da sempre diviso gli interpreti, da un lato coloro i quali vedono una deduzione del concetto di senso comune, dall’altro lato i sostenitori di una lettura più ampia, che intenda tale paragrafo come un tentativo di fornire in maniera rigorosa le ragioni dell’introduzione della nozione di senso comune, in guisa di una “deduzione metafisica”. Fra i primi occorre ricordare: Guyer (1997, pp. 228-273); e Ameriks (2003). Mentre fra i secondi è necessario citare: Garroni (1998, pp. 86-88) e Allison (2001, pp. 144-159).

6 KU, AA V 191, 6-11: 26. Traduzione leggermente modificata.

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problema di una valutazione fondata unicamente sul sentimento, ponendo la questione sotto una luce nuova e interessante. Si comprende dunque il valore e la novità del volume di Feloj, tanto più se si considera che tali questioni erano rimaste estranee al dibattito, più propriamente teoretico, ma in parte anche ermeneutico, che ha avuto luogo entro i confini italiani. La studiosa, notando che il giudizio estetico si configura come una valutazione soggettiva (dando voce alle emozioni), si propone di affrontare il tema dell’intersoggettività di questi giudizi, conferendo alla nozione di normatività un carattere ideale e regolativo, a partire dall’esegesi della nozione di sensus communis in Hume e in Kant7.

Se, come giustamente Feloj (2018, p. 12) afferma, parlare di normatività del giudizio estetico non è in contraddizione con un’estetica non normativa, non mi sembra altrettanto convincente l’attribuzione alla normatività del giudizio di gusto kantiano di un carattere ideale, a partire dalla constatazione che la sua pretesa di universalità rimane spesso disattesa, collocando la realizzazione di tale accordo «nell’attesa e non nell’attualità dell’accordo estetico» (p. 14). Il concetto di Normativität è infatti completamente assente all’interno del corpus kantiano8 ed è chiaramente introdotto nel lessico filosofico attraverso l’inglese normativity, calco del francese normatif. Questa nozione, se usata in relazione alla filosofia kantiana, conduce a perdere la distinzione fra i primi tre momenti concettuali e la loro stessa carica problematica: da un lato, (§§ 6-9) l’attitudine del giudizio di gusto ad

«attribuire [a priori] a ciascuno un simile compiacimento» (KU, AA V 211, 22-23: 47), dall’altro lato la pretesa di far ciò con ragione (messa a fuoco sopratutto nel § 8, grazie alla nozione di “voce universale”), e dall’altro lato ancora la ragione stessa di questa stessa pretesa, che l’analisi critica mira a portare alla luce (scoperta propriamente nei §§ 10-12, sistematizzata con esattezza nei §§ 18-22 attraverso la nozione di “senso comune”, e approfondita nei §§ 30-40). La mancata chiarificazione della diversità di questi tre momenti concettuali (la richiesta a priori di universalità, la pretesa che tale attribuzione sia legittima, e il motivo della sua legittimità) e la tendenza a leggere quasi senza soluzione di



7 Feloj (2018 p. 84) guarda positivamente all’interpretazione guyeriana della relazione fra sentimento e giudizio: «la via più promettente sembra […] quella di separare il sentimento e il giudizio, senza però assimilare l’esperienza estetica, come tende a fare Guyer, alla dimensione cognitiva». Paul Guyer (1997, pp. 60-115), ad esempio, sulla base della dicotomia fra “giudizi di fatto” e “giudizi di valore” – che tutt’oggi caratterizza in maniera peculiare sia la filosofia sia l’interpretazione kantiana analitica, le cui origini sono da rinvenirsi già nel pensiero di Hume (1987, p. 230; trad. it. Hume, 2017, p. 14) – ha sempre inteso distinguere da un lato il sentimento di piacere estetico, dall’altro lato il giudizio di gusto: quest’ultimo, muovendo da determinati vincoli (che Kant proverebbe, senza riuscirci, a esplicare, in modo particolare nel terzo momento), avrebbe il compito di valutare i sentimenti e di stabilire se essi siano universalizzabili attraverso la formulazione del giudizio. Questa interpretazione si sviluppa a partire dal rinvenimento di una serie di problemi ed errori logici insiti nell’argomentazione della Critica, che lo studioso vorrebbe pertanto ristrutturare. Eppure Kant afferma in maniera molto chiara come «io debbo mettere immediatamente l’oggetto a fronte del mio sentimento del piacere e del dispiacere, e non mediante concetti, allora il giudizio di gusto non può avere la quantità di un giudizio universalmente valido oggettivamente» (KU, AA V 215, 15- 17: 50). Fra gli altri, si è contrapposta a questa lettura in maniera acuta Ginsborg (2015). La discussione è proseguita recentemente, si vedano Ginsborg (2017) e Guyer (2017). Su questo è da vedere anche La Rocca (1995 e 1999, pp. 245-252).

8 È possibile ormai effettuare una semplice ricerca telematica sul sito internet: https://korpora.zim.uni- duisburg-essen.de/kant/suche.html

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continuità il percorso che la riflessione estetica compie da Hume a Kant, dall’altro, mi sembra che conduca Feloj a identificare, di fatto, la questione che attiene al diritto del giudizio di gusto di porsi come universalmente comunicabile con quella che concerne la riuscita empirica di tale pretesa, che Kant, come la stessa Feloj (2018, p. 56) rileva, non affronta. Cosicché, se la studiosa afferma a ragione che lo standard of taste humeano indica «un dato di fatto, ossia l’effettivo insieme di oggetti che, resistendo alla prova del tempo, sono stati riconosciuti come opere d’arte» (pp. 22-23), mentre in Kant «la condizione che orienta il dovere estetico, che lo rende possibile e al tempo stesso lo limita è una condizione soggettiva ed è l’idea di un senso comune, ossia il fondamento trascendentale condiviso da tutti gli uomini» (p. 55), non credo si possa arrivare a dichiarare come «soltanto intendendo il senso comune come una mera idea, che dunque dà una norma indeterminata e ideale, è possibile indicare una regola del gusto, una regola che è distinta dallo standard humeano, dal momento che non è dedotta empiricamente, che non costituisce né prescrive nulla» (p. 60). Posto che non c’è un criterio che permetta l’affermazione di una verità estetica e al tempo stesso è possibile e legittimo richiedere un accordo sulla base delle facoltà conoscitive, secondo Feloj, Kant opera uno slittamento del discorso dal Sollen estetico allo Pflicht morale: «emerge cioè l’occasione di estendere la norma indeterminata del gusto a norma di regolamentazione sociale» (ibidem). La studiosa, ispirandosi a Hannah Arendt 9 , intende il senso comune come «un principio quasi- trascendentale» (Feloj, 2018, p. 63), e ritiene che «il dovere estetico sarebbe allora fondato sull’esigenza che si produca un accordo in virtù dell’umanità, e in questo senso, si ottiene il passaggio da Sollen a Plicht che Kant lascia soltanto intravvedere» (p. 60). Richiamandosi inoltre allo studio di Gabriele Tomasi (2017), ella soggiunge come «il gusto si fonda in ultima analisi sull’esigenza, di tipo morale, di coltivare la nostra capacità di condivisione; il nostro senso comune si costituisce come un’idea in virtù della quale percepiamo un senso di appartenenza a una comunità» (Feloj, 2018, p. 69).


3.

Questa lettura, che rinviene il fondamento della cosiddetta normatività del giudizio di gusto nel suo significato morale, è stata sostenuta in ambito internazionale da autorevoli interpreti quali ad esempio Béatrice Longuenesse (2006, p. 199) 10 . In particolare, la studiosa francese, per chiarire la nozione di Lebensgefühl, che designa il piacere esperito



9 Arendt (1982; trad. it. Arendt, 2006) ha posto al centro della sua lettura del pensiero kantiano il concetto di sensus communis, interpretato come sentimento intersoggettivo di apertura originaria al mondo. La filosofa tedesca ponendo in risalto l’importanza dell’uso pubblico della ragione e la centralità della seconda massima della facoltà di giudizio, ossia «an der Stelle jedes andern denken» (KU, AA V 294, 17), ha di fatto detrascendentalizzato la terza Critica, in modo particolare la nozione di sensus communis, conferendole una curvatura politico-comunitaria.

10 Cfr. anche Pippin (1996). Una differente linea esegetica è stata sostenuta fra gli altri da Allison (1990).

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dinnanzi all’oggetto bello11, accosta il concetto di Leben, implicato nell’esperienza estetica (ovviamente differente da quello di “vita biologica”), a quello di Geist hegeliano, letto come la “vita della comunità di uomini”. Tale interpretazione conduce ad alcune conseguenze: anzitutto, qualora si intenda secondo un’ottica sociale e cosmopolita il concetto di Leben implicato nell’esperienza estetica, è necessario spiegare il piacere che la caratterizza come un sentimento suscitato dalla consapevolezza della comunicabilità universale di un determinato stato dell’animo – come del resto fa Longuenesse (2006, p. 200), distinguendo fra un piacere di primo e uno di secondo livello. In secondo luogo, una simile lettura del concetto di Lebensgefühl conduce a intendere il piacere estetico, e lato sensu l’intera terza Critica, secondo una prospettiva comunitario-politica, che non mi sembra comprendere in profondità e nella sua interezza il testo. Il rapporto di connessione fra la comunicabilità universale del giudizio di gusto e la socievolezza dell’uomo è affrontato certamente da Kant in alcuni luoghi della terza Critica e di altri scritti12. Nel § 60, ad esempio, egli afferma che le arti belle devono esser coltivate perché sviluppano in noi «quella socievolezza, adeguata all’umanità, mediante la quale essa si distingue dalla limitatezza animale» (KU, AA V 355, 30-32: 190). Queste tesi saranno ribadite nel § 83, laddove, rapportandosi criticamente con il pensiero di Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Kant dichiara che lo scopo finale dell’uomo nel suo accordo con la natura è lo sviluppo della “cultura”13, e che essa è conseguibile solo sotto la condizione


del rapporto degli uomini tra di loro in cui al danno delle libertà che si contraddicono l’un l’altra reciprocamente è contrapposto il potere conforme a leggi in un tutto, che si chiama società civile, ché solo in essa può avvenire il massimo sviluppo delle attitudini naturali (KU, AA V 432, 29-33: 265).


La dimensione intersoggettiva e comunitaria dell’esperienza estetica è dunque una componente viva delle attente considerazioni kantiane, eppure una tale prospettiva non mi pare possa dirsi “fondante” la sua teoria del gusto, tale da penetrarne e costituirne il fondamento, che rimane trascendentale ed estetico. Numerosi sono i luoghi kantiani ove è possibile rinvenire una tematizzazione del sentimento estetico in senso eminentemente critico-epistemologico. Anzitutto credo sia necessario ricordare quanto Kant scrive alla fine della Prefazione, dove, tracciando una linea programmatica, afferma: «la ricerca intorno alla facoltà del gusto, come facoltà estetica di giudizio, viene compiuta qui non per la formazione e la cultura del gusto […] ma semplicemente da un punto di vista


11 «Qui [nel giudizio di gusto] la rappresentazione viene riferita interamente al soggetto, e cioè al suo sentimento vitale [Lebensgefühl], sotto il nome di sentimento del piacere o del dispiacere» (KU, AA V 204, 7- 9: 39).

12 Il tema della natura sociale del gusto è trattato già nelle Osservazioni sul sentimento del bello e del sublime ove si dichiara che: «chi sacrifica una parte del pasto nell’ascolto di una musica o si immerge profondamente in una narrazione traendone diletto o legge volentieri cose argute, anche se sono solo minuzie poetiche, acquista agli occhi di quasi tutti il garbo di un uomo raffinato, del quale si ha un’opinione elevata e per lui onorevole» (GSE, AA II 225 n.: 102 n.).

13 «Solo la cultura può essere lo scopo ultimo che si ha motivo di attribuire alla natura rispetto al genere umano» (KU, AA V 431, 31-32: 264).

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trascendentale» (KU, AA V 170, 6-8: 6). Ancora più chiaro del § VI è il § VII dell’Introduzione, ove Kant ribadisce che: «il piacere non può esprimere nient’altro che l’adeguatezza dell’oggetto rispetto alle facoltà conoscitive che sono in gioco nella facoltà riflettente di giudizio, in quanto sono in gioco» (KU, AA V 189, 36-190, 1: 25). Inoltre credo sia necessario ricordare anche la nota al § 2. Qui Kant dichiara come il giudizio di gusto non fonda di per sé alcun interesse, seppure «nella società diviene interessante aver gusto» (KU, AA V 205 n.: 41 n.): dimostrando come l’aspetto sociale-comunitario, seppure importante, non trovi posto nel nucleo della struttura trascendentale che deve conferire legalità al giudizio di gusto, giustificandone la natura sintetica a priori. In conclusione, mi pare utile far menzione di una riflessione manoscritta che a chiare lettere mostra come la bellezza possa costituire una “totalizzazione” della conoscenza 14 , perché fornisce una immagine compiuta «dell’ufficio dell’intelletto […] vale a dire: introdurre in esse [nelle molteplici ed eterogenee leggi della natura] un’unità» (KU, AA V 187, 8: 22):


La bellezza si distingue dalla piacevolezza e dall’utilità. L’utilità, quando viene pensata, produce un compiacimento solo indiretto, mentre la bellezza uno immediato. Le cose belle mostrano che l’uomo sta bene nel [è conforme al] mondo e che persino la sua intuizione delle cose si accorda con le leggi della propria intuizione15.


Tale accordo fra uomo e mondo, manifestato emblematicamente nelle cose belle, e fondato trascendentalmente nel più favorevole e libero rapporto fra le facoltà, permette a Kant di configurare il sentimento come un apriori degli stessi apriori logici 16 , come una precondizione del conoscere particolare. Il piacere per il bello è dunque l’emblema fenomenologico del felice incontro del soggetto con l’oggetto, il quale, pur presentandosi come altro e indipendente, favorendo un’armonica attività delle nostre facoltà, sembra star lì intenzionalmente per esser conosciuto da noi.


4.

Mi propongo ora, al fine di suffragare e di integrare una tale lettura critico-epistemologica dell’esperienza estetica, di focalizzare meglio la nozione di sensus communis, che mostrerà così in tutta la sua evidenza la linea di confine fra la prospettiva humeana e quella kantiana, un po’ troppo trascurata dai recenti studi.

Il complesso e variegato panorama delle discussioni settecentesche su questioni estetiche traspare in molteplici passi della terza Critica e si deve ritener per certo che tale sfondo dovette essere tutt’altro che ignoto a Kant. A dispetto della diversità delle posizioni assunte da filosofi e intellettuali del secolo diciottesimo in ambito estetico, è possibile rinvenire,


14 Si veda Garroni (1998, p. 97).

15 «Die Schönheit ist von der Annehmlichkeit und Nützlichkeit unterschieden. / Die Nützlichkeit, wenn sie woran gedacht wird, giebt nur ein / Mittelbares Wohlgefallen, die Schönheit ein unmittelbares. Die Schöne / Dinge zeigen an, daß der Mensch in der Welt passe und selbst seine Anschauung / der Dinge mit den Gesetzen seiner Anschauung stimme» (Nach. Log., AA XVI 127, 11-15: traduzione mia).

16 Cfr. Gigliotti (2001, pp. 36-37).

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non senza qualche approssimazione, un elemento comune: l’esperienza estetica costituisce secondo gli uomini del Settecento un livello inferiore, preliminare o tutt’al più integrativo della conoscenza teoretico-scientifica e dell’attività pratica. I paragrafi dedicati alla Critica della facoltà estetica di giudizio sono permeati, talvolta in maniera celata, talaltra in maniera più evidente, da componenti polemiche nei confronti delle due correnti estetiche allora dominanti. In maniera molto esplicita, nel § 58, Kant dichiara:


In via preliminare si può porre il principio del gusto nel fatto che questo giudica sempre secondo principî di determinazione empirici, e quindi tali da esser dati solo a posteriori mediante i sensi, oppure si può ammettere che giudichi a partire da un principio a priori. Il primo caso sarebbe quello dell’empirismo della critica del gusto, il secondo del suo razionalismo. Secondo il primo l’oggetto del nostro compiacimento non sarebbe distinto dal piacevole, secondo l’altro, se il giudizio riposasse su concetti determinati, non sarebbe distinto dal buono; e così si negherebbe l’esistenza di ogni bellezza nel mondo e rimarrebbe al suo posto solo uno speciale nome per, forse, una certa mescolanza di entrambi i suddetti tipi di compiacimento (KU, AA V 346, 25-35: 181).


Da un lato, l’estetica cosiddetta razionalistica, rappresentata principalmente da filosofi quali Leibniz e Baumgarten, considerava l’ambito estetico come una forma di conoscenza inferiore rispetto a quella puramente razionale, a causa del ruolo egemonico svolto dalla sensibilità. Dall’altro lato, empiristi quali Burke o Hume 17 fondavano il bello sul mero sentimento di piacere, senza riconoscere una specifica autonomia al gusto rispetto alle abitudini o alle convenzioni, disconoscendo in tal modo la sua capacità di conservare, a fronte della convenzione e della moda, una libertà e una superiorità specifiche.

I razionalisti – percorrendo la strada indicata da Descartes, secondo il quale la conoscenza che ha luogo attraverso i sensi è confusa, al contrario di quella “distinta” che avviene grazie all’intelletto18 – ritenevano l’ambito estetico come un caso particolare, per quanto paradigmatico, della conoscenza sensibile19. Costoro consideravano l’esperienza estetica come una conoscenza confusa, che l’intelletto avrebbe potuto rappresentare chiaramente e distintamente. L’assimilazione dell’ambito estetico alla sfera conoscitiva non impedisce ovviamente ai razionalisti di scorgere il problema dell’universalità del giudizio di gusto, eppure la loro soluzione è connessa strettamente a quella della grande questione dell’accordo intersoggettivo della conoscenza. Posto che il fine dell’estetica è la perfezione della conoscenza sensibile, ogni oggetto, se conosciuto distintamente, mostra al proprio fondamento un concetto, il quale può regolare tutte le dispute intorno alla sua propria



17 Secondo Meerbote la critica a Burke di Kant nella Nota generale all’esposizione dei giudizi riflettenti estetici, che segue al § 29, può essere interpretata anche come una critica a Hume. Cfr. Meerbote (1991, p. 13).

18 Si veda il celeberrimo esempio della cera in Descartes (1904, pp. 26-28); trad. it. Descartes (1997, pp. 49- 51).

19 Si veda Baumgarten (1986); trad. it. Baumgarten (1992). Per l’estetica di Baumgarten è doveroso il rinvio

a Piselli (1991); e a Tedesco (2000).

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bellezza: pertanto l’unanimità del gusto può essere raggiunta solo chiarificando la confusione del concetto dell’oggetto, dunque attraverso il distacco dalla sfera estetica, attraverso la rinuncia alla contemplazione, dal momento che tale confusione caratterizza strutturalmente il regno della bellezza. L’ambito conoscitivo, nella concezione razionalista, tende a risolvere in sé quello estetico, giacché fra i due non è stata effettuata una vera e specifica differenziazione, come invece si propone di fare Kant.

Gli empiristi sembrano obliare la distinzione fra il piacere della contemplazione di un oggetto bello e il godimento materiale per un oggetto piacevole, in seguito alla riduzione della risposta estetica del soggetto a un mero stimolo sensorio: una tale analisi fisiologica, benché interessante e utile per una trattazione psicologica e antropologica, non è in grado di assicurare al giudizio di gusto nient’altro che una validità soggettiva empirica e contingente, non certo necessaria e universale. I filosofi britannici tentarono di comprendere la natura del piacere estetico assimilandolo al modello meccanico della risposta sensoriale a stimoli esterni20. In particolare, David Hume (1987, p. 268; trad. it. Hume, 2017, p. 14), rifiutando l’idea secondo cui sia possibile determinare lo standard of taste a priori, riteneva che, per il tramite dell’esperienza, sia possibile armonizzare i diversi sentimenti con lo scopo di giungere a una regola che «confermi un sentimento e ne condanni un altro». Il filosofo scozzese, muovendo dalle trattazioni degli scettici francesi del Seicento, prende atto della varietà e della variabilità dei gusti, ciononostante ritiene possibile rinvenire una concordanza generale dei gusti: essa va rintracciata nei casi limite, quando si rivelano valori imponenti e disvalori indubbi, oppure quando si effettua un paragone fra produzioni artistiche di valore notevolmente differente. Questo prova, in un certo senso, che esiste una regola del gusto universale, oggettiva, per quanto difficile da scoprirsi. La ricerca humeana non mira a definire un’idea metafisica del bello, ma solo a ricavare dagli effettivi giudizi di gusto delle tendenze comuni; cosicché egli, muovendo dall’assunto secondo cui gli uomini condividono la «struttura originale della fabbrica interiore», dichiara come:


nonostante tutta la varietà e i capricci del gusto, vi sono certi princìpi generali di approvazione e di biasimo la cui influenza può esser notata da uno sguardo attento in tutte le operazioni dello spirito. […Pertanto] certe particolari forme o qualità piaceranno e […] altre dispiaceranno; e se il loro effetto mancherà in qualche caso particolare, ciò deriva da qualche evidente difetto o imperfezione dell’organo (Hume, 1987, p. 271; trad. it. Hume, 2017, pp. 17-18).


20 Francis Hutcheson nel saggio An Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue, che Kant poteva leggere nella traduzione tedesca pubblicata a Lipsia del 1760 ad opera di Johann Gottfried Gellius, dal titolo Abhandlung über die Natur und Beherrschung der Leidenschaften und Neigungen und über das moralische Gefühl insonderheit, teorizzava un vero e proprio “senso della bellezza” (Sense of Beauty), a causa della somiglianza fra l’esperienza estetica e l’ordinaria esperienza percettiva. Egli scriveva: «the Ideas of Beauty and Harmony, like other sensible Ideas, are necessarily pleasant to us, as well as immediately so; neither can any Resolution of our own, nor any Prospect of Advantage or Disadvantage, vary the Beauty or Deformity of an Object: For as in the external Sensations, no View of Interest will make an Object grateful, nor View of Detriment, distinct from immediate Pain in the Perception, make it disagreeable to the Sense» (Hutcheson, 2004, p. 25).

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Il fondamento dell’universalità del gusto è conferito da un dato di fatto, non dall’universalità di un’idea platonica o di un’idea innata cartesiana, ovvero dall’analoga struttura psichica e fisiologica degli uomini21. Poiché Hume non distingueva una facoltà, un senso o un principio eminentemente autonomo deputato a giudicare il bello, bensì demandava tale valutazione alla “fabbrica interiore”, è evidente come fosse portato a porre il piacere estetico e quello sensuale sul medesimo piano, rinvenendo una «grande rassomiglianza fra il gusto spirituale e quello corporeo» (Hume, 1987, p. 273; trad. it. Hume, 2017, p. 19). Considerata la possibilità di giungere a principi generali del gusto è conseguentemente plausibile ritenere che i disaccordi estetici possano trovare una risoluzione certa22.

5.

Queste concezioni, a giudizio di Kant, «fanno conoscere solo come si giudica, ma non impongono come si debba giudicare» (KU, AA V 278, 25-26: 115): esse possono stabilire unicamente una congruenza contingente circa i diversi modi di giudicare dei soggetti, ma non sono in grado di giustificare e fondare una volta per tutte la pretesa di universalità presente a priori in ogni giudizio sul bello. Gli empiristi cercavano di non ridurre la validità universale di un giudizio di gusto alla mera contingenza facendo ricorso alla concezione metafisica dell’umanità come specie unica, con determinate caratteristiche essenziali e ideali, incluso un accordo dei soggetti giudicanti su certi oggetti belli. Ciononostante considerare il senso della bellezza come una proprietà essenziale di una determinata specie necessita il superamento di osservazioni empiriche, che possono evidenziare perciò solo un mero accordo di fatto, senza dimostrare mai una norma del gusto: gli empiristi entrano dunque in un circolo vizioso e compromettono le loro teorie.

Kant, che ancora nel 1787, con la seconda edizione della Critica della ragion pura, era convinto che il gusto fosse qualcosa di meramente soggettivo, seppure non privato23, dopo


21 Giulio Preti aggiungeva come rispetto a Hume «analogamente lo Spalletti, circa negli stessi anni, approdava, da un identico problema, a un’identica soluzione; ma – in quanto superiore a Hume – tentava di dedurre dai princìpi generali di una psicologia edonistica gli effettivi fondamenti del gusto; Hume invece non approfondiva il problema preoccupato unicamente di determinare l’universalità del gusto riferendosi a un concetto, naturalmente statistico, ossia empirico, di “normalità” psichica del gusto […] analoga alla normalità biologica e da questa, in fin dei conti, condizionata» (Preti, 2017, p. 106).

22 «Quando mettiamo loro [i cattivi critici] davanti un principio artistico ben stabilito, e illustriamo questo principio con esempi la cui efficacia, per il loro stesso gusto particolare, devono riconoscere conforme a quel principio, quando dimostriamo che lo stesso principio può essere applicato al caso in discussione, in cui non avevano percepito o sentito la sua influenza, devono concludere, alla fin fine, che il difetto sta in loro stessi, e che mancano di quella delicatezza che è necessaria per avvertire ogni bellezza e ogni difetto in qualsiasi composizione o in qualsiasi discorso» (Hume, 1987, p. 274; trad. it. Hume, 2017, p. 20).

23 Cfr. KrV, B 36: 115. D’altra parte, nelle Osservazioni sul sentimento del bello e del sublime, Kant manifesta la convinzione secondo la quale la moralità si fonda sul sentimento, e per questo rinviene una stretta connessione fra l’ambito morale e la sfera del gusto, entrambe prive di un principio a priori: «la vera virtù, quindi, può essere inculcata solo in base a principi che, quanto più sono universali, tanto più la rendono nobile e sublime. Tali principi non sono regole speculative, ma consistono nella consapevolezza di un sentimento che vive in ogni petto umano e si estende molto più in là delle specifiche cause della compassione e della compiacenza. Credo di riassumere il già detto se concludo che si tratta del sent imento della bellezza e della dignità della natura umana» (GSE, AA II 217, 11-17: 92). Anche nel quarto capitolo

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trasformazioni sorprendenti in ambito teoretico ed etico, riesce, mercé l’identificazione di un principio a priori anche nei giudizi di gusto, ad emancipare una volta per tutte l’estetica dalle altre discipline filosofiche, fondando la legalità peculiare della pretesa di universalità di tale giudizio. Tale principio, pur implicato anche nella conoscenza empirica, si esprime esplicitamente solo nel giudizio estetico, laddove rende manifesta precipuamente la sua natura trascendentale e non metafisica24: esso è estetico in senso nuovo, non in quanto condizione dell’intuizione sensibile, bensì come garanzia che rende pensabile il realizzarsi dell’esperienza. Come ha rilevato Garroni (1986, p. 211) «è questo il nuovo principio trascendentale della facoltà di giudizio, elevata con ciò da semplice capacità, “applicativa”, a vera e propria facoltà, “costruttiva”». Tale principio epistemologico ed estetico allo stesso tempo è la Zweckmäßigkeit: «là dove non semplicemente la conoscenza di un oggetto, ma l’oggetto stesso (la sua forma o esistenza), in quanto effetto, viene pensato come possibile solo mediante un concetto di quest’ultimo, allora si pensa a uno scopo» (KU, AA V 220, 4-7: 55). Esso si esprime in tutta la sua natura trascendentale nel giudizio estetico, laddove assume la forma di una Zweckmäßigkeit überhaupt, o meglio di una Zweckmäßigkeit ohne Zweck:


la conformità a scopi può essere senza scopo, in quanto non possiamo porre le cause di questa forma in una volontà, e tuttavia possiamo renderci comprensibile la spiegazione della sua possibilità solo derivandola da una volontà […] Quindi possiamo almeno osservare una conformità a scopi secondo la forma anche senza porre a suo fondamento uno scopo (come materia del nexus finalis) e possiamo rilevarla negli oggetti, sebbene non altrimenti che con la riflessione (KU, AA V 220, 22-31: 55-56).


Se Hume interrogando l’esperienza rintracciava delle costanti nei molteplici giudizi di gusto, Kant rinviene un principio a priori che legittima la pretesa di universalità del giudizio di gusto, nonostante nel corso della storia possano emergere difformità di giudizio, che anzi mostrano solo la perfettibilità della capacità umana di giudizio. Nel quarto momento dell’Analitica del bello, traendo le conseguenze dell’analisi precedente, specifica ancor meglio tale legittimità grazie alla nozione di sensus communis.


6.

Se Feloj ha inteso il sensus communis quale ideale regolativo, Zhengmi Zhouhuang (2016) ha di recente proposto una originale e complessa lettura della nozione kantiana.


afferma: «il sentimento della poesia e della musica, non in quanto esprimono arte, ma sensazioni, è quello che gioca in ogni sua forma a raffinare ed elevare il gusto del bel sesso, e ha sempre qualche connessione con il sentimento morale» (GSE, AA II 231, 18-21: 109).

24 «Un principio trascendentale è quel principio con il quale è rappresentata la condizione universale a priori sotto di cui, soltanto le cose possono diventare oggetti della nostra conoscenza in genere. Un principio si chiama invece metafisico, se esso rappresenta la condizione a priori sotto di cui, soltanto, possono essere ulteriormente determinati a priori oggetti il cui concetto deve essere dato empiricamente» (KU, AA V 181, 15- 20: 17).

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L’interessante e utile lavoro della Zhouhuang prende le mosse dalle molteplici accezioni del sensus communis, cercando di darne una lettura organica e sistematica, arrivando a una sorta di riformulazione del sistema delle facoltà. La studiosa articola tale nozione nei suoi tre campi d’azione: conoscitivo, pratico ed estetico. Il sensus communis nell’ambito teoretico, laddove si presenta anche come gemeiner Menschenverstand (comune intelletto umano) o gesunder Menschenverstand (sano intelletto umano), è la facoltà innata di giudicare il mondo empirico. Esso, contrapponendosi all’intelletto speculativo (spekulativer Verstand), non gode di regole a priori e non ha una validità universale, sebbene possa svilupparsi attraverso l’esperienza e costituisca il punto di partenza nel campo della speculazione25. Il sensus communis practicus, o gemeine praktische Vernunft, è nel campo morale ciò che il sensus communis logicus è in quello teoretico; esso può esser inteso anche come moralisches Gefühl, ossia come una naturale capacità emozionale, una sensibilità morale, che può formarsi nel confronto con l’esperienza26. Nell’ambito estetico Zhouhuang (2016, p. 95) considera il sensus communis, in particolare per come viene tematizzato nei §§ 20-22 e nel § 40 della Critica della facoltà di giudizio, come una operazione di riflessione generalizzante e, nello specifico del giudizio di gusto, come l’effetto del libero gioco delle facoltà conoscitive. Come rileva la stessa autrice «Es ergaben sich: (1) ein gemeinschaftlicher Sinn in der intersubjektiven Perspektive, nämlich in Bezug auf die „gemeinen“ oberen Erkenntnisvermögen im theoretischen, praktischen und ästhetischen Bereich und (2) ein intellektuelles Gefühl in der intrasubjektiven Perspektive, nämlich das moralische Gefühl, das Vergnügen des Verstandes und das ästhetische Gefühl. In beiden Fällen stand immer die Beziehung zwischen Sinnlichkeit und Intellektualität im Zentrum» (p. 115). Dal momento che Kant alla fine dell’Introduzione della terza Critica ha posto una tavola dell’insieme delle facoltà superiori (obere Vermögen), considerandole nella loro attività a priori, la studiosa ha inteso ampliare tale prospetto considerando le stesse facoltà non solo nel loro uso puro ma anche in quello empirico. Nell’ambito empirico possono nascondersi delle insidie tali da richiedere un processo di riflessione al fine di assicurare una validità intersoggettiva dei giudizi. In tal senso è necessario un senso comune, ossia una sensibilità comune che, attraverso un particolare modalità del pensiero27 , sia in grado di riconoscere e allontanare eventuali errori.

La lettura della Feloj corre consapevolmente il rischio di leggere il testo kantiano attraverso alcune tessiture concettuali proprie della tradizione anglosassone, al fine di avanzare una proposta teoretica certamente interessante nel quadro del dibattito attuale28.


25 Cfr. Zhouhuang (2016, p. 14).

26 Zhouhuang (2016, p. 2).

27 La studiosa fa riferimento sopratutto alla seconda delle tre massime che Kant presenta nel § 40 della terza Critica: «le seguenti massime del comune intelletto umano non c’entrano qui, come parti della critica del gusto, ma possono servire come chiarimento dei suoi principii. Sono le seguenti: 1. Pensare da sé; 2. Pensare mettendosi al posto di ciascun altro; 3. Pensare sempre in accordo con se stessi. La prima è la massima del modo di pensare libero da pregiudizi, la seconda di quello ampio , la terza di quello conseguente» (KU, AA V 294, 14-19:130).

28 Feloj (2018, p. 103) infatti afferma come «la via più promettente sembra dunque essere quella che colloca nell’ideale la pretesa normativa del gusto, sebbene occorra definire meglio la funzione del sentimento in un

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Diversamente, l’interpretazione della Zhouhuang si pone all’interno del sentiero indicato da Kant e lo percorre in maniera personale, proponendo allo stesso tempo molti spunti di riflessione. Mi pare tuttavia che tale esegesi senza necessità complichi il quadro epistemologico e trascendentale kantiano, separando i tipi di esperienza in maniera assoluta e assegnando loro una e una sola facoltà, come se nell’esperienza estetica non abbia voce la ragione o l’intelletto, ma solo il “sentimento di piacere e dispiacere”29. L’indagine sulle facoltà si instaura in una esperienza già tutta data, per cui l’intelletto nell’ambito conoscitivo, la ragione in quello “del desiderare” e la facoltà di giudizio in quello del “sentimento” occupano una posizione di predominanza, fornendo il Bestimmungsgrund, non di unicità.

7.

Vorrei provare ora a fornire una lettura personale della nozione di senso comune, la quale tenga conto di come il pensiero kantiano abbia recepito e approfondito talune istanze vive nello spirito moderno, sistematizzandole all’interno di un quadro teorico più ampio e complesso. Diversamente rispetto al sentire contemporaneo, per il quale attribuire una questione all’ambito del gusto equivale spesso a demandarla alle più svariate valutazioni soggettive, per gli uomini del Settecento la sfera del gusto era colma di istanze normative: essa non costituiva un dominio meramente privato, ma era anzi una materia inseparabilmente connessa all’ambio sociale30.

La nozione di “senso comune” viene introdotta nel § 20 con lo scopo di identificare meglio il complesso principio a fondamento del giudizio di gusto. A questo concetto Kant non dedica né una trattazione autonoma all’interno della propria produzione, né è possibile rinvenire nei suoi scritti un pur breve ma organico discorso; oltre a ciò, egli fa uso di espressioni differenti a seconda del contesto concettuale. Limitandoci agli scritti editi, è possibile notare come all’interno dell’ambito conoscitivo Kant designi il “senso comune” come allgemeiner Menschenverstand, nei Prolegomeni (1783), e come gemeiner Menschenverstand nella Logik (pubblicata, con l’aiuto dell’allievo Gottlob Benjamin Jäsche, nel 1800) 31. Nella Fondazione della metafisica dei costumi (1785), i concetti di gemeiner Verstand o di gemeiner Menschenverstand non vengono distinti in maniera precisa da quelli di gemeine Menschenvernunft o di gemeine Vernunft32. Le difficoltà non paiono diradarsi se si volge lo sguardo alla terza Critica (1790): qui Kant parla del “senso comune” in tre diverse maniere. Da un lato, nel primo capoverso del ventesimo paragrafo,


simile orizzonte interpretativo. Chiaramente questa posizione si riferisce a Kant come fonte che fornisce i principali strumenti concettuali, ma vuole elaborare una proposta per il dibattito contemporaneo».

29 Alla facoltà di giudizio viene assegnato unicamente l’ambito estetico, così come l’intelletto e la ragione

vengono rispettivamente destinati alla sfera teoretica e a quella pratica, eppure lo stesso Kant, pur in tutt’altro contesto, conferendo alla facoltà di giudizio un ruolo anche nel dominio della morale, afferma: «Damit man scheine einen Character zu haben oder in Ermanglung desselben sich mit sich zufrieden seyn könne, halt man sich oft an Regeln und macht sich welche, die ofters dem Herzen entgegen seyn, weil man seiner Urtheilskraft nicht zutraut, daß sie ohne Regel werde bestimmen können. Ein innerlich angenommener Character (gekünstelter). Ein niederträchtiger, ein redlicher Character» (Refl., AA XV 513, 2-6).

30 Cfr. Gadamer (1986, pp. 9-47); trad. it. Gadamer (2001, pp. 31-107).

31 Cfr. Prol., AA V 278, 11- 279, 2: 55 e Log., AA IX 57, 6-17: 50-51.

32 Cfr. GMS, AA IV 404-405: 81, 83.

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dopo aver ribadito che i giudizi di gusto devono avere un principio (in quanto vice versa sarebbero delle semplici considerazioni sul piacere sensuale), e che esso non può essere oggettivo (in tal caso infatti sarebbero dei giudizi di conoscenza o morali), Kant dichiara che tali giudizi «debbono avere un principio soggettivo, che solo mediante il sentimento e non mediante concetti, ma in modo universalmente valido, determini ciò che piace e che dispiace. Ma un tale principio potrebbe essere considerato solo come un senso comune » (KU, AA V 238, 4-7: 73). Dall’altro lato, nel secondo capoverso dello stesso paragrafo la nozione di “senso comune” viene riferita a un sentimento piuttosto che a un principio:

«senso comune (con il quale però intendiamo non un senso esterno, ma l’effetto del libero gioco delle nostre facoltà conoscitive)» (KU, AA V 238, 12-14: 74); giacché questo effetto è il sentimento di piacere espresso nel giudizio di gusto, il senso comune sarebbe allora un sentimento, anziché un principio. Dall’altro lato ancora, nel § 40, il “senso comune” non viene considerato né come un sentimento né come un principio, bensì esso viene identificato con la stessa facoltà di giudizio: «con sensus communis si deve intendere l’idea di un senso che abbiamo in comune, cioè di una facoltà di giudicare che nella sua riflessione ha riguardo (a priori) nel pensiero al modo rappresentativo di ogni altro» (KU, AA V 293, 30-34: 130). Kant appare dunque criptico, tuttavia non credo che queste differenti definizioni siano in contraddizione, al contrario esse si integrano e si completano reciprocamente33: difatti come lo stesso Kant dichiara alla fine del § 22: «ora abbiamo solo da analizzare la facoltà del gusto nei suoi elementi e unificarli infine nell’idea di un senso comune» (KU, AA V 240, 13-15: 76).

La nozione di “senso comune” non è originaria della filosofia kantiana34 ma gode di

una tradizione antica e presenta pertanto un’area semantica notevolmente ampia. In primo luogo, essa, come koinè aisthesis, ha designato quella capacità generale che, nell’atto della percezione, attua un coordinamento dei singoli sensi. Aristotele intese con questa espressione una facoltà dell’animo alla quale attribuì una duplice funzione: da un lato quella di costituire la coscienza della sensazione, il “sentire di sentire”, giacché tale coscienza non può appartenere a un senso particolare (Parva Naturalia, 455 a 13-20; trad. it. Aristotele, 2002, pp. 159,161); dall’altro lato quella di percepire e coordinare le determinazioni sensibili comuni alle diverse percezioni provenienti dai singoli sensi, come il movimento, la quiete, la figura, la grandezza, il numero e l’unità (De anima, 424 b 22- 425 b 10; trad. it. Aristotele 1991, pp. 171-173). La funzioni di integrare e coordinare i cinque sensi, senza aggiungersi ad essi come sesto, portando a unire le singole percezioni, furono affidate al “senso comune” anche dagli stoici, poi da Avicenna e, per suo tramite, da Tommaso, oltreché dalla scolastica e dagli aristotelici rinascimentali35.



33 Lo stesso Guyer nota che: «fortunately for Kant’s deduction of aesthetic judgment, this plethora of senses is more confusing than damaging, for justifying the presupposition of a common sense in any one of its three sense will in fact establish its existence in the other sense as well» (Guyer, 1997, p. 250).

34 La bibliografia sulla nozione di “senso comune” è chiaramente vastissima; è necessario tuttavia il rimando alla trattazione che ne ha fatto Gadamer (1986, pp. 24-47); trad. it. Gadamer (2001, pp. 61-107). Per una panoramica generale si veda Agazzi (2004).

35 Si veda ad esempio Tommaso d’Aquino, Summa Theologiae, I, q. 78, a. 4; trad. it. Tommaso d’Aquino (1984, pp. 299-304).

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In secondo luogo, il “senso comune” è stato inteso come sinonimo della comune capacità intellettiva della specie umana, come buon senso, facoltà primitiva, e talvolta popolare, che, senza ricorrere a procedimenti razionali, procura un accesso immediato alla verità delle cose. Cicerone, nel De oratore (I, 3, 12; trad. it. Cicerone, 1970, p. 94), fa riferimento al sensus communis come a una generale maniera di pensare, dalla quale l’arte dell’oratore non deve affatto allontanarsi, al contrario delle altre arti, che sono stimate allorquando si allontanano dal «modo di comprendere e di sentire del volgo». Con Cicerone mi pare ravvisabile l’inizio di uno slittamento del significato conoscitivo verso quello etico-politico, ossia vero la terza accezione attribuita a questo concetto: il sensus communis è sì l’insieme delle nozioni e delle credenze su cui esiste un implicito accordo da parte degli uomini, ma è considerato ora sotto una luce nuova, retorico-politica36.

In terzo luogo, a partire dalla fine del XVIII secolo, il senso comune, interpretato come sinonimo di Gemeingeist, public spirit, esprit public, è stato connotato viepiù da una marcata accezione politica, indicando così l’interesse e la passione che hanno come oggetto la sfera pubblica e la ricerca del bene comune. Questo significato non si radica in un contesto psicologico, gnoseologico o epistemologico, non ha il suo luogo nativo nel concetto aristotelico di koinè aisthesis; al contrario la sua accezione è marcatamente etica, sociale e politica, essa trova la sua origine nell’accezione italiana umanistica di Giambattista Vico. Il filosofo italiano, in polemica contro il razionalismo cartesiano e contro la scienza moderna, richiamandosi ai classici latini e all’ideale umanistico dell’eloquentia, legge la nozione di senso comune in modo per certi versi simile a come farà dopo di lui Kant, conferendole sia un valore educativo, come principio di una retta condotta, sia il significato di un comune sentire politico. Secondo Vico, le leggi astratte non possono indicare all’uomo la direzione del suo agire, è piuttosto l’universalità concreta, incarnata nel comune sentire di un popolo, a costituire i moventi dell’azione individuale e sociale. Il momento educativo è in tal senso fondante e deve procedere per immagini, non attraverso indagini puramente teoriche: questo poiché, platonicamente, l’ambito di pertinenza del senso comune, ovvero quello dell’agire mondano, non è né una scienza esatta, né procede per assiomi e dimostrazioni: esso è piuttosto il variegato mondo empirico, ove è necessario il discernimento del “verosimile”37.

A questa accezione si riconnette Thomas Reid, iniziatore e ispiratore della Scuola scozzese, che propose una teoria della conoscenza di tipo realistico fondata sul senso comune (opponendosi all’ideismo di Cartesio, Locke e Berkley). Il senso comune è qui inteso come il criterio ultimo del giudizio e il principio dirimente le controversie. Eppure secondo costoro il senso comune non è né una capacità perfezionabile attraverso l’educazione né un fenomeno sociale e politico: esso è quindi inteso come una mera capacità di giudizio istintiva con la quale ci si orienta nel quotidiano.


36 Si cfr. anche Tommaso d’Aquino, Summa Theologiae, II, 16, 68; trad. it. Tommaso d’Aquino (1984, p. 275).

37 «Il senso comune è un giudizio senz’alcuna riflessione, comunemente sentito da tutto un’ordine, da tutto un popolo, da tutta una Nazione, o da tutto il Gener’Umano» (Vico, 2013, p. 63). Sul “senso comune” in Vico si veda Modica (1983).

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L’estetica inglese del Seicento e del Settecento ha inoltre connesso il senso comune col gusto. Burke, attraverso una prospettiva psicologico-organica, sostenne che il “senso comune” del bello derivasse dalle uniformità presenti nel nostro modo di percepire gli oggetti. Hume, come si è visto, credette che la regola del gusto potesse derivarsi da un’indagine statistica riguardo a ciò che risulta universalmente apprezzato in ogni luogo e in ogni epoca. Shaftesbury – pur anteriore di circa un secolo rispetto a Burke e a Hume, i quali avevano inteso il senso comune come un a posteriori – anticipò per certi versi la posizione kantiana: egli ritenne che la regola del gusto avesse, platonicamente, un significato oggettivo e ontologico, esprimendo un’armonia metafisica, il cui valore estetico, etico e teleologico sono intimamente fusi38.

La nozione di “senso comune”, nelle sue diverse accezioni, rappresenta dunque una facoltà valida sia sul piano privato, come capacità non razionale di unificare le percezioni, esprimere giudizi e condurre azioni, sia sul piano pubblico come senso sociale; tuttavia l’Illuminismo tedesco ruppe il legame fra privato e pubblico, tra l’aspetto conoscitivo e quello pratico, presente in questa nozione, intendendola come semplice “buon senso” (gemeiner o gesunder Verstand), come quella facoltà che l’essere umano deve possedere per distinguersi dall’animale39.

Kant si richiamerà a questa secolare tradizione quando, prima nei Sogni di un visionario e poi nei Prolegomeni, definisce il gesunder Verstand come la capacità immediata di scorgere la verità prima di comprendere le ragioni atte a dimostrarla o a chiarirla, criticando gli scozzesi Reid, Oswald e Beattie, i quali hanno permesso ad esso di oltrepassare il proprio campo, ossia quello dell’immediata esperienza pratica 40 . Nei Prolegomeni il “buon senso” (gemeiner Verstand) è infatti «la facoltà della conoscenza e dell’uso delle regole in concreto, a differenza dell’intelletto speculativo, che è una facoltà della conoscenza delle regole in abstracto » (Prol., AA IV 369, 30-33: 267). I limiti del “buon senso” sono evidenziati, oltreché nei Prolegomeni, anche nella Fondazione della metafisica dei costumi, laddove si sottolinea come, benché ogni uomo possa agire correttamente, quando è necessario chiarire il fondamento delle azioni morali il “buon senso” deve lasciare il posto alla filosofia critica pratica. Allorché invece si considera questa facoltà all’interno del suo proprio dominio, quello dell’esperienza, essa



38 Numerosi sono gli studi che hanno confrontato l’estetica kantiana con quella dei filosofi appena citati, così rinvio ai recenti studi di Tschurenev (1992); Guyer (2016), il quale tuttavia ritiene che Kant abbia fallito nel fornire un fondamento a priori per il giudizio di gusto; Lories (1989).

39 «La metafisica wolffiana e la Popularphilosophie del XVIII […] non poteva operare in sé una trasformazione per cui le mancavano completamente le condizioni politiche e sociali. Si riprese bensì il concetto di sensus communis, ma poiché esso fu spogliato completamente del suo aspetto politico, perdette anche il suo specifico significato critico. Si venne quindi ad intendere […] semplicemente una facoltà teoretica, la capacità teoretica di giudicare, che si poneva accanto alla consapevolezza morale […] e al gusto. Il concetto di sensus communis venne così subordinato a una partizione scolastica delle facoltà fondamentali» (Gadamer, 1986, p. 32; trad. it. Gadamer, 2001, p. 77).

40 «Essi [Reid, Oswald, Beattie e Priestley] trovarono perciò un mezzo più comodo: disdegnare l’esame e appellarsi al co mune intelletto umano [den gemeinen Menschenverstand]. È infatti un gran dono del cielo possedere un intelletto diritto […]. Ma lo si deve dimostrare con i fatti, con ciò che di meditato e ragionevole si pensa e si dice; e non con lo invocarlo come un oracolo, quando a propria giustificazione non si sa addurre nulla di buono» (Prol., AA IV 259, 9-19: 11).

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risulta particolarmente utile e importante. Esplicati i cardini del suo sistema, Kant, nell’Antropologia, laddove l’intento non è più l’esame trascendentale delle condizioni di possibilità dell’esperienza, non senza una certa ispirazione letteraria, afferma:


Gli esseri umani, per giudicarli in base alla loro facoltà conoscitiva […], si suddividono fra coloro a cui si deve riconoscere il senso comune (sensus communis) – che invero non è comune nel senso di volgare (sensus volgaris) e la gente di scienza. I primi hanno cognizione delle regole quando è il caso di applicarle (in concreto), gli altri ne hanno cognizione di per se stesse e prima della loro applicazione (in abstracto). […] È da notare che il primo, che di solito viene preso in considerazione esclusivamente come facoltà conoscitiva pratica, non soltanto viene rappresentato come se potesse fare a meno della cultura, ma perfino come se questa gli fosse dannosa, dunque lo si apprezza fino all’esaltazione, considerandolo come una miniera di tesori nascosti nelle profondità dell’anima; addirittura, talvolta le sue sentenze vengono prese come un oracolo (il genio di Socrate) e ritenute più degne di affidamento di tutto ciò che potrebbe mai offrire una scienza consumata. Il sano intelletto però può mostrare questo suo privilegio solo riguardo a un oggetto dell’esperienza; tramite quest’ultima, esso non si limita a crescere nella conoscenza, ma può anche ampliare l’esperienza, non però dal lato speculativo, bensì soltanto da quello pratico-empirico (Anth., AA VII 139, 18-140, 7: 123-124).


Esiste dunque, in ogni essere appartenente alla razza umana, una facoltà che, sebbene non rappresenti un privilegio, costituisce un ingegno naturale (Mutterwitz), il quale consente di approdare alla soluzione di un problema senza rendersi conto analiticamente delle operazioni compiute. Come ha messo in luce Menegoni (1990, p. 30), se in tutte le opere degli anni ’80 prevale una valutazione in larga misura negativa del “buon senso” (gemeiner Verstand), con l’Antropologia (1798) Kant ne evidenzia il contributo positivo, qualificandolo anche come Gemeinsinn, ossia come una generica capacità di ragionare e giudicare, come un buon senso comune a tutti gli esseri umani, che consente la comunicazione del singolo giudizio. Il punto di svolta di questo percorso intellettuale è sicuramente da rinvenire nell’opera del 1790, laddove, nel § 20, a proposito del principio soggettivo che deve fondare i giudizi di gusto, si legge:


un tale principio potrebbe essere considerato solo come un senso comune, il quale è essenzialmente distinto dal comune intelletto, che talvolta viene chiamano anche senso comune (sensus communis), in quanto quest’ultimo giudica non secondo il sentimento, ma sempre secondo concetti sebbene di solito solo in quanto sono principî rappresentati oscuramente (KU, AA V 238, 6-11: 73).


Nella terza Critica talune istanze già presenti nella prima vengono condotte così a un compimento sistematico: esse troveranno la loro elaborazione unitaria e la loro sintesi rigorosa nella nozione di “senso comune”. Kant raccoglie una tradizione vetusta,


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reinterpretandola in maniera originale e tornando ad assegnare a questo concetto quella ricchezza e plurivocità di significati che l’uso umanistico, tornato in auge in Italia a cavallo fra il XVII e XVIII secolo grazie ai lavori di Giovambattista Vico, le aveva attribuito41. Il sensus communis aestheticus sta a fondamento del giudizio di gusto, giudicando attraverso il sentimento, mentre il gemeiner Verstand, o sensus communis logicus, si pronuncia sempre a partire da concetti, sebbene possano essere insufficienti o non completamente chiarificati, così fa anche nell’ambito della morale il sensus communis practicus42. La varietà di significati che vengono da Kant attribuiti alla nozione di senso comune non manifestano pertanto una contraddizione o un luogo oscuro della sua filosofia: questo concetto, al contrario, ricomprende armonicamente in sé tutto ciò che i primi tre momenti dell’Analitica del bello avevano rivelato essere necessario per la possibilità dei giudizi di gusto. Il “senso comune” è la sola facoltà in grado di combinare i requisiti di “disinteresse”, o meglio d’indipendenza da idiosincrasie o inclinazioni della sensibilità e da condizionamenti provenienti da altre facoltà dell’animo, di universalità e di a-concettualità, dal momento che esso rappresenta un senso (distinto chiaramente dai cinque sensi) o una facoltà autonoma della distinzione e della valutazione sulla scorta di un “sentimento”, di un sentire in senso ampio. Questa articolata, porosa e multiforme significazione della nozione di “senso comune” permette, come ha notato anche Anselmo Aportone (2018, p. 115)43, di rinvenire il suo significato più profondo nel rapporto soggettivo armonico delle facoltà della conoscenza, nel corso della loro attività estetica e conoscitiva, e di identificarlo non semplicemente con il gusto 44 ma con la stessa facoltà di giudizio. Il § 21 e, più


41 Non mi pare corretto quanto afferma Gadamer: «quando Kant parla in tal modo del gusto come del vero “senso comune”, egli non tiene più alcun conto della grande tradizione politico-morale del concetto di senso comune» (Gadamer, 1986, p. 49; trad. it. Gadamer, 2001, p. 111). In maniera simile si è espresso anche Rivera de Rosales (2008, p. 95).

42 «Si potrebbe designare il gusto con l’espressione sensus communis aestheticus e il comune intelletto umano con quella di sensu communis logicus» (KU, AA V 295 n.: 131 n.).

43 Limitandosi agli studi italiani degli ultimi decenni è possibile notare come essi abbiano cercato di

interpretare la nozione di “senso comune” sulla base fondamentalmente delle prime due definizioni, ovvero come principio e come sentimento, intendendolo come una norma ideale. Menegoni (1990, pp. 47-48), nella sua acuta analisi, ha posto l’attenzione sul significato comunitario del senso comune: «il senso comune è dunque il vero senso sociale, fondamento della comunità fatta di uomini che sentono, giudicano, conoscono, agiscono sulla base di un principio valido per tutti e che costituisce proprio per la sua elementarità la condizione base per la vita associata […] il senso comune è […] un sentimento di considerazione […] per il punto di vista altrui». Savi (1998, p. 102) ha affermato che «il senso comune è […] la regola del Giudizio che, in quanto non ci è data allo stesso modo in cui ci viene indicata una legge oggettiva, rappresenta al tempo stesso un ideale che il giudizio di gusto deve realizzare, per essere universalmente valido». La Rocca (1999, pp. 274-287) ha ritenuto che vada inteso come una presupposizione che fonda il giudizio di gusto: «il senso comune è dunque una “norma indeterminata” della riflessione, che svolge la funzione di rendere necessario il piacere estetico […] la necessità che si fonda nel senso comune [è] un Sollen, una necessità da assumere e da istituire che […] significa […] una possibilità». Anche Garroni e Hohenegger (2011, pp. XXXIX-XL) dichiarano: «il principio della facoltà estetica di giudizio viene poi detto “senso” o “sentimento comune”, cioè non un sentimento qualsiasi, ma un sentimento di un tipo assai speciale, caratterizzato dall’esigenza a priori di essere condiviso da ciascun giudicante, in quanto comporta un’identità, pur oscillante tra i suoi due aspetti, empirico e puro, privato e pubblico, di questo sentimento e del principio a priori che lo determina» (Garroni & Hohenegger, 2011, pp. XXXIX-XL). In questo filone interpretativo si collocano anche Dallarda (2017) e Tomasi (2017).

44 L’identificazione del senso comune kantiano con il “gusto” operata fra tutti da Gadamer appare dunque piuttosto limitante. Cfr. Gadamer (1986, p. 39); trad. it. Gadamer (2001, p. 91). Il filosofo di Marburgo,

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distesamente, la Deduzione dei giudizi di gusto dimostrano effettivamente come il senso comune non possa identificarsi con il solo gusto, giacché esso è la condizione di possibilità dello stesso giudizio di gusto.

Il “senso comune” è pertanto la stessa facoltà di giudizio (Urteilskraft): una facoltà soggettiva, che, non godendo di principi determinanti al modo dell’intelletto o della ragione, non è apoditticamente deducibile né induttivamente inferibile, ma è dotata solo di validità esemplare e nondimeno riesce a evitare il rischio di un regresso ad infinitum. Essa, in modo particolare nell’esperienza estetica, è a se stessa effetto e principio, oggetto e legge45: il sentimento del piacere o dispiacere della riflessione, come effetto del libero relazionarsi di immaginazione e intelletto, è ciò attraverso cui tale facoltà si esprime nella maniera più libera e, allo stesso tempo, ciò che determina il giudizio che tale facoltà emette. La particolare natura della facoltà di giudizio o senso comune risente certamente della partecipazione di Kant all’assimilazione dell’idea dell’uomo come essere “perfettibile”, che ha luogo nella Germania della seconda metà del Settecento46. Il senso comune è la facoltà innata di giudicare attraverso il “sentimento di piacere e dispiacere”; esso, proprio a causa della sua intima costituzione, è rivolto a uno sviluppo culturale – laddove per “cultura” si intenda il complesso ambito che vede il sapere intersecarsi profondamente anche con la morale47 – che sta all’uomo effettuare48. Esso è l’elaborazione ricca e profonda dell’“ingegno naturale”, di cui Kant aveva già parlato nella prima Critica49 come di un talento che nessuna scuola può mediante nozioni pre-determinate insegnare: essa concerne la capacità di applicare le regole generali ai casi particolari, la cui sussunzione sotto l’universale in abstracto non può essere garantita da nessuna regola, pena il regressus ad infinitum, ma può esser solo “sentita”. Così il senso comune, la facoltà di giudizio, e in qualche modo il piacere della riflessione, sono alla base non solo del giudizio estetico o del giudizio di gusto in particolare, ma anche del giudizio conoscitivo e


prendendo le mosse dalla definizione dell’universalità soggettiva e ispirandosi a Hegel, ha rimproverato a Kant una estrema soggettivizzazione dell’estetico. Tuttavia Gadamer forza il momento soggettivo dell’“universalità privata” kantiana nella direzione di un’“opinione privata”, caratteristica invece del piacevole, sottovalutando la componente trascendentale, dunque universale.

45 Cfr. KU, AA V 288, 24-26: 125.

46 Si veda a tal proposito Hornig (1980).

47 Ha affrontato la questione della “perfettibilità” in relazione alla problematica del carattere, ponendo in luce il rapporto fra ragione e sensibilità, natura e cultura, che la nozione stessa di carattere sottende Gigliotti (2001a).

48 Amoroso (1984), facendo sue talune occorrenze dell’ermeneutica, ha sottolineato l’importanza del momento intersoggettivo per il senso comune (interpretato come un “senso comunitario”), sostenendo che la filosofia kantiana, attraverso la scoperta della rilevanza trascendentale della dimensione intersoggettiva, avvenuta nella terza Critica, si apre agli orizzonti della storia, della cultura delle istituzioni (religiose, politiche e scientifiche) nelle quali ha luogo l’organizzazione del consenso.

49 «La facoltà di giudizio è perciò anche l’elemento specifico del cosiddetto ingegno naturale, la cui mancanza non potrà essere colmata da nessuna scuola: quest’ultima, infatti, potrà anche offrire, e in un certo qual modo inculcare, in un intelletto limitato una grande abbondanza di regole prese a prestito dalla conoscenza altrui, ma la facoltà di servirsi correttamente di esse dovrà appartenere allo scolaro stesso, e in mancanza di questa dote naturale nessuna delle regole che potrebbero essergli prescritte a questo scopo lo garantirebbe da un uso scorretto» (KrV, A 133/B 172: 295, 297). Si veda anche Anth., AA VII 220, 12-229, 7: 223-232.

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di quello morale50 . La facoltà del giudizio, non potendosi fondare su dimostrazioni o principi apodittici, esprime piuttosto un rapporto di familiarità dell’uomo col mondo che egli abita: in essa è possibile rinvenire un riferimento metaforico alla dimensione corporea del senso51: chi gode di una facoltà di giudizio spiccata mostra una “sensibilità” grazie alla quale è in grado di orientarsi adeguatamente nel mondo.


8.

Al sensus communis così inteso appartiene un certo “bisogno sociale”. Alcuni interpreti, come Feloj o ancor prima Menegoni (1990, pp. 47-48), hanno rintracciato proprio nel senso comune «la condizione della vita associata: esso consente infatti la reciproca comprensione e possibilità di comunicazione»52. Menegoni (pp. 48-49) arriva a identificare il senso comune con la seconda delle tre massime esposte nel § 40 della terza Critica, affermando come: «il senso comune è […] un sentimento di considerazione […] per il punto di vista altrui. Su un sentimento dunque Kant fonda la possibilità della comunità degli uomini […]. Alla base di questo mondo è possibile individuare un elemento di universalità […] incarnato in un sentimento […il] sentimento di considerazione per il punto di vista altrui». Tomasi (2017, p. 92) ha affermato inoltre che «c’è un’esigenza (in ultima analisi morale) di coltivare in noi stessi la capacità di sviluppare un senso comune; […] questo ideale è la norma dei nostri giudizi di gusto». Eppure credo che questa lettura, assegnando alla seconda massima un ruolo primario, spezzi l’equilibrio del discorso kantiano. A mio giudizio, la possibilità della comunità sociale e della comunicabilità delle conoscenze non sono tanto fondate sul sentimento dell’accordo delle facoltà; se è vero che i confini della comunicabilità tendono a coincidere con quelli di ciò che, in senso trascendentale, possiamo fare53, la comunicabilità è garantita dal concetto dell’oggetto e dall’appercezione trascendentale, non dal sentimento o dal senso comune. Il dovere e la necessità per la ragione umana di aspirare a divenire pubblica, attraverso il confronto con i risultati dell’azione giudicativa degli altri soggetti, sono fondati su ragioni anzitutto epistemologiche, ancor prima che su presupposti etici di natura illuministica. L’esigenza di coltivare in noi il senso comune non è affatto «in ultima analisi morale»: essa è profondamente epistemologica. Il senso comune o facoltà di giudizio, non godendo di un principio apodittico su cui fondare la propria riflessione, deve sempre avere


50 Il rapporto fra la riflessione estetica e l’esperienza conoscitiva ha diviso gli interpreti italiani, in occasione soprattutto del confronto epistolare fra Emilio Garroni e Silvestro Marcucci. Si veda Garroni (1998), il quale ha rinvenuto una condizione lato sensu estetica a fondamento del giudizio cognitivo, e Marcucci (1988, pp. 9-29, 67-102), il quale ha invece concesso pari dignità teoretica alla sfera estetica e a quella teleologica, senza prevalenza alcuna. Fra gli studiosi vicini all’interpretazione data da Garroni è necessario ricordare Hogrebe (1979); mentre sulla via indicata da Marcucci si sono mossi Cozzoli (1991) e La Rocca (1999, soprattutto pp. 194-298), il quale ha ribadito la «contemporanea autonomia» del processo estetico e del giudizio di conoscenza.

51 Come ha fatto Amoroso (1984, pp. 139-147).

52 Si veda anche Wingert (2000) e Felten (2004). Leyva (1997) ha posto l’accento sull’importanza del sensus communis per fondare una comune sfera dell’azione politica.

53 Si veda Briefe, AA XI 515, 10-14. Si cfr. anche KrV, B XIII. A riguardo si veda quanto è sostenuto da

Dörfliger (1991) e da Aportone (2018, p. 149).

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riguardo nel pensiero al modo rappresentativo di ogni altro, per mettere a fronte, per così dire, il suo giudizio con la ragione umana nel suo complesso e con ciò sfuggire a un’illusione che, sulla base di condizioni soggettive private che potrebbero essere tenute facilmente per oggettive, avrebbe un’influenza svantaggiosa sul giudizio (KU, AA V 293, 32-36: 130).

Allo stesso tempo, però, non deve dimenticarsi di «pensare da sé […e] pensare sempre in accordo con se stessi» (KU, AA V 294, 14-17: 130), come ammoniscono la prima e la terza massima della facoltà di giudizio. La prima è la massima dell’Aufklärung, necessaria «per l’uscita dell’uomo dalla minorità che è a sé stesso imputabile. Minorità [che] è l’incapacità di servirsi del proprio intelletto senza guida di un altro» (WA, AA VIII 35, 1-3: 11) a causa di pigrizia e della vigliaccheria. La seconda è quella del “pensare ampio”. In seguito all’uscita dallo stato di minorità, è necessario usare correttamente l’intelletto, senza condurlo in errore: l’incompatibilità delle altre opinioni con la nostra può indicare la presenza di equivoci, generati per aver condotto il proprio giudizio sulla base di motivi meramente personali e parziali. Questa massima non si realizza solo attraverso il confronto reale di opinioni altrui ma anche come l’operazione della riflessione sulle altre possibili opinioni, come l’esame atto a verificare la possibilità di universalizzare il proprio punto di vista. La terza massima infine sintetizza la posizione delle precedenti, indicando la necessità di far uso in modo coerente e maturo della propria capacità di giudizio.


9.

L’operazione grazie alla quale Kant, tracciando un solco indelebile nella storia della filosofia, conferisce uno statuto proprio alla sfera del bello è dunque complessa e profonda. Posto che il giudizio di gusto dà voce a un sentimento di piacere, e non è dunque né fondato su nessi concettuali, né diretto alla loro esplicazione, potrà godere di una sua propria specificità solo se risulta fondato da un principio trascendentale. Quest’ultimo lo distingue dal giudizio sul piacevole, mera espressione di un piacere sensuale, e viene identificato col gioco libero e armonico delle facoltà, espresso concettualmente in maniera analogica dalla locuzione Zweckmäßigkeit ohne Zweck54, il quale dà luogo al particolare tipo di piacere (della riflessione) che caratterizza l’esperienza estetica. L’ultima definizione del bello può asserire che il piacere estetico è “necessario”, che la relazione fra il soggetto giudicante e l’oggetto giudicato conduce necessariamente al piacere, poiché è stato rinvenuto un principio trascendentale, che rende possibile, attraverso il giudizio di gusto, affermare a priori l’universalità del piacere provato, senza ricorre a indagini storiche o statistiche. Il fallimento empirico della comunicabilità universale di un giudizio di gusto non può condurre a mutare lo statuto a priori del suo principio: esso garantisce la legittimità della domanda di universalità, ma non può costituire né la garanzia né la prova di una sua effettiva riuscita – allo stesso modo per cui le leggi generali dell’aritmetica non assicurano la correttezza di una particolare moltiplicazione. La normatività estetica del


54 Si veda quanto affermano Garroni e Hohenegger «la conformità a scopi è piuttosto l’espressione concettuale già analogica da parte del pensiero discorsivo di un principio che non si può esporre o addurre» (Garroni & Hohenegger, 2011, p. XXXIX).

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giudizio kantiano di gusto non possiede affatto una validità semplicemente ideale, allo stesso modo per cui il senso comune non può essere inteso come un mero principio ideale a cui tendere all’infinito: così facendo si corre il rischio di far crollare l’intero edificio kantiano, negando uno statuto proprio all’ambito della bellezza, e di obliare la distinzione profonda (ed evidente già sul piano fenomenologico)55 fra il giudizio di gusto e il giudizio sul piacevole.


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55 Come spero di poter argomentare in altra sede, a mio giudizio, i primi cinque paragrafi della terza Critica mostrano come secondo Kant il piacere meramente sensuale e il piacere provato dinnanzi a un oggetto bello presentino decise differenze fenomenologiche; tale questione è tuttavia discussa e dalle conseguenze tutt’altro che irrilevanti per l’intera teoria kantiana del gusto, pertanto non può trovare spazio in questo luogo.

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Freedom and Bonds in Kant

Libertad y Vínculos en Kant


ALMUDENA RIVADULLA DURÁN


Universidad de Navarra, España


Abstract

The thesis that I intend to address in this article can be summarized with the idea that positive bonds1 engender not only dependence, but also freedom and autonomy. Accordingly, it is worth asking what positive human bonds are based on. Or, to phrase the question another way, how can dependence and autonomy be blended when we talk about relationships in terms of bonds, that is, relationships with a special quality of union?

I will try to answer these questions through a selection of texts that pay special attention to these issues from Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals, Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, and his Lectures on Ethics2. I will thus briefly address the Kantian concept of freedom and introduce the idea of bonds that, as we will see below, is not as alien to Kantian ethics as it may at first seem.


Keywords

Freedom, Kant, friendship, beneficence, bonds


Resumen

La tesis que pretendo abordar a lo largo de estas pocas páginas se condensa en la idea de que cuando los vínculos son positivos, no hay solo dependencia, sino que reina también la libertad y la autonomía. De acuerdo con esto cabe preguntarse lo siguiente: ¿de qué depende que los vínculos



1 What I mean by “positive bonds” is the idea of being bound to someone without becoming passive, that is, without losing your autonomy. As Lara Denis holds: “We owe it to ourselves to avoid relationships in which we are continually dependent on someone else” (Denis, 2001, p.5).

2 I will cite Kant’s texts according to their initials in German, followed by the volume and page of the Prussian Academy edition of Kant’s Gesammelte Schriften. Thus, the Critique of Practical Reason corresponds to KpR; Metaphysics of Morals corresponds to MS; Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason to RGV; and his Lectures on Ethics from Collins correspond to V-Mo/Collins.


[Recibido: 9 de julio de 2018

Aceptado: 15 de mayo de 2018]


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humanos sean positivos? o, ¿cómo pueden conjugarse la dependencia y la autonomía cuando hablamos de relaciones en términos de vínculos, esto es, de relaciones con un especial carácter de unión?

Intentaré dar respuesta a estos interrogantes a través de una selección de textos procedentes de la Metafísica de las Costumbres, de las Lecciones de ética y de la Religión dentro de los límites de la mera Razón, en los que Kant parece especialmente preocupado por estas cuestiones. Trataré así de abordar brevemente el concepto kantiano de libertad y de introducir la idea de vínculo que, como veremos a continuación, no es tan ajena a la ética kantiana como puede parecer en un primer momento.


Palabras clave

Libertad, Kant, amistad, beneficencia, vínculos


I.

The idea of bonds in Kant has always been linked to the idea of obligations. The term in German for both is: Verbindlichkeit. It is the idea of each human being bound to the moral law and it is also the idea that governs Kant´s Critique of Practical Reason and also his Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. In this brief article we will try to introduce a broader notion of this idea, one that includes social relations, that is, the idea of being bound to others. We will see that both, the idea of being bound to the moral law and the idea of being bound to others, do not contradict each other. On the contrary, the first one grounds the moral character of our social relations. In her article, Eleni Filippaki considers this same issue:


[Human beings are] “beings that stand in essential relation to one another: not as isolated rational machines with a merely vertical relation to the moral law, but as rational substances in dynamic horizontal interrelations which provide the indispensable context for the proper conception of Kantian rational moral action” (Filippaki, 2012, pp.34-35).


At first the idea of social bonds may seem non-existent in Kant´s moral theory, but among his texts we do find certain references to the idea of it. On the one hand, friendship is defined in a positive way as a “special bond” (V-Mo/Collins AA 27: 430). But, on the other hand, the situation of bonding is described as a situation of passive obligation (V- Mo/Collins AA 27: 259-60). The distinction made by Kant between “passive obligation” and “active obligation”, and the identification of the idea of bonds with the first type of obligation, gives us the impression that for Kant the fact of being bound to someone is a negative fact, a situation of passivity and dependence. This perspective contrasts with the one about friendship in which Kant values very positively the union of two people as “purely moral” (MS AA 06: 470-471). It seems therefore that we have two alternatives when it comes to addressing the question of social bonds in Kant: one positive and one negative. However, it is possible to address both alternatives in a complementary way. Both in the Metaphysics of Morals and in his Lectures on Ethics we find a whole moral reflection in which the protagonist is no longer “the rational being in general” or “the

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rational nature of human beings”, as it happens in his Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals and in his Critique of Practical Reason, but it is “the man”: a rational being indeed, but also a being corporally and socially situated. In these works, Kant tries to find the balance between man as “noumenon”, that is, as a radically active being, and man as “phenomenon”, that is, as a receptive being (not only in terms of knowledge, but also in terms of interaction with other human beings). In short, between the moral vocation of men to autonomy, on the one hand, and their necessity of society, on the other.


It seems then that it is not necessary to keep only one of the two alternatives about bonds, but it should be possible to transform the situations of negative bonding into new situations of positive bonding. In fact, Kant also defined freedom in this way: first, as a negative concept, and then he confirmed its positive reality.


Therefore, in order to address the question of social bonds in Kant, we will make use of the Kantian concept of friendship as a reference. In the same way that freedom does not destroy the reality that contradicts it (the natural inclinations), but it introduces its law and with it, a new order3, so does the concept of friendship. It does not replace dependence (which characterizes negative bonds) with pure autonomy, but it introduces that “equality in mutual love and respect” (MS AA 06: 469) with which dependence (attraction) and autonomy (repulsion) are balanced (MS AA 06: 470).


There hasn´t been a full investigation of this topic yet, but some experts on Kant have done deep work in this direction. Experts such as Christine Korsgaard, Marcia Baron, Andrews Reath, Kyla Ebels-Duggan, Ana Marta González, have studied the social aspect of Kant´s moral theory and they have developed new lines of interpretation which do not break the traditional ones but completes them. We will take into account this recent research and try to introduce the positive concept of bonds which, as I will try to hold, is not alien to Kant´s moral theory, but central.


II.

In the Introduction to the Metaphysics of Morals, the concept of freedom is defined, on the one hand, as the “independence from being determined by sensible impulses” (MS AA 06: 213-214), and, on the other hand, as “the ability of pure reason to be of itself practical” (MS AA 06: 214), that is, as offering itself (reason) laws for human will and human action.


3 “we are conscious through reason of a law to which all our maxims are subject, as if a natural order must at the same time arise from our will. This law must therefore be the idea of a nature not given empirically and yet possible through freedom, hence a supersensible nature to which we give objective reality at least in a practical respect, since we regard it as an object of our will as pure rational beings” (KpV AA 05:44).

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In effect, freedom requires independence from sensible nature, as well as from external coercion 4 . However, for Kant, properly speaking, freedom is a positive reality. An undeniable reality lies behind the first definition of freedom as a negative concept: on the one hand, there is a sensible nature, which has its own laws, and, on the other hand, “the spherical surface of the earth unites all the places on its surface” and thus community with one another is a necessary result of human´s existence on the earth (MS AA 06: 262). Thus, if freedom is a positive, rather than a merely negative, reality, it requires the affirmation of a new order and, with that, new laws. Hence, Kant speaks of laws that differ from those of nature, which correspond to the laws of freedom. These laws, when introduced among men, inaugurate a new order, i.e., the moral order5.


Freedom is thus responsible for the transformation of man’s factual aspects (his sensible nature and the existence of human beings on a spherical surface) into a moral reality. If we focus on the concept of freedom as independence from the influence that others exercise over us with their actions, its positive version consists of new ways of relating that are compatible with freedom. The moral principles therein correspond to right and virtue.


The fact that freedom transforms this factual situation of coexistence and renews it “as a beautiful moral whole in its full perfection” (MS AA 06: 458) is due to the very fact that freedom— as a faculty of reason that is practical— introduces new ends that differ from nature’s ends.


These new ends respond to a certain concept with which Kant introduces the concept of duty at the same time. It corresponds to what Kant calls an “end that is also a duty”. “[I]t is not a question here of ends the human being does adopt in keeping with the sensible impulses of his nature, but of objects of free choice under its laws, which he ought to make his ends” (MS AA 06: 385).


Another term that Kant uses to talk about these new ends of freedom is that of “duties of virtue” with which he highlights such duties as those of beneficence, sympathy, gratitude, as well as friendship. They all come from reason and are possible as ends of human action because of freedom, not because of nature.


To deal with the question that here concerns us—freedom and bonds in Kant— I will focus on comparing two of the duties of virtue that Kant seems to prefer, namely the duty of beneficence and the duty of friendship.



4 In the first pages of the Doctrine of Right, Kant also writes about the negative version of external freedom, referring to the coercive influence that others and their actions can exercise over one’s own action. In this sense, freedom consists in the “independence from being constrained by another’s choice” (MS AA 06:237). 5 In this respect, it is interesting to consider the arguments that Andrews Reath uses to give priority to the secular version of the Highest Good, that is, to the version in which not God but human beings are the agents responsible for bringing morality and happiness together in this world (Reath, 1988, pp.609-612).

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III.

Kant takes into account that human beings have an innate social impulse; it cannot be eradicated from man’s nature. It is part of man’s disposition toward animality:


“The predisposition to animality in the human being may be brought under the general title of physical or merely mechanical self-love, i.e., a love for which reason is not required. It is threefold: first, for self-preservation; second, for the propagation of the species, through the sexual drive, and for the preservation of the offspring thereby begotten through breeding; third, for community with other human beings, i.e., the social drive” (RGV AA 06: 26-27).


However, man has other dispositions— such as those toward humanity and personality— that engender growth and the expression of that animal impulse in other ways. In effect, the social impulse that resides in man’s animality appears in his disposition towards humanity as “the inclination to gain worth in the opinion of others, originally, of course, merely equal worth: not allowing anyone superiority over oneself” (RGV AA 06: 27).


The disposition to personality already assigns man the freedom that corresponds to him as a being endowed with reason and amounts to the freedom of the law. In effect, the predisposition to personality is, according to Kant, one of the three elements that determine the nature of the human being (RGV AA 06:26-28). And it is this one where freedom becomes real. It is here where the moral law “announces to be itself an incentive, and, indeed, the highest incentive. Were this law not given to us from within, no amount of subtle reasoning on our part would produce it or win our power of choice over to it” (RGV AA 06:26*).


In accordance with these three dispositions, man must “raise himself from the crude state of his nature, from his animality (quoad actum), more and more toward humanity, by which he alone is capable of setting himself ends” (MS AA 06: 387). Taking into account the difference between humanity and personality, man must also strive to arrive at moral perfection which lies in making “one´s object every particular end that is also a duty” (MS AA 06: 387). That is so because “freedom of choice cannot be defined -as some have tried to define it- as the ability to make a choice for or against the law (libertas indifferentiae)” (MS AA 06: 226). “[F]reedom can never be located in a rational subject´s being able to choose in opposition to his (lawgiving) reason, even though experience proves often enough that this happens” (MS AA 06: 226).


This growth, which man owes to himself through his very dispositions, happens by virtue of a few principles, which Kant reveals in his Metaphysics of Morals. In fact, according to Kant, “every human being also has it [such a metaphysics] within himself” (MS AA 06: 216). Therefore, if the Metaphysics of Morals is divided into the Doctrine of Right and the


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Doctrine of Virtue, it is because the laws that emerge from both doctrines constitute the new laws in which freedom finds its own affirmation, and these are the laws that every human being finds within him.


Right and virtue are, for Kant, principles that are introduced among men not just for the individual progress of each man towards his personality but are also there to transform the inevitable situation of coexistence into a properly human coexistence that is, in short, a moral one. Friendship and marriage reflect the possibility of that transformation. He thus speaks of both bonds as particularly exemplary cases of a social exercise in which those who interact experience freedom. They are relations of equality or, at least, relationships in which reciprocity (legal and/or ethical) tries to restore the inequalities that can arise in interaction6.


This moral transformation occurs, for Kant, through constriction7. Intuitively, it may sound contradictory to speak of freedom in terms of coercion (or self-coercion), as Kant does. However, since man is a natural as well as a rational being, the subjective and the objective do not coincide in him immediately8. Morality is tinged with contingency9, that is, this moral transformation does not occur in man with absolute necessity. It depends on whether man attends to the imperatives of the moral law. Whether he does or does not, it is under this law that human reality, with all its dispositions, finds unity10.


“Hence a person constrained by motivating grounds of reason is constrained without it conflicting with freedom” (V-Mo/Collins AA 27: 268).



6 According to Kant, freedom is an innate right and from it emerges an innate equality: “independence from being bound by others to more than one can in turn bind them” (MS AA 06:237-238).

7 “No other necessitation save practical necessitation per motiva is compatible with freedom. These motives

can be pragmatic and moral, the latter being drawn from the bonitas absoluta of the freewill. The more a man can be morally compelled, the freer he is; the more he is pathologically compelled, though this only occurs in a comparative sense, the less free he is. It is strange: the more anyone can be compelled, in a moral sense, the more free he is. I compel a person morally through motiva objective moventia, through motivating grounds of reason, whereby he is maximally free, without any incentive. Hence it takes a greater degree for freedom to be morally compelled, for in that case the arbitrium liberum is more powerful -it can be compelled by motivating grounds of reason and is free of stimuli. So the more a person is free of stimuli, the more he can be morally necessitated. His freedom increases with the degree of morality” (V-Mo/Collins VE AA 27: 268). 8 As Ana Marta González explains: “As finite beings, humans need to be impelled to activity by some incentive (KpV AA 05:79), yet there is a difference between being merely impelled by a sensible incentive and being impelled by reason, between “having an interest” and “taking an interest”. That finite rational beings can take an interest in the moral law, however, follows from their mixed nature as rational and sensible beings: while as sensible beings they are influenced by inclinations, as rational beings they do not find those inclinations decisive in themselves. Negative freedom creates room for the thought of the law to have its peculiar effect on our sensible nature, inducing a peculiar kind of feeling, which, unlike other feelings, has its source in moral law itself and enables us to act to not just in conformity with the law, but also out of respect for the law (KpV AA 05:81)” (González, 2019, p.5).

9 This contingency is not about the moral law, but about human beings because they may or may not follow the moral law.

10 As Korsgaard holds at the end of her Prologue to The Sources of Normativity: “Obligation is what makes

us human” (Korsgaard, 1996, p.5).

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Below I include two fragments from the Lectures on Ethics in which Kant addresses this very question with a somewhat pressing tone:


“All animals have the capacity to use their powers according to choice. Yet this choice is not free but necessitated by incentives and stimuli. Their actions contain bruta necessitas. If all creatures had such a choice, tied to sensory drives, the world would have no value. But the inner worth of the world, the summum bonum, is freedom according to a choice that is not necessitated to act. Freedom is thus the inner worth of the world. But on the other hand, insofar as it is not restrained under certain rules of conditioned employment, it is the most terrible thing there could ever be. […] If freedom is not restricted by objective rules, the result is much savage disorder. For it is uncertain whether man will not use his powers to destroy himself, and others, and the whole of nature” (V- Mo/Collins AA 27: 344).


“I shall therefore not follow my inclinations but bring them under a rule. Anyone who allows his person to be governed by his inclinations is acting contrary to the essential end of mankind, for as a free agent he must not be subject to his inclinations but should determine them through freedom; for if he is free, he must have a rule; and this rule is the essential end of mankind” (V-Mo/Collins AA 27: 345).


These “essential ends of mankind” are the ends of right and virtue. They are ends in which freedom recovers itself because with them and in them man does not remain in his disposition to animality, but rather is integrated into a higher, rational and properly human order, which corresponds to personality.


According to the above-cited text, we can affirm that freedom brings conciliation with it. Freedom as law is integrated among men and their inclinations. It does not try to destroy that which falls under other laws (under the laws of nature, for example)11, but rather tries to order it according to certain conditions12, namely those under which the greatest use of freedom is possible, because freedom is “the highest principium of life” (V-Mo/Collins AA 27: 346).


IV.

Right and virtue complement and require one another. On the one hand, civil society is not simultaneously moral, but, on the other hand, an ethical community can only emerge from


11 “This law is to furnish the sensible world with the form of a world of the understanding, though without infringing upon the mechanism of the former” (KpV AA 05:43).

12 “For us -dependent as we are on objects of the senses – happiness is by nature the first that we desire and desire unconditionally. Yet by our nature (if this is how we want to name something innate in us) as a substance endowed with reason and freedom, this very happiness is not the first by far, nor is it indeed the object of our maxims unconditionally: this is rather the worthiness of being happy, i.e., the agreement of all our maxims with the moral law. Now that this worthiness is objectively the condition under which alone the wish for happiness can conform with the law-giving reason, in this consists every ethical advance; and in the disposition to wish only under such condition, the ethical frame of mind.” (RGV AA 6: 46)

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a political community13. Kant indicates this in his work Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason in speaking of an “ethical community” as “an association of human beings merely under the laws of virtue” (RGV AA 06: 94). According to him, “it can exist in the midst of a political community and even be made up of all the members of the latter (indeed, without the foundation of a political community, it could never be brought into existence by human beings)” (RGV AA 06: 94). Along with this complementarity, Kant does not fail to distinguish right from virtue because the augmented external freedom that comes with the law of right upon establishing civil society is not the only advance in freedom to which man can aspire. Indeed, we must consider the sense of freedom that Kant addresses in his Doctrine of Virtue.


In Religion, Kant speaks of “the ethical state of nature” as that in which “[the citizen of the political community] may wish to […] remain” (RGV AA 06: 94). This corresponds to a peaceful situation in which the law of right regulates external relationships between men (RGV AA 06: 94), but it is not yet an “ethical community” in which, in addition to being legally bound to one another, men mutually engage in moral relationships.


This lack of ethical union with other citizens is described in his Metaphysics of Morals as follows:


“the benevolence present in love for all human beings is indeed the greatest in its extent, but the smallest in its degree; and when I say that I take an interest in this human being´s well-being only out of my love for all human beings, the interest I take is as slight as an interest can be. I am only not indifferent with regard to him” (MS AA 06: 451, paragraph 28).


With this, Kant seems to indicate that the ethical union to which man has to aspire to get out of the “ethical state of nature” consists in something more than individual relationships with the moral law; more than a general respect towards human beings. Particular relationships of love are necessary14. Hence, Kant believes that the duty to love other men is a duty to love in particular (MS AA 06: 448-452). Love cannot be reduced to “taking delight in the well-being of every other” but must also consist in the action of “contributing


13 As Kyla Ebels-Duggan holds: “people are not perfectly virtuous, so we can reasonably trust them to respect our external freedom only in the context of an institution that gives them an independent incentive to do so. Thus, we forge the unity of the state by setting up a sovereign with both power and authority to exercise coercion” (Ebels-Duggan, 2009, p.16). That is the political community.

14 “The Groundwork argument purports to establish an obligation to, as it were, create a benevolence fund but does not entitle any particular person to draw on it. That is, you don’t owe the duty to any particular person. It is merely an obligation with respect to others, not one that recognizes another person as having the authority to give you reasons. We can read the Religion discussion of the Ethical State of Nature as attempting to fill this gap by grounding a class of positive duties beyond the general duty of benevolence: duties owed to particular others to do particular things. These are different from, though obviously related to, the duties established by the general duty of beneficence. Ethical duties—duties of virtue—are duties to acknowledge certain considerations as reasons and act accordingly. The duties in question are duties to particular others to regard their choices as providing reason to act.” (Ebels-Duggan, 2009, pp.9-10)

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to it” (MS AA 06: 452). The duty to love is possible only in particular. Hence the differences between benevolence and beneficence that Kant coined a little later:


“benevolence is satisfaction in the happiness (well-being) of others; but beneficence is the maxim of making others´ happiness one´s end, and the duty to it consists in the subject´s being constrained by his reason to adopt this maxim as a universal law” (MS AA 06: 452, paragraph 29).


Beneficence is undoubtedly the consequence of taking benevolence as the maxim of our actions. However, the moral horizon to which man can aspire is broader. While beneficence generates situations of debt (dependence), friendship is formed with a certain equality15.


For Kant, friendship is a moral and particular phenomenon: it brings together the moral duties of men and their particular aspirations toward happiness. Friendship does not lose its moral character because of its particularity.


“Ties to others may occasionally make it harder for me to act morally -since morality requires that I not make exceptions for my friend- but this is no reason to sever ties to others. What is needed is a firm commitment to putting morality first, no matter what the competing considerations” (Baron, 1997, p.150).


Friendship between two people does not arise because both parties independently propose benevolence as the maxim of their actions; it does not consist in the exercise of mutual beneficence16. If friendship could be reduced to this, it would not be possible to speak properly of bonds; we would remain in a context of obligations— mutual ones, but obligations nonetheless. For that “ethical union” between fellow citizens to exist, something else must emerge, namely bonds, and not just (individual) obligations17. To


15Friendship “is the union of two persons through equal mutual love and respect” (MS AA6: 469).

16 In her article “Against beneficence: A normative account of love”, Kyla Ebels-Duggan discusses the concept of beneficence and introduces “the shared-ends view” about love: “The shared-ends view requires even more. It demands not just that you advance your beloved’s ends but that you share ends with her, and this requires reciprocal interaction. Since, as I claimed above, neither party in a relationship may set a significant end without the other’s concurrence, the shared- ends view requires that you and your partner interact to decide together what you will do together. The shared-ends view thus understands love as inherently seeking reciprocity” (Ebels-Duggan, 2008, p.162).

17 Korsgaard holds something similar. What bounds one another aren´t just obligations, but also feelings, the moral feelings of love and respect: “Friendship in its perfection involves what Kant calls the most intimate union of love with respect (MS, 6:469). While love moves you to pursue the ends of another, respect reminds you that she must determine what those ends are; while love moves you to care for the happiness of another, respect demands that your care for her character too. Kant means here the feelings of love and respect, for he is defining the friendship of sentiment, but this does not sever the tie to morality. Love and respect are the primary duties of virtue we owe to others. Although only the outward practices can be required of us, Kant makes it clear in many passages that he believes that in the state of realized virtue these feelings will be present. In one place he even defines love and respect as the feelings which accompany the exercise of our duties towards others (MS, 6:448; see also R 23-24n). Feelings of sympathy, gratitude, and delight in the happiness of others are not directly incumbent upon us, but they are the natural result of making the ends of

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highlight the difference between the two, we will stop to consider the set of obligations in which the duty of beneficence consists, and in what way bonds of friendship can be developed from such dynamics. We will see that friendship completes, rather than annuls, the goodness that characterizes all beneficent action.


V.

The concept of obligation in Kant does not apply to the individual in solitude; rather, it applies to his relational situation (if there is one already), or it generates a new one, in such a way that we can indeed speak of bonds. To understand this latter consideration, we will introduce Kant’s distinction between passive obligation and active obligation. According to him,


“If I am under an obligation [verbunden] to help the unfortunate, and thus to the action but not the man, that would be obligatio activa. But if I owe a debt to someone, I am obligated [verbunden], not only to the act of payment, but also to the creditor, and that is obligatio passive. It seems, however, that all obligatio is passiva, for if I am obligated [verbunden] then I am constrained [genöthigt]. Yet with an obligatio activa there is a constraint of reason, I am constrained by my own reflection, so there is nothing passive about it; and obligatio passiva must come about through another, whereas if a man is necessitated by reason, he rules himself” (V-Mo/Collins AA 27: 259-60).


It seems that, for Kant, “being bound to someone” involves passive obligation and is, therefore, a negative situation of debt that can be improved upon. The ones which are “non-binding” to another are the active obligations. They do correspond with “an instance of reason” alone. In such situations, I am no longer forced by anyone; rather, I am “constrained by my own reflection, so there is nothing passive about it”. It is this active situation that is, for Kant, preferable to debt.


However, Kant does not ignore that human society is founded on relationships based on reciprocal actions, which generate bonds for which active and passive elements are distributed and balanced differently. Kant speaks positively of these relationships insofar as they succeed in reflecting a moral reality. A clear example of this corresponds to the relationships generated by the practice of beneficence. In them, the receptivity and passivity that affect the beneficiary must be transformed (if they want to be a reflection of a moral reality) into new occasions for moral action. For this, according to Kant, a benefit


others our own, as duty demands. The feeling of respect, a still higher achievement, is the natural result of keeping the humanity of others and so their capacity for good will always before our eyes. So this kind of friendship really is in Kant’s eyes the friendship of virtue, the moral relation in a perfected form” (Korsgaard, 1996, p.191).

She is referring to a perfect moral situation and that need not to be a problem. For Kant perfection is an ideal and, as such, it can be assumed by human agents as a moral disposition, that is, as an internal disposition directed towards external actions. In effect, although ideals can never be empirically experienced, they do influence the sensible world in an imperfect way. The ideal can remain real as a perfect form in the dispositions of the agent.

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should not be considered “as a burden one would gladly be rid of (since the one so favored stands a step lower than his benefactor, and this wounds his pride), but taking even the occasion for gratitude as a moral kindness, that is, as an opportunity given one to unite the virtue of gratitude with love of man, to combine the cordiality of a benevolent disposition with sensitivity to benevolence (attentiveness to the smallest degree of this disposition in one´s thought of duty), and so to cultivate one´s love of human beings” (MS AA 06: 456). It seems, therefore, that situations of debt or passive obligation can present an occasion for new moral activity in relationship with the benefactor. In fact, for the benefactor himself, “it is our duty to behave as if our help is either merely what is due him or but a slight service of love, and to spare him humiliation and maintain his respect for himself” (MS AA 06: 448-449). The beneficiary thus becomes free to correspond to the favor received without being forced to do so; it is as if this were a case of active, and no longer merely passive, obligation. Indeed, if in the exercise of the duty of beneficence, in addition to generating relationships of debt, one takes into account “the self-love of others” (MS AA 06: 448-449), one will thereby avoid humiliating the other and will open up a space of interaction between equals. In fact, self-respect or self-esteem is, according to Kant, a natural predisposition that resides in every human being and which makes us receptive to the concept of duty (MS AA 06: 399). Therefore, if the beneficiary is not humiliated in addition, he will conserve an active disposition (the one called “self-esteem”) toward corresponding to the favor received because he counts on internal freedom; he is still capable of obligating himself (MS AA 06: 418), rather than being only externally obligated. It seems then that, beyond the position of inferiority in which the beneficiary is placed with respect to his benefactor, it is possible to restore equality if both the benefactor and the beneficiary attend completely to what the moral law prescribes: for the former, to perform the duty of beneficence in a certain way (respecting the other’s self-love) and for the latter, to receive the favor in a certain way (reacting in a moral, grateful way).


It is clear then that, for Kant, the fact of finding oneself under a passive obligation does not amount to a complete lack of freedom. Although it is true that, “[a] person under obligatio passiva is less free than one under obligatio activa” (V-Mo/Collins AA 27: 269). However, receiving a favor does not completely nullify the receiver's freedom, but it does affect his condition of being free. As Kant himself states, “we still have to distinguish here between the capacity for freedom and the state of being free. The capacity for freedom can be greater, although the state is worse” (V-Mo/Collins AA 27: 269). This may be the case for the passive situation in which the beneficiary remains. His personality is not annulled, that is, his ability to be free, although it is conditioned. It is in other cases where the exercise of freedom is impossible:


“where actions are simply not free, and nothing personal is involved, there is also no obligation; thus a man, for example, has no obligation to stop hiccupping, for it is not in his power. So for obligation we presuppose the use of freedom” (V-Mo/Collins AA 27: 261).


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On the other hand, however, Kant does not settle the question of love when exploring the duty of beneficence, but rather introduces in this same framework the duty of gratitude. The beneficiary’s grateful response initiates, in a certain sense, the bilateral nature of the positive bonds that are characterized by a balance between mutual dependence and each person’s freedom or moral autonomy. In addition, when it comes to beneficence, the practice of love not only binds the receiver of an action, but also has an effect on the one who performs the action (MS AA 06: 453-454). With his action, the benefactor cultivates the disposition that Kant likes to call, “Menschenfreundschaft” (MS AA 06: 473). One can, in fact, overcome one’s resistance to enter into close relationship with others starting from this disposition. This is how one, according to Kant, “each of us seeks to be worthy of being a friend for someone” (V-Mo/Collins AA 27: 429).


“[B]ut to be everybody´s friend will not do, for he who is a friend to all has no particular friend; but friendship is a particular bond [eine besondere Verbindung]” (V-Mo/Collins AA 27: 430). Friendship as a particular bond is very different from beneficence; it is characterized as a “purely moral union” (MS AA 06: 470-471), rather than by the pragmatism that characterizes the way of being bound generated by beneficent actions.


In friendship, unlike beneficence, moral goodness takes preference over pragmatic goodness which “gives man no inner worth” (V-Mo/Collins AA 27: 247). It seems then that it is in the context of friendship where two people can enjoy the highest degree of freedom, since freedom is, as mentioned above, “the inner worth of the world, the summum bonum” (V-Mo/Collins AA 27: 344). Indeed, according to Kant, friendship arises from the idea that “a man clings especially to what gives worth to his person” (V-Mo/Collins AA 27: 422), and that is, freedom:


“Our free acting and refraining has an inner goodness, and thus gives man an immediate inner absolute worth of morality. The man, for example, who keeps his word, always has an immediate inner worth of free choice, be the end what it may. But pragmatic goodness gives man no inner worth” (V-Mo/Collins AA 27: 247).


VI. Conclusion

If, according to Kant, moral (not pragmatic) demands serve the ends of freedom (V- Mo/Collins AA 27: 256); if it is in fact in the ends of freedom where men coincide (V- Mo/Collins AA 27: 276); and if the purpose of civil society is to guarantee freedom for all, then society must aspire to become a moral community. For this, morality must be understood not just as a matter of obligation, but also as a matter of bonds.


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Right, undoubtedly, introduces the first level of bonds and it is from there that we can even speak of coexistence in terms of humanity, that is, of society18. However, “it is curious that, even when we engage in social intercourse and companionship, we still do not enter completely into society” (V-Mo/Collins AA 27: 427). A deeper level of bonding, which is found in friendship, is still needed. And it is in friendship, as a “purely moral union”, that freedom is fully itself.


BIBLIOGRAFY

Baron, M. (1997), “Kantian Ethics and Claims of Detachment,” Feminist Interpretations of Immanuel Kant, edited by Robin May Schott, Pennsylvania State University Press, pp.145-170.

Baron, M. (1991), “Impartiality and Friendship,” Ethics, 101, 4, pp. 836-857.

Dörflinger, B. (2017), “Los deberes del amor en la doctrina kantiana de la virtud. Su ubicación en el límite entre razón y sentimiento”, Revista de Estudios Kantianos, 2, 2, pp. 125-134.

Ebels-Duggan, K. (2009), “Moral Community: Escaping the Ethical State of Nature,”

Philosophers’ Imprint, 9, 8, pp.1-19.

Ebels-Duggan, K. (2008), “Against beneficence: A normative account of love,” Ethics, 119, 1, pp.142-170.

Filippaki, E. (2012), “Kant on Love, Respect and Friendship,” Kant Yearbook, 4, pp. 23- 48.

González, A. M. (2019) “Unpacking moral feeling: Kantian clues to a map of the moral world”, forthcoming in Kant on Emotions. Critical and Historical Essays, edited by Mariannina Failla, Nuria Sánchez Madrid, Paulo Tunhas.

González, A. M. (2011), Culture as mediation. Kant on nature, culture, and morality, Olms: Hildesheim, Zürich, New York.

González, A. M. (2010), “Kant and a culture of freedom,” Archiv für rechts-und sozialphilosophie, ARSP, 96, 3, pp. 291-308.

Kant, I. (1997), “Lectures on ethics,” Immanuel Kant, Lectures on ethics, edited by Peter Heath and J. B. Schneewind; translated by Peter Heath, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kant, I. (1996), “Metaphysics of Morals,” Immanuel Kant, Practical Philosophy, translated and edited by Mary Gregor; with an introduction by Allen W. Wood, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kant, I. (1996), “Religion within the boundaries of Mere Reason and other writings,” Immanuel Kant, Religion and Rational Theology, translated and edited by Allen Wood and George di Giovanni, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.



18 There is discussion about the moral character of the duties of right. It is not the topic of this paper, but it is related to it. Marcus Willaschek and Christoph Horn are representatives of this discussion and stand against the idea of understanding right as a moral concept.

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Kant, I. (1996) “Critique of Practical reason”, Immanuel Kant, Practical Philosophy, translated and edited by Mary Gregor; with an introduction by Allen W. Wood, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Korsgaard, C. M. (1996), Creating the Kingdom of Ends, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Korsgaard, C., M. (1966), The sources of normativity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Library.

Pauer-Studer, H. (2016), “‘A Community of Rational Beings’. Kant’s Realm of Ends and the Distinction between Internal and External Freedom,” Kant-Studien, 107, 1, pp. 125-159.

Schönecher, D. (2013), “Duties to Others from Love”, Kant's "Tugendlehre": A Comprehensive Commentary, edited by Andreas Trampota, Oliver Sensen, Jens Timmermann, Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter, pp. 309-341.

Reath, A. (1988), “Two Conceptions of the Highest Good in Kant,” Journal of the History of Philosophy, Johns Hopkins University Press, 26, 4, pp. 593-619.

Tenenbaum, S. (2005), “Friendship and the Law of Reason. Baier and Kant on Love and Principles”, Persons and Passions. Essays in Honor of Annette Baier, Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, pp. 250-281.


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Kant’s Analogy between the Moral Law and the Law of Nature


MANJA KISNER*


Ludwig-Maximilian University, Germany


Abstract


In the Groundwork Kant refers to the analogy between the moral law and the law of nature when clarifying the concept of the categorical imperative. However, in the Groundwork itself, he does not give any further explanation as to why he introduces the analogy. Therefore, I take the Groundwork as a starting point of my article, but then I explicate on the analogy from a broader perspective, focusing especially on his lecture courses Moral Mrongovius II and Naturrecht Feyerabend as well as on his Typic chapter of the second Critique.


Keywords


Kant, moral law, law of nature, analogy


  1. Introduction

    In the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785), Kant’s first published work on moral philosophy from his critical period, Kant articulates the supreme principle of morality by calling it not only a universal law, but also a law of nature (GMS, 4: 421).1 Kant introduces the two formulas of the categorical imperative as follows:

    The Formula of the Universal Law: “[A]ct only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law [ein allgemeines Gesetz].” (GMS, 4: 421)

    The Formula of the Universal Law of Nature: “[A]ct as if the maxim of your action were to become by your will a universal law of nature [allgemeines Naturgesetz].” (GMS, 4: 421)



    * Dr. Manja Kisner, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, [email protected]

    1 Quotations from Kant’s works are cited by volume and page in Kants gesammelte Schriften (Kant 1900–). For translations I use – with occasional modifications – the English translations in The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant (Kant 1992–). In the paper, I use following abbreviations: Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten (GMS), Kritik der praktischen Vernunft (KpV), Moral Mrongovius II (V-Mo/Mron II), Naturrecht Feyerabend (V-NR/Feyerabend).



    [Recibido: 4 de marzo de 2019

    Aceptado: 6 de abril de 2019]


    Manja Kisner


    While the second formula is only a variation on the first, it includes a new element, namely, that of a law of nature. Kant gives a brief explanation as to why the first formulation can be converted into the second: since the universality of a law refers to his notion of “nature in the most general sense [Natur im allgemeinsten Verstande] (as regards its form)” (GMS, 4: 421), the supreme principle of morality is formally a universal law of nature.

    This is not the only passage in the Groundwork where Kant mentions the laws of nature when speaking about the moral law. In a later passage he declares that moral imperatives have a lawfulness (Gesetzmäßigkeit) similar to that of the natural order (GMS, 4: 431). Accordingly, Kant assumes an essential similarity between their respective laws. Moreover, he extends this similarity to the spheres of morality and nature as such by conceiving of the kingdom of ends as analogous to the kingdom of nature:


    A kingdom of ends is thus possible only by analogy with a kingdom of nature; the former, however, is possible only through maxims, that is, rules imposed upon oneself, the latter only through laws of externally necessitated efficient causes. Despite this, nature as a whole, even though it is regarded as a machine, is still given the name “a kingdom of nature” insofar as and because it has reference to rational beings as its ends. (GMS, 4: 438)


    As we can infer from these quotes the comparison between the moral law and the law of nature must represent something more than just a random association between two different types of law; Kant understands it as an analogical relation. On the one hand we have to distinguish between these two laws, but on the other hand we have to see them as being essentially similar (GMS, 4: 431). However, in the Groundwork, Kant does not give any further explanation as to how it is possible to refer to them as analogous at all; he just presents the analogy without a comprehensive justification. These passages are hardly of any help for a detailed interpretation of the analogy. Therefore, in my paper I will aim at explicating the analogy from a broader perspective.

    As we will see, it is not only the Groundwork which is important for interpreting the analogy but also his two lecture courses from the same period, namely the Moral Mrongovius II (1784/85) and the Naturrecht Feyerabend (1785).2 They are relevant since they give a fuller account of the various laws under consideration than do Kant’s published works from this period. They therefore provide a firmer basis for an inquiry into the diverse relations between the laws. Accordingly, in what follows I will first explicate Kant’s classification of the various laws in these two lecture courses and show how they shed light on the analogy between the moral law and the law of nature. Thereby, I will indicate how Kant’s use of this specific analogy concurs with his general definition of



    2 Lecture Moral Mrongovius II was delivered in winter term 1784/1785 (V-Mo/Mron II, 29: 596–642). Lecture Naturrecht Feyerabend was written on the basis of the lectures given in summer term 1784 (V- NR/Feyerabend, 27:1316–1394). For the improved printed version of the manuscript of the lecture Naturrecht Feyerabend, see Delfosse (2010, pp. 5-15).

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    analogy from the Prolegomena (1783). In this work, Kant describes analogy as a relation between two dissimilar things, which must, nonetheless, be perfectly similar in one aspect. This description also holds for the relation between the law of nature and the moral law.

    After that, I will relate Kant’s classification of the laws to his general definition of law-giving, which he articulates not only in his lectures but also in the Groundwork. Kant’s conception of law-giving (Gesetzgebung) is composed of two principles: an objective principle, which enables him to identify laws as laws, and a subjective principle, which enables him to differentiate between different kinds of laws. As I will demonstrate, this twofold notion of law-giving is also helpful for interpreting the analogy between the moral law and the law of nature. Through this comparison, we can explain why Kant understands the relation between the moral law and the law of nature as an analogical relation. However, this does not explain why Kant refers to analogy in the first place when defining the moral law. The answer to this second question we can find, I argue, in the Typic chapter of his second Critique, where Kant defines the law of nature as the type of the moral law.

    Interpretations of the Typic chapter are still scarce in the literature on Kant. Although we can find some older studies on the chapter, they are not very detailed or comprehensive.3 It is only in the last few years that the Typic chapter has started to gain some attention. In 2015 Stephan Zimmermann published a paper on the chapter, in which he discusses the role of practical judgment, but he refers only briefly to the analogy.4 In 2016 the first book on this chapter was published: Adam Westra’s The Typic in Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason.5

    Westra’s main claim is that Kant’s notion of the law of nature as the type of the moral law functions as a third thing or as a non-sensible representation. In doing this, Westra pleads for a tripartite interpretation of the procedure through which the moral law makes use of the law of nature. In opposition to Westra, however, I argue that for explaining the Typic chapter it suffices to stick to the dual structure of law-giving. On my interpretation, we have to understand the concept of practical judgment in the chapter as an analogical judgment. Hence, the analogy is crucial to the process of representing the moral law, and it is crucial for understanding the sense in which Kant sees the moral appraisal of actions as possible.

    In section 2, I begin by explicating Kant’s classification of the various laws from his lectures, and in this way I provide the background necessary for an analysis of the analogy. In section 3, I then introduce Kant’s general definition of law-giving, as it is found both in the Groundwork and in the lecture Moral Mrongovius II, and I show why


    3 Until recently there were almost no studies dealing with the Typic chapter extensively. For the current state of research on the Typic chapter and the list of older studies, see Westra (2016, p. 4). I agree with Westra that older studies deal with the Typic chapter and with the analogy only superficially. Therefore, in this paper I will primarily refer to Westra’s comprehensive interpretation.

    4 Zimmermann (2015, pp. 430–460).

    5 Westra (2016). But despite this increased interest for the Typic chapter, this part of the second Critique is still very often ignored. Another exception is Konstantin Pollok’s book Kant's Theory of Normativity (2017), in which he mentions the Typic chapter and also suggests that the type of a law represents a unifying idea of Kant’s entire critical system. See Pollok (2017, p. 306).

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    this definition is relevant to an understanding his analogy. In section 4, I finally inquire into the role of the analogy for interpreting the Typic chapter and offer an explanation as to why the analogy is useful for Kant. In this way I hope to clarify the meaning of the analogy for Kant’s moral philosophy.


  2. Kant’s classification of laws

    In order to clarify why Kant is entitled to refer to the law of nature as analogous to the moral law, it is helpful first to look at his classification of the various laws.6 Different laws must on the one hand have common elements, but on the other hand they must have certain distinguishing elements. These connecting and distinguishing elements are, as I will show, of relevance for the analogy between the moral law and the law of nature.

    Kant presents his classification of the laws especially comprehensively in his lectures Naturrecht Feyerabend and Moral Mrongovius II.7 Here he not only distinguishes between the laws of nature and moral or practical laws, but he also distinguishes between moral and juridical laws.8 These two lectures are very important in this regard, since Kant will not return to a discussion of juridical laws in his published writings until the Metaphysics of Morals in 1797.9 The lectures show that Kant was aware of the importance of juridical laws from much earlier on.10 For the purposes of my analysis, however, a detailed inquiry into the particular laws will not be necessary. Instead, I will primarily look into the reasons for Kant’s classification of the laws. There are two distinctions we have to consider: first Kant distinguishes between the laws of freedom and the laws of nature, and second, with regard to the laws of freedom, between moral and juridical laws.


    6 Eric Watkins discusses the classification of the various kinds of laws in his paper “Kant on the Unity and Diversity of Laws”. See Watkins (2017).

    7 For the interpretation of these two lectures, see Hirsch (2012). Hirsch compares these two lectures with

    Kant’s late Metaphysics of Morals. Zöller (2015) on the other hand compares the lecture Naturrecht Feyerabend with Kant’s Groundwork.

    8 Although Kant does not use the expression juridical laws in the Naturrecht Feyerabend explicitly, he here nonetheless operates with particular laws, which belong to the sphere of right. Kant speaks for instance about the coercive law as a principle of right: “An action is right if it agrees with the law, just if it agrees with the laws of coercion, i.e. agrees with the doctrines of right. In general one calls something right that which that agrees with a rule. (…) The agreement of private freedom with universal freedom is the supreme principle of right, it is a law of coercion” (V-NR/Feyerabend, 27: 1328). In Moral Mrongovius II he then directly uses the expressions the laws of right (Rechts Gesetze) and the juridical laws (Juridische Gesetze): “Pragmatic imperatives are merely counsels; moral imperatives either motiva, rules of virtue, or leges, juridical laws [Rechts Gesetze]” (V-Mo/Mron II, 29: 620). Here Kant uses the expression the laws of right. In a further quote he uses the expression of the juridical laws: “Juridical laws [Juridische Gesetze] are really just duties of omission” (V-Mo/Mron II, 29: 632).

    9 Nevertheless, Kant was dealing with juridical laws already in his pre-critical writings, see Ritter (1971) and Busch (1979).

    10 The juridical terminology also influenced the development of Kant’s moral philosophy. See Zöller (2015,

    p. 349): “In Kant there is to be found an outright juridification of ethics, by means of which concepts and categories that are properly and originally grounded in the sphere of juridical law (or legal right) are carried over into ethics, and especially into the latter’s foundation. The point of Kant’s articulation of ethical conceptions in juridical terms is not to turn ethics into juridical law, as though the external, constraint-based character of juridical law were to be carried over into ethical matters. Rather than involving doctrinal content, the juridicoethical transfer undertaken by Kant is concerned with and limited to basic methodological concepts that are imported, mutatis mutandis, from ius into ethic.”

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    As to the first distinction, Kant establishes in this way the opposition between a practical and a theoretical domain. In his lecture Naturrecht Feyerabend Kant points out this difference by contrasting the will of nature with the will of human beings: whereas the will of nature is determined by the universal laws of nature, the will of men on the contrary is not determined by nature (V-NR/Feyerabend, 27: 1319). Therefore, the will of man needs an alternative law-giving, and it has to obey its own laws – the laws of freedom (V- NR/Feyerabend, 27: 1322). Humans are ends in themselves because of freedom. As a result, the distinction between laws of nature and freedom presents a necessary starting point. However, the primary focus of Kant’s lectures lies on the differences within the domain of freedom.

    With regard to the second distinction we have to differentiate between moral and juridical laws. Kant’s moral philosophy or ethics in the broad sense includes the sphere of right as well as the sphere of ethics in the narrow sense (V-Mo/Mron II, 29: 630). Each sphere has its distinct laws, but freedom is the common ground of both. Therefore juridical laws are also grounded in freedom (V-Mo/Mron II, 29: 618).11

    Given these two divisions, it is possible to further substantiate the differences between the laws. In the lectures, Kant points to two elements in every division: the first element acknowledges all different laws as laws, the second element enables the division between the various laws.

    The first element that Kant recognizes as a common and necessary element of every law is universal lawfulness: “All actions, after all, are subject to the principle of lawfulness” (V-NR/Feyerabend, 27: 1330). This lawfulness describes the form of the law. In this way, not only events of nature, but also human actions are subordinated to the principle of lawfulness (V-NR/Feyerabend, 27: 1326). Additionally, respect for the law is, for Kant, a consequence of respect for the lawfulness of the law (V-NR/Feyerabend, 27:


    11 The question regarding the dependency of juridical laws (and not only moral laws) on the notion of freedom is important for the discussion about Kant’s late Metaphysics of Morals. Whereas the connection between freedom and juridical laws is clear in Kant’s lectures, the interpretations in regard to the Metaphysics of Morals are divided in Kant-scholarship; roughly we can find at least two opposing suggestions for interpreting the relation between ethical and juridical laws (for earlier discussions on the same topic, see Hirsch 2012, p. 39):

    1.) Some interpreters read Kant’s Doctrine of Right as independent of his supreme principle of morality introduced in his Groundwork or in the second Critique. Wood (2002, p. 7) is convinced that the universal principle of right – “Any action is right if it can coexist with everyone’s freedom in accordance with a universal law, or if on its maxim the freedom of choice of each can coexist with everyone’s freedom in accordance with a universal law” (MS, 6:230f) – is not derived from Kant’s moral imperative. Wood grounds his argument in the fact that Kant takes the concept of right to be an analytic and not a synthetic statement, whereas the moral law in the Groundwork was understood as a synthetic judgment a priori. The analytic principle of right hence does not need to be derived from the moral principle. A similar interpretation about the independence of the principle of right and therefore of juridical laws has also Willaschek (2002, pp. 65- 87).

    2.) Guyer (2002, p. 26) on the other hand thinks that Kant’s notion of right is dependent on and arises out of Kant’s notion of the moral law. It is the law of freedom that precedes the principle of right. For that reason Guyer thinks that Kant’s principle of right has to be grounded on Kant’s notion of freedom and that the analyticity of the principle of right is of no obstacle.

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    1330). 12 Consequently, lawfulness, as the form of the law, provides no basis for distinguishing between laws; on the contrary it provides the common denominator of all laws.13

    In order to distinguish between various laws other elements must be taken into consideration. The first element invoked by Kant in his lectures to distinguish between the laws of nature and the laws of freedom is more or less presupposed; it is not really derived or demonstrated. Therefore, we have to refer to the first Critique where the distinction is derived more rigorously. In the first Critique Kant recognizes the difference between the laws of nature and the laws of freedom as a result of different objects of legislation (KrV, A840/B 868). The laws of nature legislate in the domain of nature and laws of freedom legislate for the acts of freedom, and they are consequently self-legislating. Thus, the laws of nature and freedom are different because they refer to the objects of nature and to the objects of freedom respectively.

    However, for purposes of the lectures, the second distinction is much more important – that between moral and juridical laws. This distinction is made on the basis of the accompanying incentives (Triebfeder; V-NR/Feyerabend, 27: 1326). More precisely, it is made on the basis of whether or not the incentive is relevant to the rightfulness of the action:

    Ethic is the science of judging and determining an action in accordance with its morality. Jus is the science of judging an action in accordance with its legality. Ethic is also called the doctrine of virtue. Jus can also concern actions that can be coerced. For it is all the same whether the actions are done out of respect, fear, coercion, or inclination. Ethic is not concerned with actions that can be coerced; ethic is practical philosophy of action regarding dispositions. Jus is the practical philosophy of actions regardless of dispositions. (V-NR/Feyerabend, 27: 1327)


    In ethics it is important to define which incentives influence actions, since only respect for the law is allowed as an incentive. For a legal action, on the contrary, it is irrelevant which incentives determine my will. Even coercion or constraint are acceptable determining grounds. An action is legal when it is in agreement with the law, but we can follow the law out of motivations other than respect for the law itself; additional incentives are hence not decisive. Ethical actions on the contrary do not allow incentives such as fear or pleasure. Respect for the law itself is the only acceptable incentive.14 Hence, only when we ask about the relation between the law and incentives, can we distinguish between moral and juridical laws.


    12 Unlike the theories of natural law, which in his view did not yet point out the concept of lawfulness explicitly, Kant in his lectures fully recognizes the special importance of the notion of lawfulness (V- NR/Feyerabend, 27: 1331).

    13 Watkins (2014, p. 474) points out that a univocal concept of a law underlies both the laws of nature and the laws of freedom.

    14 In this context Kant distinguishes between outer and inner freedom. Outer incentives of legal actions correspond with outer freedom, the law as the solely acceptable incentive in the moral domain by contrast corresponds with inner freedom and thus with moral laws (V-Mo/Mron II, 29: 630).

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    Now, why is this classification of laws relevant for understanding Kant’s analogy between the moral law and the law of nature? In line with Kant’s classification, the laws of nature and moral laws must correspond in one element, but differ in another. Since lawfulness is for Kant a necessary element of all laws, it must be common to both moral laws and laws of nature.15 Lawfulness therefore provides the common element grounding the analogy between the two kinds of law.

    However, the analogy also requires that the laws differ in some respect. As we have seen, the laws differ as a consequence of their differing objects of legislation; moral laws refer to the objects of freedom and the laws of nature refer to the objects of nature. In moral laws, sensible incentives cannot function as the determining ground of a subject; only lawfulness itself can serve as such a ground. Moral laws cannot have any reference to incentives other than the law itself. Therefore they can have no reference to sensibility or the objects of nature whatsoever. Laws of nature, by contrast, are not only formal laws, since they get their content from sensible intuition. Therefore, there are insurmountable differences between moral laws and the laws of nature.

    So, at this point, we can conclude that the proper explication of Kant’s analogy must be able to account for both common as well as distinguishing elements. As a result, the analogy between moral law and the laws of nature is not a random comparison between entirely different things, which have nothing in common. Instead, both laws are, necessarily similar and in at least one aspect. But, since the analogical relation is not that of identity, Kant must also take into account the differences between the laws.

    This interpretation of the analogy, which I have developed on the basis of Kant’s lectures, is confirmed in Kant’s Prolegomena, where he offers his general definition of analogy. There Kant writes that an analogy needs two elements: the two things we want to compare must be perfectly similar in one aspect, but totally different in another aspect; as a result, the analogy does not represent “an imperfect similarity between two things, but rather a perfect similarity between two relations in wholly dissimilar things” (Prol, 4: 357). As I have shown, we come to this conclusion also on the basis of Kant’s classification of laws. The moral law and the law of nature are perfectly similar with regard to their lawfulness, but they are nevertheless two different laws. When we ask why the analogy between moral law and the law of nature is possible for Kant at all, we can answer that this is due to his specific understanding of the nature of the laws and his way of classifying them.


  3. Kant’s twofold notion of law-giving


    15 Watkins defines this common element as a “necessary rule”. See Watkins (2017, p. 15): “I suggest that Kant operates with a univocal concept of law that contains two crucial elements. First, the concept of law requires a necessary rule, where it is the element of necessity that constitutes its distinctive component. It is clear, for example, that both the moral law and the a priori laws of nature are necessary, since the validity of the moral law is in no way contingent (even if it is contingent whether we act in accordance with it) and a priori laws of nature carry with them both strict universality and necessity, given that they are a priori and Kant understands universality and necessity as criteria of a priority.”

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    Now, I will further specify the distinction between the laws in general, and hence also the particular distinction between moral laws and the laws of nature on the basis of Kant’s twofold conception of law-giving. Kant outlines his notion of law-giving, which consists of an objective and a subjective principle, in his lecture course Moral Mrongovius II as well as in the Groundwork.16 These two principles are in my view crucial for further justifying why it is appropriate to refer to the relation between the moral law and the law of nature as an analogy. I take these two quotes as a starting point for my discussion:


    What, then, is the basis of morality (Sittlichkeit)? This question has been investigated in the modern age. The principle of morality, or the logical principle, is that from which all moral laws may be derived. It is either subjective, if I show from what power of the soul I adjudge morality, or it is objective. […] So from what power does the principle come, and how does it run? The objective principle is: Act so that you can will that the maxims of your actions might become a universal law. It is the normal principle (Normal Princip). The subjective or pragmatic principle consists in the direction of this principle. (V-Mo/Mron II, 29: 621)

    The ground of all practical lawgiving lies (in accordance with the first principle) objectively in the rule and the form of universality which makes it fit to be a law (possibly a law of nature); subjectively, however, it lies in the end; but the subject of all ends is every rational being as an end in itself (in accordance with the second principle). (GMS, 4: 431)


    In the first quote Kant distinguishes between the objective and the subjective principle of morality, but he does not use the word ‘law-giving’. In the second quote he explicitly defines both principles as two elements of practical law-giving. Although these passages refer to the practical law-giving, I maintain that the twofold structure of the law-giving can be extended also to theoretical law-giving, as I will show later.

    The description of the objective principle in the first quote, this is in the lecture Moral Mrongovius II, is very similar to the description in the second quote from the Groundwork. In the first quote the objective principle describes the first formulation of the categorical imperative which we also know from the Groundwork. In the lecture, Kant calls it a normal principle (Normal Princip). In both quotes the objective principle expresses the universality of a law, but in the second quote, additionally, also the law of nature is mentioned. Besides this, in the Groundwork Kant says that the ground of the laws, taken objectively, lies in rule and in the form of universality. As we saw in the



    16 Later, in the Metaphysics of Morals we also find a twofold definition of law-giving, but for my purpose of interpreting the analogy in the Typic chapter it will suffice to refer only to his earlier definitions of law- giving. But we can see that his twofold notion of law-giving remains relevant for Kant until the end: “In all lawgiving (whether it prescribes internal or external actions, and whether it prescribes them a priori by reason alone or by the choice of another) there are two elements: first, a law, which represents an action that is to be done as objectively necessary, that is, which makes the action a duty; and second, an incentive, which connects a ground for determining choice to this action subjectively with the representation of the law. Hence the second element is this: that the law makes duty the incentive” (MS, 6: 218).

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    previous section, the form of the universality corresponds to Kant’s notion of lawfulness. This means that the objective principle emphasizes the lawfulness of the laws.

    I thus take the objective principle of morality to be the first element of Kant’s notion of the practical law-giving. But this objective principle – expressing the form of universality, this is lawfulness – applies also to the theoretical law-giving as we can see in the second quote from the Groundwork, where Kant also refers to the law of nature. This confirms my thesis from the section 2 that the common element of all the laws, be it a moral, or a juridical law, or a law of nature, lies in the form of the law, which is conceived as the lawfulness. From a merely objective perspective, we cannot distinguish between laws of freedom and laws of nature: all laws are the same in this regard.

    The second principle of the law-giving is more difficult to extrapolate. Nonetheless, I hold that the subjective principle is responsible for the division between the laws. In the first quote Kant writes that the subjective principle directs the objective principle and that it is a product of the power of the soul from which we can adjudge morality. From the quote we can derive that the subjective principle pertains to the faculties of the subject, or the lawgiver. The second quote confirms this interpretation, since Kant refers explicitly to the subject as an end in itself.

    In the previous section, I pointed to the role of incentives to explain the differences between the laws of freedom. Here, we can further specify these distinguishing elements and relate incentives to the subjective principle of practical law-giving, since incentives have an effect on the subject and determine the will. In doing so, we see that the subjective principle cannot be directly identified with incentives, but it describes the relation between the law and the subject and this relation can be impinged due to incentives. The distinction between moral and juridical laws, which is very important for Kant in his lectures, is in this sense a consequence of the influence that the incentives exert on the subject.

    For this reason, I propose that we interpret the subjective principle of the law- giving as a relational principle, which shows when the subject indeed follows the objective principle. Only when this is really the case, the moral law determines the will; but it is also possible that some other sensible incentives determine the will. In this case, we cannot speak about the moral law as the determining ground of the will, but it might be a juridical law that determines our actions. Therefore, Kant refers to the subjective principle in order to emphasize the particular differences in the executive powers of the laws with regard to their necessity (or lack thereof).17 As a consequence, in the domain of the practical, the reference to the subjective principle explains why we are able to distinguish between different laws. Objectively and formally all laws are the same, but we can differentiate between them subjectively.

    So far, I have described the subjective principle on the basis of Kant’s account of practical law-giving. But I think that we can also apply this distinction between the objective and subjective principle to theoretical law-giving and to the laws of nature.18 For


    17 Similarly, also Watkins emphasizes different kinds of necessities. See Watkins (2017, p. 16-18).

    18 Watkins (2014, p. 474) speaks about the univocal concept of the laws underlying the practical and theoretical spheres: “I maintain that Kant pursues a different and, to my mind, more interesting option by

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    Kant, it is reason that in each case prescribes laws, hence also the laws of nature. In practical law-giving, pure practical reason is the lawgiver and in theoretical law-giving (in natural sciences) it is the understanding.19 Hence, Kant’s distinction between necessity and necessitation is crucial for explaining the difference between practical and theoretical law- giving: “Necessity and necessitation (Nötigung) are different: the former is objective necessity. Necessitation is the relation of a law to an imperfect will. In man, the objective necessity of acting in accordance with the moral laws is necessitation” (V-Mo/Mron II, 29: 611). As Kant explains, we humans have only an imperfect will and hence it is for us possible to disobey the moral law. In the case of the laws of nature, or the hypothetical perfect will, by contrast, every act is necessary. Therefore, the difference between practical and theoretical law-giving is again due to the subject as a lawgiver and its executive powers. This subjective aspect is hence unique to each particular kind of law, but the universal form of the law is the same for all the laws.

    Not only for perfect wills, but also for the laws of nature, strict necessity is stringent; perfect wills as well as the laws of nature fully follow the objective principle. For imperfect human wills by contrast, only necessitation is required, since it is possible not to follow the objective principle. Therefore, the difference between necessity and necessitation also points to a difference between laws of freedom and nature, and this difference corresponds to the difference in subjective principles. Differences between the laws cannot be explained on the basis of the objective principle, but only on the basis of the relation between the subject and its objective principle. One further consequence of this is that in the case of the theoretical understanding the object of its legislation is different than in the practical sphere. In the former case, the faculty of understanding as a lawgiver determines the objects of nature. In the latter case, the practical reason as a lawgiver determines the objects of freedom.


    articulating a concept of law that has a genuinely univocal meaning at its core, but one that can be instantiated in different ways in the theoretical and practical contexts of laws of nature and the natural or moral law. Specifically, the core meaning of law that is univocal between laws of nature and the moral law contains two elements. First, the concept of law requires an objective or necessary rule, where it is the element of necessity that constitutes its distinctive component. Second, a law can be valid only if a proper authority has prescribed it to a particular domain through an appropriate act. This core meaning of law is then instantiated in somewhat different ways in the different cases of laws of nature and the moral law. While Kant insists on every law being the result of a spontaneous legislative act (of either the understanding or reason), the notion of necessity takes on different forms in each case, since the laws of nature involve determination, while the moral law can give rise to obligation.”

    19 The conviction that laws presuppose a lawgiver was still a ruling conception in Newton’s times. For critical Kant however the lawgiver is not god, but understanding and reason. Cf. Massimi (2014). See also Watkins (2014, p. 485): “It is striking in this context that it is Kant’s characterization of the understanding as an a priori faculty of rules that allows him to hold the understanding responsible not for the empirical content of the laws of nature, but rather for their lawfulness. That is, by actively employing rules that are general, a priori, and constitutive of the possibility of experience, the understanding has the authority to determine that nature must be rule-governed; it gives rise to the lawfulness of nature, or the necessary conformity of nature to law (see Prol, AA 04: 296). Thus, though the empirical content of empirical laws derives from the empirical natures of the objects that are found in nature, Kant makes it clear that the content of the a priori laws, which is just the lawfulness of these laws (including their universality and necessity), derives from the understanding, since the understanding is an active faculty that is able to prescribe, or legislate, lawfulness to nature a priori.”

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    As a result of this, we see that Kant’s twofold notion of law-giving provides further justification of the division between the laws and hence also of the analogy between the moral law and the law of nature. On the one hand both moral law and the law of nature are objectively and formally the same and bound to the notion of universal lawfulness. In regard to the subjective principle, on the other hand, we can distinguish between them. In this way Kant’s twofold notion of law-giving accounts for the common source of all kinds of laws as well as for their distinguishing features, and this again verifies my understanding of the analogy between moral law and the law of nature.

    The objective principle I take as a starting point of the analogy. But since the analogical relation is not that of identity, but of similarity, the differences between the laws are equally important. Therefore, I relate the subjective principle of law-giving to Kant’s second element of the analogy. In this way my explication of the analogy again accords with Kant’s definition from the Prolegomena, mentioned in the previous section. In the Prolegomena Kant also gives a concrete example for his definition of the analogy:


    Such is an analogy between the legal relation of human actions and the mechanical relation of moving forces: I can never do anything to another without giving him a right to do the same to me under the same conditions; just as a body cannot act on another body with its motive force without thereby causing the other body to react just as much on it. Right and motive force are here completely dissimilar things, but in their relation there is nonetheless complete similarity. (Prol, 4: 358)


    Here Kant exemplifies the analogy on the basis of the relation between human actions and the mechanical relation of moving forces. This example is very similar to our analogy between the law of nature and the moral law, since legal relations of human actions belong to the laws of freedom, and mechanical relations to the laws of nature. Therefore, the moral law and the law of nature are according to this example wholly dissimilar, but also perfectly similar. Therefore, on the basis of Kant’s twofold notion of law-giving we can further specify how Kant is justified in determining the relation between moral law and the law of nature as essentially analogical.


  4. Analogy in the Typic chapter

    In the previous section, I have shown why the relation between the moral law and the law of nature can be described as analogical and why it corresponds to Kant’s general definition of analogy in the Prolegomena. In this section, I will now go one step further and examine why Kant refers to the law of nature when demonstrating the moral law and in what sense the analogy is useful for his moral philosophy. To do this, I will analyse the Typic chapter in the second Critique, where Kant points to the law of nature in the process of representing the moral law. This process he attributes to the faculty of practical judgment. I will argue that in the Typic chapter the relation between the moral law and the law of nature is indeed analogical and that consequently practical judgment should not be understood as a special kind of judgment, but rather as a judgment per analogy. In this


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    way, I will contend that the usefulness of the analogy for Kant’s moral philosophy is a consequence of the role it plays in practical judgment.

    In the first Critique, Kant describes the power of judgment as a faculty of subsuming under rules, this means as a faculty which can mediate between the abstract rule and the concrete cases falling under it. Following from this definition, practical judgment should be defined as a faculty that mediates between moral law as an abstract practical rule and the concrete cases of actions in the empirical world (KpV, 5: 67). However, as Kant maintains in the Typic chapter, such a mediation is an impossible task for practical judgment. Since the moral law is a supersensible idea of reason, it cannot refer to sensible intuition and accordingly no direct mediation between the moral law and concrete cases is possible.20 Nonetheless, there is another option left for Kant’s Typic chapter and practical judgment: not a subsumption of concrete cases under a law, but only an inquiry into the possibility of representing the moral law as such. For this purpose Kant refers – analogically – to the law of nature. Thus, the task of the practical judgment in the Typic chapter is a modest one: to represent the moral law with the help of the law of nature.

    This process of representing the moral law Kant first tries to describe through the concept of the schema of the law. In the first Critique, Kant introduced the notion, referring to a schema of sensible intuition which can, via the faculty of imagination, mediate between sensibility and the abstract law. But the Typic chapter, as Kant maintains, cannot deal “with the schema of a case in accordance with laws but with the schema of a law itself (if the word schema is appropriate here)” (KpV, 5: 69). Therefore, in the case of the Typic the schema can mediate only between the supersensible moral law and the law of nature. But as it seems, Kant is not fully satisfied with this new term ‘the schema of the law’ and in later passages he switches to the expression ‘the type’ for describing the process of representing the moral law.

    With the notion of the type Kant explicitly connects the moral law to the law of nature: the law of nature is a type for the moral law. In order to demonstrate in which sense the relation between the moral law and the law of nature can be recognized as analogy, it is therefore crucial to focus on the interpretation of the notion of the type. This will, in the end, indicate why this analogy is useful for Kant’s moral philosophy. Therefore, I argue that to properly understand his notion of the type, we have to interpret it as a part of his analogical procedure. There are two main passages which I take into consideration:


    Thus the moral law has no cognitive faculty other than the understanding (not the imagination) by means of which it can be applied to objects of nature, and what the understanding can put under an idea of reason is not a schema of sensibility but a law, such a law, however, as can be presented in concreto in objects of the senses and hence a law of nature, though only as regards its form; this law is what the understanding can put under an idea of reason on behalf of judgment, and we can, accordingly, call it the type of the moral law. (KpV, 5:69)


    20 Zimmermann (2015, p. 444) and Westra (2016, p. 42) agree on this point.

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    Hence it is also permitted to use the nature of the sensible world as the type of an intelligible nature, provided that I do not carry over into the latter intuitions and what depends upon them, but refer to this intelligible nature only the form of lawfulness in general (the concept of which occurs even in the most common use of reason, although it cannot be determinately cognized a priori for an purpose other than the pure practical use of reason). For to this extent laws as such are the same, no matter from what they derive their determining grounds. (KpV, 5:70)


    As Kant holds in the first quote, the moral law cannot make use of sensible intuition, and therefore it also cannot make use of the faculty of imagination and its schema. Moral law can through the faculty of understanding refer only to the law of nature, however not to the law of nature in general, but only to the form of the law. In the second quote, Kant then explicitly links the form of the law to the notion of lawfulness. The second quote is more general in that Kant here considers not only the law of nature, but sensible nature at large to function as a type for intelligible nature.21 However, he again refers only to the form of sensible nature, hence to the lawfulness of nature.

    On the basis of these passages, I propose that we interpret Kant’s notion of the type in light of Kant’s twofold notion of law-giving and his definition of analogy.22 First, Kant’s notion of the type can be correlated with the objective principle of law-giving. In the previous section, I identified the notion of lawfulness and the form of the law with Kant’s objective principle. With respect to the objective principle, laws of nature and moral laws are the same. Kant is very clear on this point in the Typic chapter: “For to this extent laws as such are the same, no matter from what they derive their determining grounds” (KpV, 5: 70). Seen in this way, the law of nature can function as the type of the moral law, because formally the laws are the same and the type of the law refers to their universal form. Hence both the moral law and the law of nature have a non-sensible nature and origin.

    The starting point of Kant’s analogical procedure thus lies in this common aspect of the laws. The type of the law cannot be understood as a sensible image, but only as an abstract feature of the laws. But the reference to the type does not, in my view, constitute the analogy as a whole, but applies only to the first element of the analogy. The second element of the analogy is clearly pointed out by Kant in the first quote, where he refers to a law that “can be presented in concreto in objects of the senses and hence a law of nature” (KpV, 5: 69). Here, we can clearly see that although the connecting point between the laws is the form, the special worth of the law of nature, however, comes from its ability to be presented in concreto. Kant refers to the law of nature when speaking about the moral law, because of this second distinguishing element, which is indispensable for the analogy as a whole.

    The usefulness of the analogy for Kant’s moral philosophy is a result of the differences between the laws. In the Typic chapter this becomes especially clear. The law


    21 These two examples are not totally identical and therefore Westra (2016, pp. 59–74) distinguishes between two kinds of type: type 1 and type 2.

    22 Westra (2016, p. 204) agrees that the connection between moral law and the law of nature can be described

    as an analogy.

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    of nature can make use of sensible intuition, whereas the moral law cannot be presented in the objects of the senses. Because of this restriction on the site of the moral law, the moral law cannot have any proper representation, and therefore the moral law must get a representation via the analogy with the law of nature.

    In summary, we see that the representation of the moral law occurs in two steps: First, Kant recognizes the common element of the moral law and the law of nature and expresses it with his notion of the type. Second, the difference between both laws comes to expression because the law of nature is not merely a formal law, but also has a sensible representation and a schema of sensible intuition. Consequently, we can represent the moral law, which is per se non-sensible and non-representational, only through reference to the law of nature. So in the process of representing the moral law the practical judgment borrows via the analogy from the law of nature its material part which is missing in the moral law. Thus, we can conclude that the analogy in the Typic chapter is possible because the law of nature and the moral law are formally the same, but it is useful because of the differences between them. On the question of how it is possible for the practical judgment to represent the moral law we can therefore answer that it is possible through the analogy.

    In my reading, I differ from Adam Westra’s interpretation of the Typic chapter. He interprets the type of the law as a third thing – a notion he takes from Kant’s characterisation of the schema from the first Critique:


    Kant selects the law of nature as the type of the moral law in order to serve as a ‘third thing’ or ‘schema’ (in the broad sense) for mediating between the supersensible representation of the moral law and the sensible representations of actions – just as the third criterion requires.23 (Westra 2016, p. 61)


    Westra of course knows that the type in the Typic cannot function as a schema of sensible intuition. He nevertheless thinks that the type has to be understood as a third thing and as a representation, although not as sensible representation, but as an abstract nonsensible representation. To me it seems that Westra points to a tripartite structure of the typification: there is a moral law without any representation, then there is a form of a law of nature which functions as a type and as a nonsensible representation, and eventually there is a law of nature with sensible representation.

    However, on my view the problematic point of Westra’s interpretation is that in calling the type a third thing it is not clear that all the laws are formally the same and that on that background we cannot distinguish between them. As we have demonstrated, the


    23 Compare also Westra (2016, p. 51): “In the Typic chapter, accordingly, Kant cannot employ a ‘schema’ in the specific sense of the first Critique, but he can employ a ‘schema’ in the generic sense of a representation that would play a functional role in the practical heterogeneity problem analogous to the functional role played by the transcendental schema in the theoretical heterogeneity problem, namely a mediating representation [vermittelnde Vorstellung] or ‘third thing’ that enables subsumption between a general rule and particular cases despite their heterogeneity. But given the supersensible nature of the moral Ideas, the sought-after ‘schema’ must achieve a presentation without any direct temporalization or sensible rendering [Versinnlichung].”

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    moral law and the law of nature are the same with regard to their form. Accordingly, we cannot objectively distinguish between the moral law and the law of nature. The type describes just the elementary feature of lawfulness which both laws have in their own right. Therefore we cannot say that only the law of nature is a type. Every law has its type; in this respect, the laws of nature is in no sense special.

    Westra, by contrast, seems to differentiate between the abstract, non-sensible representation, which he ascribes to the law of nature as a type, and the moral law. As a result of this confusion, he sees in Kant’s notion of the type the essence of the analogy: “The form of the law of nature is analogically substituted for the supersensible moral law, as its type” (Westra 2016, p. 62; Cf. 14). Westra speaks also about “analogically transposing the pure form of nature’s lawfulness into intelligible sphere” (Westra 2016, p. 136). However, from my perspective this is not appropriate. In my view the first element of the analogy is not yet the whole analogy and in regard to the form of the law there can be no reference to substitution, since formally all the laws are the same. Substitution is possible just in regard to the second, differentiating element and only both elements together constitute the analogy.

    Hence, I think that the first two steps in Westra’s tripartite typification fall into one: as regards the form, the moral law and the law of nature are the same. Formally the law of nature does not have any special abstract, non-sensible representation which the moral law does not also have. Both laws differ just in regard to the last step, because the law of nature can make use of sensible intuition and the moral law cannot. Therefore, the usefulness and helpfulness of the analogy must be a result of the distinguishing features that the law of nature possesses. And this second element goes beyond what Kant describes with the form of the law. Since there is no way to distinguish between the form of the moral law and form of the law of nature, it is misleading when we name the type as a third thing or as a mediating representation. Instead, I think that the two aspects of the analogy already completely suffice for explaining the procedure through which Kant wants to represent the moral law.


  5. Conclusion

The result of my analysis of Kant’s analogy is double: First, I maintain that with the help of Kant’s twofold notion of law-giving we can adequately explain why Kant’s analogy between the moral law and the law of nature is possible. Objectively and formally all the laws are the same, but with regard to the executive powers of the lawgivers (which can be either our practical reason or theoretical understanding), we can explain the differences between various laws. Just insofar as the laws have on the one hand a common element, but on the other hand a differentiating element, can we speak about the analogy.

Second, we can determine the purpose of the analogy when we inquire into Kant’s notion of the law in the Typic chapter. Kant here looks for the possibilities of representing the moral law and for this reason he refers to the analogy between moral law and the law of nature. Therefore, the Typic chapter offers an explanation as to why this analogy is relevant for Kant’s moral philosophy. The usefulness of the analogy is not a consequence


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of the first common element of lawfulness, but is a consequence of the second, distinguishing element. Because we cannot represent the moral law as such, we have to refer to the law of nature for the representation. Both laws are objectively and formally the same, but their application is different. Therefore, in my opinion this shows why it is relevant to stick to the dual structure of law-giving when inquiring into the possibility of representing the moral law.

Finally, on the basis of my analysis I hold that Kant’s conception of practical judgment in the Typic chapter does not function as a special kind of judgment, alongside the theoretical judgment that Kant introduced in the first Critique. Instead, I think that practical judgment has in comparison to the theoretical judgment only one additional step: practical judgment has to refer to the analogy in order afterwards to be able to make use of the theoretical judgment. In this sense, I understand practical judgment as a judgment per analogy. Accordingly, Kant’s analogy is essential for his notion of practical judgment and is thus of special importance for understanding the Typic chapter as a whole.


References


Busch, W. (1979), Die Entstehung der kritischen Rechtsphilosophie Kants, De Gruyter, Berlin/New York.

Delfosse, H. et al. (2010), “Stellenindex und Konkordanz zum Naturrecht Feyerabend. Einleitung des Naturrechts Feyerabend. Forschungen und Materialien zur deutschen Aufklärung. Division III”. Indices”, in: Kant-Index. Section 2: Indices zum Kantschen Ethikcorpus. Vol. 30.1, Frommann-Holzboog, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt.

Guyer, P. (2002), “Kant’s Deductions of the Principles of Right”, in: Mark Timmons (ed.), Kant's Metaphysics of morals: Interpretative Essays, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 23–64.

Hirsch, P.A. (2012), Kants Einleitung in die Rechtslehre von 1784. Immanuel Kants Rechtsbegriff in der Moralvorlesung „Mrongovius II“ und der Naturrechtsvorlesung

„Feyerabend“ von 1784 sowie in der „Metaphysik der Sitten“ von 1797,

Universitätsverlag, Göttingen, Göttingen.

Massimi, M. (2014), “Prescribing laws to nature. Part I. Newton, the pre-Critical Kant, and three problems about the lawfulness of nature”, Kant-Studien, 105 (4), pp. 491–508.

Pollok, K. (2017), Kant's Theory of Normativity: The Space of Reason, Cambridge University Press, New York.

Ritter, C. (1971), Der Rechtsgedanke Kants nach den frühen Quellen, Vittorio Klostermann, Frankfurt am Main.

Watkins, E. (2017), “Kant on the Unity and Diversity of Laws”, in: Michela Massimi and Angela Breitenbach (eds.), Kant and the Laws of Nature, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 11-29.

Watkins, E. (2014), “What is, for Kant, a Law of Nature?”, Kant-Studien, 105 (4), pp. 471–

490.


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Westra, A. (2016), The Typic in Kant's Critique of Practical Reason: Moral Judgment and Symbolic Representation, De Gruyter, Berlin/Boston.

Willaschek, M. (2002), “Which Imperatives for Right”, in: Mark Timmons (ed.), Kant's Metaphysics of morals: Interpretative Essays, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 65–88. Wood, A. (2002), “The Final Form of Kant’s Practical Philosophy”, in: Mark Timmons (ed.), Kant's Metaphysics of morals: Interpretative Essays, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 1–22.

Zimmermann, S. (2015), “Wovon handelt Kants Typik der reinen praktischen Urteilskraft?”, Kant-Studien, 106 (3), pp. 430–460.

Zöller, Günter (2015), “Without hope and fear: Kant’s Naturrecht Feyerabend on Bindingness and Obligation”, in: Robert R. Clewis (ed.), Reading Kant’s Lectures, De Gruyter Berlin/Boston, pp. 346–361.


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The Reddish, Iron-Rust Color of the Native Americans Immanuel Kant’s Racism in Context


El color óxido rojizo de los nativos americanos El racismo de Immanuel Kant en contexto


JORIS VAN GORKOM*


Independent Researcher, Germany


Abstract


In this essay, I discuss Kant’s views on the “American race.” Robert Bernasconi has pointed out that more research on the sources of Kant’s ideas on non-white races is needed in order to have a better understanding of his racism. This essay responds to that call in order to show how Kant contributed to on-going discussions on the causes and meaning of human differences. However, I will also focus on his influence on his contemporaries. The reason for doing so is two-fold. Firstly, I will question Irene Tucker’s recent attempt to show that skin color was considered a racial sign because of its supposed self-evidence and immediate legibility. By way of a presentation of Kant’s views on the “American race,” I will show that race mixing formed the core of Kant’s racial theory and not the alleged immediacy of racial sight. Secondly, I will focus on his influence in order to question the popular idea that Kant had in his late work developed second thoughts on his racial hierarchy. His appraisal of the work of one of his contemporaries (Christoph Girtanner) clearly shows that the matter is far more complicated than suggested in these interpretations of Kant’s racial work.


Keywords


* Joris van Gorkom has published numerous articles on Immanuel Kant, Jacques Derrida, Jean-François Lyotard, Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, and Jean-Luc Nancy. At the moment, he is working on Kant's racial thinking and on the topic of evil. E-mail: [email protected]


[Recibido: 21 de diciembre de 2018

Aceptado: 21 de abril de 2019]

The Reddish, Iron-Rust Color of the Native Americans



Immanuel Kant, race, racism, Native Americans, skin color


Resumen


En este ensayo, discuto los puntos de vista de Kant sobre la “raza Americana”. Robert Bernasconi ha señalado que se necesita más investigación sobre las fuentes de las ideas de Kant sobre las razas no blancas para tener una mejor comprensión de su racismo. Este ensayo responde a ese llamado para mostrar cómo Kant contribuyó a las discusiones en curso sobre las causas y el significado de las diferencias humanas. Sin embargo, también me centraré en su influencia en sus contemporáneos. La razón para hacerlo es doble. En primer lugar, cuestionaré el reciente intento de Irene Tucker de mostrar que el color de la piel se consideraba un signo racial debido a su supuesta evidencia y legibilidad inmediata. A modo de presentación de los puntos de vista de Kant sobre la “raza americana”, mostraré que la mezcla racial formaba el núcleo de la teoría racial de Kant y no la supuesta inmediatez de la visión racial. En segundo lugar, me centraré en su influencia para cuestionar la idea popular que Kant tuvo en su último trabajo de desarrollar segundos pensamientos sobre su jerarquía racial. Su valoración de la obra de uno de sus contemporáneos (Christoph Girtanner) muestra claramente que el asunto es mucho más complicado de lo que se sugiere en estas interpretaciones de la obra racial de Kant.


Palabras clave


Immanuel Kant, raza, racismo, indígenas americanos, color de la piel


In The Moment of Racial Sight: A History, Irene Tucker wants to show how the concept of race works in organizing our ways of understanding differences between people. Her analysis of the history of “the moment of racial sight” attempts to demonstrate the relation between a racial sign that one can immediately recognize and the meaning that this sign is made to bear. She realizes very well that an analysis of this history cannot work without a reading of the work of Immanuel Kant, for he presented the first scientific definition of the concept of race and wanted to show that skin color was the racial characteristic par excellence. As Tucker correctly states: “Immanuel Kant has long been identified as the first prominent European thinker to single out skin color in this way.” In her attempt to position Kant in this history, she argues that the concept of race was meant to account for the immediacy and the self-evidence of the legibility of skin color as a racial sign: “Kant's racial skin [...] turns likeness from an idea that must be discovered over time to something legible instantly; the mutually constitutive relation between Kantian race and the nascent discourse of modern anatomical medicine makes apparent how such instantaneousness might be useful in organizing the ways in which subjects see other people’s bodies and their own” (Tucker 2012, p. 7).


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In this essay, I will discuss Tucker’s view by way of an exposition of Kant’s views on the “American race.” She correctly notes that, in Kant’s view, nature had wisely arranged the possibility of developing racial traits, so that humans were able to live in all climates. Kant wanted to remind his contemporaries of the methodological necessity of clearly defining concepts that guide the inquiry of nature. This conceptual analysis was needed before the empirical data was gathered and analyzed. Kant introduced the concept of race as an a priori conceptual tool for the understanding of human differences: organic nature first of all had to be perceived with regard to the laws of heredity. He attempted to make his concept of race more plausible to others, but this also implied that he had to combine mechanical laws of nature with teleology. Much effort has already been put underscoring Kant’s essays on race for his teleology (McFarland 1970, 56-68; Zammito 1992, p. 199-213). The natural history of mankind should aim to provide a systematic view of the diversity observed in nature. However, I will limit myself primarily to Kant’s views on Native Americans, as his wavering ideas on their position in his scheme of racial types show how skin color was not associated with immediacy. Contrary to Tucker, I want to show that Kant’s main concern in his discussion on race was not the instantaneous legibility of skin color but race mixing.

I will also use this opportunity to respond to the call of Robert Bernasconi when he pointed out that the “sources from which Kant drew his portraits of Native American and Blacks need to be studied more rigorously” (Bernasconi 2002, p. 148). Kant’s ideas on the different skin colors were meant to explain the inferiority of non-white races. I will show which sources he used to ground his racism. Kant’s interest in different scientific domains is well known, but his work on races gives us the opportunity to uncover influences on Kant that have often been ignored. However, I will not limit myself to these sources but also pay attention to Kant’s own influence on some of his contemporaries. This reveals much about the reasons for the growing interest in race and natural history in the final decade of the eighteenth century. This allows us not only to again question Tucker’s history of racial sight but also an interpretation of Kant’s racial thinking that is becoming increasingly popular: Kant allegedly had in his late work second thoughts regarding his own views on non-white races (Kleingeld 2007; Kleingeld 2014; Cavallar 2015, p. 130; Flikschuh 2017, pp. 155-158). One recurring argument revolves around Kant’s appraisal of Girtanner in his Anthropologie in pragmatischer Hinsicht: “In Ansehung dieser kann ich mich auf das beziehen, was der Herr Geh. H. R. Girtanner davon in seinem Werk (meinen Grundsätzen gemäß) zur Erläuterung und Erweiterung schön und gründlich vorgetragen hat […]” [With regard to this subject I can refer to what Herr Privy Councilor Girtanner has presented so beautifully and thoroughly in explanation and further development in his work (in accordance with my principles)] (AA VII, p. 320; Kant 2007c, p. 415). Contemporary interpretations of Kant’s racial theory primarily limit themselves to Girtanner’s appropriation of the Kantian concepts of race and the underlying theory of inheritance (Sloan 1979, pp. 137-141; Lenoir 1980, pp. 96-99; Querner 1990; Zammito 2003, pp. 75-80; Bernasconi 2014, pp. 245-247). But those who argue that Kant had

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second thoughts in his late work often claim that Girtanner had not adopted Kant’s racial hierarchy. I will show that this misrepresents Girtanner’s interest in Kant.

I will begin this essay with Kant’s answer to the question of the origins of the American people. I will discuss the themes related to the Native Americans and see how Kant changed their status from an incipient degenerated race to an independent racial type. This will uncover the importance of race mixing to his racial ideas. Subsequently, we will focus on the scientific research that Kant used to support his wild speculations on the skin color of Native Americans. Thirdly, we will see that Kant’s discussion about the physiological aspects of the Native Americans is linked to his explanation of their inferiority. In conclusion, I want to pay attention to the ways in which Kant influenced the work of Christoph Girtanner and Ludwig Emil Cichorius in order to question Tucker’s main hypothesis and the idea that Kant had second thoughts on his racial hierarchy in his late work.

From the Hunnish to the American Race


Before Kant started to work on his newly invented definition of race, some thinkers had presented Native Americans as evidence of multiple divine creations. Isaac la Peyrére suggested that they already existed before the creation of Adam (La Peyrére 1655, p. 19). Also Henry Home, Lord Kames, did not believe that a migration could explain the populating of the New World, as the appearance of the aboriginal Americans differed from all other known peoples. He supposed, contrary to La Peyrére, that Native Americans were “planted in America by the hand of God later than the days of Moses,” so that “Adam and Eve might have been the first parents of mankind, i.e. of all who at that time existed, without being the first parents of the Americans” (Home 1774, p. 75). However, Kant refused to accept polygenesis. Instead, he followed Georges-Louis Leclerc Buffon’s suggestion that two organisms belong to the same species when they can have fertile offspring with one another (Huneman 2005). Buffon had indeed stated that “l’Asiatique, l’Européen, le Nègre produisent également avec l’Américain” [the Asiatic, the European, and the Negro also reproduce with the American] (Buffon 1766, pp. 312-313). Buffon suggested that this proved the origination of all human beings from the same stock. However, he also thought that climate influenced the colorization of the skin, thus accepting the possibility that black people turned white when they moved to Europe. Buffon’s defense of monogenesism implied that he had to explain their presence on the American continent: the “savages” from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico descended from Tatars (Buffon 1749, p. 515). Since Kant would later state that the Native Americans were of Mongolian origin, I note that Johann Eberhard Fischer had previously pointed out that the name of the Tatars was often erroneously used for Mongolians (Fischer 1768, p. 28).

However, Kant suggested in response to Buffon that the climate was not a productive cause of racial differences but merely an occasioning cause for the development of permanently inheritable racial traits. In order to comprehend the possibility of


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ineradicable traits, Kant stipulated that the original human stock possessed germs and predispositions before becoming an enduring race. These germs and predispositions were preformed, that is, these were given by nature. Environmental conditions had subsequently triggered the development of one of these germs. Once a germ for a specific racial constitution had been unfolded, the others were held back. This explained in Kant’s view the permanence and inheritability of racial characteristics. More importantly, he believed not only that race mixing proved the unity of a species but also which characteristics were in fact racial. The mixture of races inevitably results in characteristics that were midway between those of the parents.

In his 1775 essay on race, Kant distinguished four races: the white race, the “Negro”, the Hunnish (Mongolish or Kalmuckish), and the Hindustani race. However, this left him with the problem of the Native Americans. Kant concluded from their features – a beardless chin, black hair, thin lips, red-brown skin color, smaller build, short legs, and half-closed eyes – that they were a derivation of the Hunnish race. These features made them suitable for the cold climate of the northern parts of the New World: the blood needed less time to circulate when parts of the body were smaller, resulting in warmer blood. He subsequently noted that the inhabitants of Northwest America are “den Kalmucken ganz ähnlich” [quite similar to the Kalmucks] and “nach einigen neuen Nachrichten [...] wie wahre Kalmucken aussehen” [according to some recent reports [...] look like true Kalmucks] (Kant 1775, p. 433, 437; Kant 2013a, p. 48, 52).

Others had indeed observed similarities between Native Americans and Kalmucks. The German missionary David Cranz mentioned similarities between the Greenlanders and the “Kalmucks, Yakuts, Tungusi and Kamchadals” (Cranz 1765, p. 333). The theologian and geologist Anton Friedrich Büsching soon added that this observation would have gained credibility when Cranz had also pointed out that Kalmucks were originally the same people as the Mongolians, as the latter lived as far as the eastern seas, opposite of the North American coast (Büsching 1773, p. 72). Explorers who took part in the Second Kamchatka Expedition (1731-1742) had made similar observations. Gerhard Friedrich Müller reported that some inhabitants in Northwest America had “platte Nasen, wie die Calmucken” [flat noses like the Kalmucks] (Müller 1758, p. 219). Georg Wilhelm Steller suggested that Native Americans resembled the Itelmens and the Koryaks who originated from the Mongolians (Steller 1774, p. 246, 297; Gmelin 1748, p. 21). However, not everybody was convinced of this ancestry. The Dutch philosopher and geographer Cornelius de Pauw did not doubt Buffon’s suggestion that these inhabitants descended from Tatars. Yet, he demanded a more precise characterization. He immediately added that (despite many reports) the Native Americans were with regard to their ugliness incomparable to the Kalmucks. He suggested that differences between their hands, eyes, noses, and teeth made it impossible to conclude that the Native Americans originated from the latter. Instead, he followed the lead of the Scottish traveler John Bell who argued that they descended from the Tungusi (Bell 1763, p. 231; Pauw 1768, pp. 135-136).


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Since Kant was not willing to add more races to his list of four racial types, he had to show how the Kalmuckian origins accounted for the traits of the Native Americans. Consequently, Kant characterized the Native Americans as an incipient (angehende) race: they had “in dem Clima noch nicht lange gnug gewohnt [...] um den Charakter der Race desselben völlig anzunehmen” [not yet lived long enough in a specific climate to take on fully the character of the race]. Their ancestors allegedly migrated from Southwest or Central Asia to the cold regions of Northeast Asia and Northwest America. They had not yet been completely raced when their migration forced the germinal development to come to a standstill. Those who subsequently moved from northern parts of America to the south became a degenerated (ausgehende) race: they slowly lost some of the traits of the original Hunnish race. Thus, the Native Americans were actually “eine noch nicht völlig eingeartete oder halb ausgeartete hunnische Race” [a Hunnish race that is still not fully acclimated or half degenerated] (Kant 1775, p. 5; Kant 2013a, p. 48).

This was a clear reminder of Buffon’s theory of degeneration. The latter had argued that species diversify through the effects of food, climate, and heat. Susanne Zantop erroneously writes that “Buffon’s theory of degeneracy had related to the flora and fauna exclusively” (Zantop 1997, p. 227n). He, in fact, also discussed this in relation to the aboriginal Americans. Recent inquiries on the Bering Strait had revealed evidence of a possible route from the Old World to the American continent. Degenerative changes resulted in forms that were smaller, weaker, and less stable in their species as they moved to the New World. 1 Buffon’s ideas on the degeneration of the Native Americans presupposed a deviation from an original line that was stronger and healthier. Additionally, he argued that their character consisted merely of animal instincts. As a result of their cold temperament, they were weak, stupid, and lazy. However, Kant adjusted this view in an important way. According to Buffon (and de Pauw), degeneration could be reversed. Kant argued, on the contrary, that the described characteristics of the Native Americans were part of their race. These traits were permanently inheritable.

However, Kant did not need the theory of degeneration after an alteration of his list of four races: as of 1777, when he published a revised version of his first essay on race, the Native Americans took the place of the Mongolians as an independent racial type. Native Americans were still considered an incipient race, but he deleted all mention of a degenerated race. Later, we will see that Kant still held on to the idea of the American race as an incipient race in order to account for their inferiority. Consequently, the American people were no longer the result of degeneration (Ausartung) but a direct deviation (Abartung) of the original phylum. More importantly, he structured his new scheme of racial types on the basis of skin color: white, black, copper-red, olive-yellow. Kant had already mentioned in 1775 that the mixture of the Native American with the white yielded


1 De Pauw adopted these ideas in his description of the weakness, impotency, and inferiority of the Native Americans. The influence of de Pauw on Kant is discussed in: Gerbi 1973, p. 330; Zantop 1997, pp. 69-70; Zammito 2006, p. 52n.


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“the red mestizo” and that of a “Negro” with a Native American was called “the Kabugl (the Black Caribs).” He underscored that this proved “ihre Abkunft von ächten Racen” [their origin from genuine races] (Kant 1775, p. 11; Kant 2013a, pp. 53-54). However, in the 1777 version of his first essay on race, he relocated this passage from the section “Of the Immediate Causes of the Origin of these Different Races” to that on the “Division of the Human Species into its Different Races” (Kant 1777, p. 138; Kant 2013b, p. 63). This reveals the importance of race mixing for Kant. The mestizo and caboclo (Kabugl) no longer merely exemplified the results of race mixing but justified his new scheme of four racial types based on skin color. Thus, I cannot underwrite Tucker’s claim about the self- evidence and immediacy of skin color for Kant’s concept of race. Essential to Kant’s exposition on this concept is not this supposed immediacy but the possibility to observe the mixture of ineradicable traits in the offspring.

To understand the importance of race mixing, I want to return to the question why Kant changed his chart of racial types between 1775 and 1777. Erich Adickes suggested that Kant read in Peter Simon Pallas’s Sammlungen historischer Nachrichten über die mongolischen Völkerschaften (1776) that the mixture of Russians or Tatars with Kalmucks or Mongolians resulted in children with very beautiful faces (Pallas 1776, p. 99; Adickes 1925, p. 414). Many had emphasized the extraordinary ugliness of Kalmucks (Tavernier 1676, p. 330; Buffon 1749, p. 381; Winckelmann 1764, p. 146). This made an explanation of these beautiful faces problematic since Kant presupposed that children showed racial characteristics that were midway between those of the parents. However, more recently, Bernasconi indicated that the case was not settled for Kant, since the latter pointed out in his 1785 essay on race that Pallas had failed to mention possible Kalmuckish features that might have been inherited (Bernasconi 2012, p. 197). He immediately added: “Allein die mongolische Eigenthümlichkeit betrifft eigentlich die Gestalt, nicht die Farbe, von welcher allein die bisherige Erfahrung eine unausbleibliche Anartung als den Charakter einer Race gelehrt hat.” [But the Mongolian particularity actually concerns the shape and not the color; and only with respect to the latter has hitherto existing experience taught us the unfailing heredity as the character of race.] (AA VIII, p. 101; Kant 2007a, p. 154) Pallas gave him at least no reason to doubt the Kalmuckish origin of the Native Americans, since he also mentioned the resemblance of the Kalmuckish facial formation of the Buryats with the indigenous people of North America (Pallas 1776, p. 171). More importantly, Kant felt the need in his 1785 essay to focus more on skin color and less on facial formations. Thus, he returned to his division of races (Stammracen) that he presented in his courses on physical geography from 1770: “In dem warmen Clima ist der Europäer weiß, der Asiater Olivenfarbe, der Africaner schwarz und der Americaner kupferroth.” [In the warm climate, the European is white, the Asian olive-colored, the African black, and the American copper-red.]2 By the time he revised his first essay on race, Kant concluded that there was


2 Werner Stark has made the transcript available at http://kant.bbaw.de/base.htm/geo_hes.htm (accessed May 2019).

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enough empirical evidence linking his concept of race to skin color. But the underlying reason was not the self-evidence of skin color but the claim that only race mixing could reveal which traits were racial.

Subsequently, in 1785, Kant rejected the idea that the plucking of the beards by American Indians could bring about alterations in the generative powers. This was nothing more than a “ghost story or case of magic” (AA VIII, p. 96; Kant 2007a, pp. 150-151). In his first essay, he had written that their beardlessness was a racial trait, but the geographer Eberhard August Wilhelm Zimmermann had soon afterwards confronted him on this matter, because others had clearly pointed out that this feature was a result of the plucking of the hair (Zimmermann 1778, pp. 71-72). But Kant rejected the suggestion that racial characteristics could have been artificially generated. Nature preserved itself so that these modifications did not affect the species or races as such. Considering the vagueness regarding causes of characteristics that he had previously considered racial traits, Kant felt the need to limit his exposition on the concept of race to the trait about which there seemed to be consensus: skin color. Surprisingly, Tucker denies the importance of Kant’s first two essays on race by stating that these were written “during Kant’s pre-critical period.” This is obviously a misconception. But she is also mistaken when she claims that these essays do not “analyze skin as a particularly salient sign of racial difference” (Tucker 2012, p. 255n). As of 1777, skin color became the primary marker for his scheme of racial types.

The renewal of his scheme of racial types with the Americans as an independent race was, thus, a result of his greater emphasis on skin color. Also, Kant seemed to have had difficulties categorizing the skin color of the Mongolian race. He initially mentioned a “red-brown” skin color of the Kalmuckish race, but this color was commonly ascribed to the Native Americans (Blumenbach 1776, p. 79). More importantly, Pallas had written in 1771 that the Kalmickish skin color was “relatively white” (Pallas 1771, p. 308). The yellow-brown coloring of the skin of the children and men was, according to him, effectuated by the sun, since they were (partially) naked and often outside. The women were in contrast often very white. There is enough evidence that Kant read Pallas’s 1771 report: both noted that the Torguts and the Dzungarians were a mixture of Kalmucks with Tataric blood (Pallas 1771, p. 309). Thus, considering his fascination for skin color, Kant must also have noticed that Pallas reported about the white skin color of Kalmucks. This explains why we find in student notes of Kant’s course on physical geography that the Kalmucks actually belonged to the white race (Starke 1833, p. 353). We read in the student notes from the mid-1770s that he relinquished the idea of a Mongolian race when he remarked that Mongolians were in fact a variety of the white race.3

Fixed Air and a Reddish, Iron-Rust Skin Color


3 Werner Stark has made the transcript available at http://kant.bbaw.de/base.htm/geo_mes.htm (accessed May 2019).

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Kant also wanted to show what caused the specific skin color in order to demonstrate the possibility of combining the mechanical laws of nature with teleology. All non-white races were, according to Kant, confronted with a large amount of toxic gasses. Their lungs needed additional help with the removal of these gasses from the body. The skin color was for Kant a clear testimony that the skin was contributing to this process. The abilities of these races to remove certain kinds of air resulted from the development of a specific germ that was already present (albeit undeveloped) in the first human stock. It was, thus, a smart move of nature to give the original human beings all germs that were needed to survive in different climates. Before presenting his wild speculations on the causes of the different skin colors, Kant noted: “Das Zweckmäßige in einer Organisation ist doch der allgemeine Grund, woraus wir auf ursprünglich in die Natur eines Geschöpfs in dieser Absicht gelegte Zurüstung und, wenn dieser Zweck nur späterhin zu erreichen war, auf anerschaffene Keime schließen.” [The purposive character in an organization is surely the general reason for inferring a preparation that is originally placed in the nature of a creature with this intent, if this end could only be obtained later on.] (AA VIII, pp. 102-103; Kant 2007a,

156) Providence was wise enough to produce racial differences. With regard to the Native Americans, Kant argued that the “Luftsäure” [acidic air] in the cold regions effectuated their “röthliche Eisenrostfarbe” [reddish, iron-rust color]. Although Kant seemed to hesitate between 1775 and 1777 whether this skin color was a result of acidic air (Luftsäure) or saline acid (Salzsäure) (Adickes 1925, p. 421n), in 1785 he settled for his earliest hypothesis of acidic air.

In 1777, Kant wrote: “Man schreibt jetzt mit gutem Grunde die veschiedenen Farben der Gewächse dem durch unterschiedliche Säfte gefällten Eisen zu. Da alles Thierblut Eisen enthält, so hindert uns nichts die verschiedene Farbe dieser Menschenracen eben derselben Ursache beizumessen.” [We now, with good reason, ascribe the different colors of plants to the iron precipitated through different juices. There is also nothing to prevent us from attributing the different colors of the human races to exactly the same cause, since the blood of all animals contains iron.] (Kant 1777, p. 156; Kant 2013b, p. 63) Others had indeed discovered iron particles in plants when they managed to separate these with a magnet from the ashes. Consequently, the French physician and chemist Étienne François Geoffroy wanted to know whether these iron particles were already present in fresh and unburnt plants or a result of the combustion. Although Geoffroy concluded that iron was not detectable in the original plant, Louis Lemery maintained that all earth contained iron and that the roots of plants absorbed this. Iron would subsequently disseminate through them (Lemery 1706). The English natural philosopher Edward Delaval conjectured much later that “the colour of the intire (sic) vegetables arises also from the iron, so universally diffused throughout their substance in their growth” (Delaval 1765, p. 27).4 The analogy between animal blood and plants seemed


4 A German translation of Delaval’s book was available as of 1788 (Delaval 1788), but German extracts of Delavel’s findings had already circulated much earlier (Delaval 1766).


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legitimate to Kant because Nicolas Lemery had already discovered iron particles in animal blood (Lemery 1713). Kant’s natural history of mankind was, thus, still in need of its own Delaval who would be able to show that skin color was directly related to the effects of air on the iron particles in blood.

Kant thought that the copper-red skin color of the Native Americans was a result of the effects of great amounts of fixed air (carbon dioxide) on these iron particles. The Scottish physician Joseph Black had discovered in 1754 that animal respiration produced fixed air: exhaled air that went through limewater (a diluted solution of calcium hydroxide) resulted in a white precipitate of calcium carbonate. This discharge from the lungs must, therefore, be a cause of rendering common air unfit for respiration. However, one is still far from explaining a copper-red skin color. In the mid-1780s, Kant found another clue for his hypothesis in the work of the Italian chemist Felice Fontana: “Wenn der Abt Fontana in dem, was er gegen den Ritter Landriani behauptet, nämlich: daß die fixe Luft, die bei jedem Ausathmen aus der Lunge gestoßen wird, nicht aus der Atmosphäre niedergeschlagen, sondern aus dem Blute selbst gekommen ist, recht hat: so könnte wohl eine Menschenrace ein mit dieser Luftsäure überladenes Blut haben, welche die Lungen allein nicht fortschaffen könnten, und wozu die Hautgefäße noch die ihrige beitragen müßten (freilich nicht in Luftgestalt, sondern mit anderem ausgedünstetem Stoffe verbunden).” [If Abbot Fontana is right about what he maintains against the cavalier Landriani, namely that the fixed air which is discharged from the lungs in every exhaling did not precipitate from the atmosphere but rather comes out of the blood itself, then a human race could well have blood that is overloaded with this aerial acid, which the lungs alone could not remove and to which removal the vessels of the skin would still have to contribute their share (to be sure, not in the shape of air but combined with some other perspired material.] (AA VIII, pp. 103-104; Kant 2007a, p. 157)

The discussion between Felice Fontana and Marsilio Landriani to which Kant alluded was initiated when the Dutch botanist Jan Ingenhousz wrote in his celebrated Experiments on Vegetables: “Abbé Fontana found that an animal breathing-in either common or dephlogisticated air renders it unfit for respiration by communicating to it a considerable portion of fixed air, which is generated in our body, and thrown out by the lungs as excrementitious” (Ingenhousz 1779, p. xlvi). However, Landriani soon questioned Fontana’s claim about the ability of an organic body to generate fixed air (Landriani 1781,

p. 77),5 as Antoine Laurent Lavoisier had shown earlier that common air turned into fixed air when it was combined with phlogiston (Laviosier 1775). Thus, Landriani insisted that fixed air was created as soon as respired (phlogisticated) air came into contact with common (atmospheric) air. If fixed air was added by the body to the phlogisticated air in the lungs, then one would also expect an increase in the exhaled air. In his reply to Landriani, Fontana claimed that he did not recall having “detto, o scritto che l'aria fissa,


5 A partial, German translation of the text was published in: von Crell, 1783.


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che sorte dai polmoni, sia generata dentro del corpo, potendo essa trovarsi benissimo nei cibi, e nel chilo” [said, or written that the fixed air, which arises from the lungs, is generated inside the body, since it can very well be found in food and in the chyle] (Fontana 1782, p. 662).6 Animals exhaled a mixture of phlogisticated and fixed air. During his experiments with fixed air that came into contact with blood, Fontana not only noticed that blood (without being agitated) polluted the air but also that the quantity of fixed air had increased. Fontana speculated that food and chyle released the fixed air that these products could not maintain. Something similar was to be expected when blood reached the lungs: it would impart the fixed air into the lungs since the blood was not able to maintain it.

Kant suggested that this might support a theory on the causes of the specific skin color of the Americans. But he still had to show that those who moved to North America were in fact confronted with large quantities of fixed air. The ancestors of Native Americans allegedly lived in a climate that occasioned the development of the physiological ability to remove great quantities of this air from the blood. The descendants of the original humans who migrated from North Asia to the American continent crossed cold regions and this forced the development of germs that gave rise to their specific skin color. The American race needed a specific bodily constitution, because they had arrived “aus dem Nordosten von Asien, mithin nur an den Küsten und vielleicht gar nur über das Eis des Eismeeres in ihre jetztigen Wohnsitze […]. Das Wasser dieser Meere aber muß in seinem continuirlichen Gefrieren auch continuirlich eine ungeheure Menge fixer Luft fahren lassen, mit welcher also die Atmosphäre dort vermuthlich mehr überladen sein wird, als irgend anderswärts” [in their present habitats from northeast Asia, hence only along the coasts and perhaps even across the ice of the polar sea. But the water in these oceans must continuously expel an enormous amount of fixed air in its continuous freezing, with which the atmosphere there is presumably more overloaded than anywhere else] (AA VIII, p. 104; Kant 2007a, p. 157). Thus, Kant found in the coldness a clue that fixed air might have played an essential role. The English chemist Joseph Priestley had already noticed that water easily absorbs fixed air, which led to the discovery of the artificial production of carbonated water. He expected that coldness would promote this absorption, but when he “put several pieces of ice into a quantity of fixed air, confined by quicksilver, [...] no part of the air was absorbed in two days and two nights; but upon bringing it into a place where the ice melted, the air was absorbed as usual” (Priestley 1772, pp. 10-11).

But, then, how did Kant relate the observations on the iron particles in blood to those on fixed air? One important clue for his speculations was offered by “einer der neuern Seereisenden, dessen Namen ich jetzt nicht mit Sicherheit nennen kann” [one of the


6 An extract was published in German in 1785, although this did not explicitly mention the quarrel with Landriani (Fontana 1785).


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more recent seafarers, whose name I cannot give with certainty right now]: this seafarer had described the skin color as “Eisenrost, mit Öl vermischt” [iron rust mixed with oil] (AA VIII, p. 175; Kant 2007b, p. 211). This was, in fact, reported in John Hawkesworth’s edited version of the papers of James Cook and the botanist Joseph Banks. The ascribed color is mentioned when the explorers encountered inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego (Hawkesworth 1773, p. 55).7 The Spanish explorer Antonio de Ulloa (whose work Kant had read) had already written: “Visto un Indio de qualquier Region, se puede decir que se han visto todos en quanto al color y contexture.” [If one has seen one Indian of any region, it may be said that they have all been seen in terms of color and build.] (Ulloa 1772, 308) This gave Kant reason to believe that all Native Americans had an iron-rust skin color. This characterization supposedly proved that fixed air would give “den Eisentheilchen im Blute die röthiche Rostfarbe [...], welche die Haut der Amerikaner unterscheidet” [the iron particles in the blood the red rust color which distinguishes the skin of the Americans] (AA VIII, p. 104; Kant 2007a, p. 157). Priestley had namely observed that iron-rust “gave a great deal of air, two-thirds of which was fixed air, and the rest was not affected by nitrous air, and extinguished a candle; so that the whole produce seemed to be fixed air, only with a larger residuum of that part which is not miscible with water than usual. At another time, however, I got from the rust of iron fixed air that was very pure, there being little of it that was not miscible with water” (Priestley 1775, pp. 111-112). Since the rust of iron mostly contained fixed air, Kant expected iron particles in blood to rust when these were exposed to large amounts of fixed air. Since he also presupposed that the vessels of the skin contributed to the removal of fixed air from the blood, this iron-rust color shone through the upper layer of the skin. Also Blumenbach adopted the characterization of the skin color as “iron rust mixed with oil,” but he did not link the color to iron particles in blood (Blumenbach 1797, p. 62). Kant took the description more literally than was probably intended.

Kant did not hesitate to link his explanation of skin color of the Native Americans to their supposed inferiority. For instance, in 1777, Kant stated with regard to the white race that “dieses in den Säften aufgelösete Eisen gar nicht niedergeschlagen [würde], und dadurch zugleich die vollkommene Mischung der Säfte und Stärke dieses Menschenschlags vor den übrigen bewiesen” [the iron dissolved in these juices might have been not at all precipitated, thereby demonstrating both the perfect mixing of juices and the strength of this human stock in comparison to others] (Kant 1777, pp. 174-175; Kant 2013b, p. 68). The connection between the “perfect mixing of juices and the strength of this human stock” tells us that the inferiority of the so-called American race was for Kant linked to the understanding of its constitution. Instead of questioning the assumed inferiority of the Native Americans, he perceived it as a fact that still needed an explanation.


7 A German translation appeared in 1774 (Hawkesworth 1774, p. 55).


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It is known that Kant showed little interest in opposing slavery (Bernasconi 2002, pp. 148-152). In 1777, he even claimed that “man sich in Surinam der rothen Sklaven (Amerikaner) nur allein zu häußlichen Arbeiten [bedient], weil sie zur Feldarbeit zu schwach sind, wozu man Neger braucht” [red slaves (Americans) are used in Surinam only for domestic work, because they are too weak for fieldwork – for which Negroes are needed] (Kant 1777, p. 150n; Kant 2013b, p. 333n). The passage was amended to his suggestion that the reddish, iron-rust skin color and the “halb erloschene Lebenskraft” [half-extinguished life power] of Native Americans were a direct result of the cold region. The notion of “red slaves” first appeared in the Journal politique ou gazette des gazettes (1773): “Outre les Negres de Guinée, il y a encore quelques Indiens des rivieres [sic] de l'Orenoque & des Amazones, connus sous le nom d'esclaves rouges; ceux-ci, moins robustes que les autres, sont, pour cette raison, presque tous employés à des occupations domestiques.” [Besides the Negroes of Guinea there are also some Indians from the rivers of the Oronoque and the Amazon which are known under the name of the red slaves and because of their lesser strength are used almost solely for work in the house.] (Anonymous 1773, p. 67) A German translation was published soon afterwards in the Encyclopädisches Journal (Anonymous 1774, pp. 202-203) and, subsequently, reappeared in the German translation of Philippe Fermin’s Description générale, historique, géographique et physique de la colonie de Surinam (Fermin 1775, p. 114).8 The translator of Fermin’s book felt the need to amend this text after Fermin had suggested that slaves escaped either because of a refusal to work or a fear for well-deserved punishments. The translator wanted to point out that, as the article in the Journal politique ou gazette des gazettes explicitly remarked, a cruel treatment might just as well have been the reason for their escape. Contrary to Fermin’s defense of slavery, the author of the amended text refused to take a stance regarding the legitimacy of slavery; he was more concerned about the treatment of slaves. However, Kant’s mention of the red slaves indicates that, in his view, the lack of ability and durability of Native Americans justified the transportation of “Negroes” to the colonies. He even felt the need to add that not even coercive measures succeeded in making them do the hard labor in the fields.

In his third essay on race (1788), Kant put greater emphasis on the supposed fact that the American race was an incipient race. He concluded that the indolence of these Native Americans was a direct result of being unfit for any climate: “Daß aber ihr Naturell zu keiner völligen Angemessenheit mit irgend einem Klima gelangt ist, läßt sich auch daraus abnehmen, daß schwerlich ein anderer Grund angegeben werden kann, warum diese Race, zu schwach für schwere Arbeit, zu gleichgültig für emsige und unfähig zu aller Cultur, wozu sich doch in der Naheit Beispiel und Aufmunterung genug findet, noch tief unter dem Neger selbst steht, welcher doch die niedrigste unter allen übrigen Stufen einnimmt die wir als Racenverscheidenheiten genannt haben.” [That their natural


8 In 1770, Fermin expanded on his defense of slavery (Fermin 1770).


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disposition did not achieve a perfect suitability for any climate, can be seen from the circumstance that hardly another reason can be given for why this race, which is too weak for hard labor, too indifferent for industry and incapable of any culture – although there is enough of it as example and encouragement nearby – ranks still far below even the Negro, who stands on the lowest of all the other steps that we have named as differences of the races.] (AA VIII, pp. 175-176; Kant 2007b, p. 211) Many had already mentioned the insensibility and indolence of American Indians (Venegas 1757, p. 74; Pauw p. 1769, 71- 72, p. 169, 221). De Ulloa reported that even “Negroes” showed contempt for their laziness (Ulloa 1772, pp. 322-323). So Kant had no difficulties finding support for his views that Native Americans ranked lowest. But his racism implied that their laziness was a result of their unfailingly inheritable predisposition. Their laziness was in his view a permanent feature.

However, Adickes pointed out that Kant’s view on the inferiority of the Native Americans was not commonly accepted (Adickes 1925, p. 415). He could have read extracts of Francisco Javier Clavigero’s criticism of Buffon and de Pauw, which appeared in 1786 in Der Teutsche Merkur. For present purposes it is also important to note that, as Bernasconi has observed in response to Pauline Kleingeld’s claim about Kant’s supposed second thoughts on his racial hierarchy, “there is no evidence that he did renounce his views either about the scientific character of race as such or about the hierarchy of the races, although he did appear to modify his views on the slave trade” (Bernasconi 2011, p. 292). If Kant indeed had had second thoughts, then one could reasonably expect to find it unambiguously expressed in his work. In this regard, I would like to briefly refer to Johann Gottlieb Stoll’s Philosophische Unterhaltungen, einige Wahrheiten gegen Zweifel und Ungewißheit in besseres Licht zu setzen, auf Veranlassung Herrn Kants Kritik der reinen Vernunft from 1788 in which the author explicitly criticized the denial of the right of mankind (das Recht der Menschheit) of the Native Americans by the Spaniards and the Portuguese. Not much later Stoll even concluded: “Und jetzt unterdrücket die Geldbegierde der handelnden Nationen das Gefühl der Ehrfurcht, das man der Menschheit schuldig ist; und damit man wenigstens eine Entschuldigung habe, gegen die schrecklichste aller Unmenschlichkeiten, seine Mitbrüder wie das Vieh zu einer ewigen und schaudervollen Sklaverey zu verkaufen, hält man sich an die Farbe, an die Wolle auf dem Kopfe, an die dicken Lippen und an die gequetschten Nasen, und macht sie deshalb zum Vieh.” [And now the lust for money of the trading nations suppresses the feeling of reverence owed to mankind; and so that one may at least have an excuse against the most terrible of all inhumanities to sell one's brothers like cattle to an eternal and horrible slavery, one sticks to the color, to the wool on the head, to the thick lips, and to the flattened noses, and therefore makes them into cattle.] (Stoll 1788, pp. 70-71) We do not find such a clear condemnation of slavery in Kant’s work, although contemporaries were explicitly seeking ways in response to his work, as is the case with Stoll, to condemn slavery and the treatment of non-white races.

Kant’s Influence

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We have tried to offer some insights into the development of Kant’s racism. This expressed itself not simply by way of an explanation of the inferiority of non-white races. Essential to his racism was the permanence of racial characteristics. We have tried to show how Kant attempted to ground this belief and what sources he used to support these views. But in order to understand Kant’s role within the history of racial thinking, it is also important to take into account what his contemporaries were writing about with regard to these topics. I will focus here on two aspects. Firstly, in response to Tucker’s account on the history of racial sight, I want to briefly discuss the appropriation of Kant’s concept of race by the German anatomist Ludwig Emil Cichorius. Secondly, I will briefly focus on Christoph Girtanner’s work as a way to evaluate the claim that Kant had in his late work second thoughts on a racial hierarchy.

Contrary to Tucker’s account on the association of the apprehension of skin color with immediacy and self-evidence, I want to point out that the reception of Kant’s racial theory reveals the centrality of race mixing. For instance, in 1801, Cichorius published two articles on the importance of Kant’s concept of race. Following Kant and Girtanner, he believed that a racial division should primarily be based on the different skin colors: “Diese Verschiedenheiten erhalten nicht bloss ihr Characteristisches unter jedem Himmelsstriche, sie arten auch bey jeder Vermischung unausbleiblich an. Und darum kann man auch nur auf sie eine Eintheilung der Menschen in Racen gründen.” [These differences do not only merely keep their characteristics in all climates, but they also inevitably propagate with every mixing. And this is also why one can only base a division of human in races on this.] (Cichorius 1801a, p. 143) Race mixing allegedly proved inevitable inheritance: the mulatto showed a skin color that was midway between those of the parents. Although Cichorius realized that skin color could not ground racial differences among animals, he still relied heavily on the importance of their mixtures: “Nie wird dem Jungen, das durch Individuen derselben Race entsteht, das Charakteristische mangeln, das die Gestalt seiner Ältern bezeichnet. Und immer wird hier der Bastard das Besondere der Formen jener Racen besitzen, durch deren Vermischung er entsprang.” [Never will the offspring, created by individuals of the same race, lack the characteristic that characterizes the shape of his ancestors. And here, the hybrid will always have the particularity of the forms of those races that gave rise to him through their mixing.] (Cichorius 1801b, p. 180)

Tucker is thus incorrect when she emphasizes the immediacy of skin color for the interest in the link between the concept of race and skin color. Cichorius knew that it was not the immediacy of this color but race mixing that formed the core of Kant’s racial theory. Girtanner already said as much when he formulated “the Kantian principle,” i.e., “das große Naturgesetz, welches der tiefe Denker Kant entdekt hat, nämlich das Gesetz der halbschlächtigen Zeugung und des unausbleiblichen Anerbens alles dessen, was wirkliche Rassen unterscheidet” [the great natural law discovered by the deep thinker Kant, namely the law of half-breed procreation and the inevitable inheritance of all that distinguishes real races]. (Girtanner 1796, p. 55) However, the neglect of the importance of race mixing to


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Kant’s ideas is not new. After briefly discussing Kant’s introduction of his concept of race in 1859, the French zoologist Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire complained that race mixing “a été depuis longtemps effacé de la définition de la race” [has since long been removed from the definition of race] (Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire 1859, p. 312n). The relevance of Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire’s remark cannot be stressed enough. As his colleague Armand de Quatrefages wrote soon afterwards in his Unité de l'espèce humaine in a section on race mixing: “On doit à M. Isidore Geoffroy d’avoir rappelé l’attention des naturalistes et des anthropologistes sur le travail où Kant a exprimé ses idées sur cette question.” [We owe it to Mr. Isidore Geoffroy for reminding naturalists and anthropologists of the work in which Kant has expressed his ideas on this issue.] (Quatrefages 1861, p. 252n)

Lastly, I want to focus on Kant’s influence on Girtanner, for – as I mentioned above

– recent interpretations of Kant’s racial thinking argue that he radically changed his views on racial hierarchy in his late work. One recurring argument relies on Girtanner’s appraisal of Kant’s work on races. Interpreters who state that Kant had second thoughts often also claim that Girtanner limited his exposition on natural history to physiological traits. The first to do so was Pauline Kleingeld when she concluded that “Girtanner’s Kantianism does not imply his endorsement of Kant’s earlier race-related hierarchy of natural incentives and talents” (Kleingeld 2007, p. 590n). Also Allen Wood states that Girtanner’s book “proposed to expound Kantian views on natural history but whose treatment of race was devoted mainly to the argument that racial differences are entirely matters of anatomy and physiology and provide no ‘moral characterization’” (Wood 2008, p. 10). Alexey Zhavoronkov and Alexey Salinov come to the same conclusion: “Since Girtanner does provide his reader with a neutral description of physical differences between races without touching the subject of morals, we can conclude that the late Kant has abandoned his previous anthropological attempts to establish a connection between the description of natural features of each race and a racial hierarchy based on moral criteria.” (Zhavoronkov and Salinov 2018, p. 289). However, these views misrepresent Girtanner’s interest in Kant’s racial theory.

Before he learned about Kant’s ideas of natural history, Girtanner published on a variety of themes from chemistry and medicine, one of them being venereal diseases (Wegelin 1957). He thought that these diseases had reached Europe after the discovery of America. To support this hypothesis, Girtanner mentioned reports about the extremely weak business of procreation (Zeugungsgeschäft) of the Native American men. Their lack of a beard was considered a sign of their weak lustfulness. However, their women were supposedly very voluptuous, because of which they threw themselves in the arms of the Europeans who had reached the continent. Girtanner even believed that the New World would not have been conquered if it was not for the voluptuousness of these women. They were willing to sacrifice everything for their desires. In order to attain their goals, they would put “small, venomous insects” on the male genitals that consequently swelled up, which, subsequently, created an insatiable sexual drive. The importance of this lies in the fact that, at this time, Girtanner’s degrading view of the Native Americans relied mainly on

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de Pauw who had already reported about these venomous insects, the beardless (and thus weak) American men, and their weak sexual drives (Girtanner 1788, pp. 56-57; Pauw 1768, pp. 63-65).

A few years later, Girtanner discovered Kant’s work on races. As one of the leading figures for the introduction of Lavoisier’s reforms of chemical nomenclature in the German-speaking world, Girtanner obviously showed little interest in Kant’s explanations of the causes of different skin colors. But then again, Kant had already realized that most of what he had stated in his exposition on these causes was very speculative: “Sie sind indessen dazu gut, um allenfalls einem Gegner, der, wenn er gegen den Hauptsatz nichts Tüchtiges einzuwenden weiß, darüber frohlockt, daß das angenommene Princip nicht einmal die Möglichkeit der Phänomene begreiflich machen könne, - sein Hypothesenspiel mit einem gleichen, wenigstens eben so scheinbaren zu vergelten.” [But they are at least good for addressing an opponent who has no sound objection against the main proposition but triumphs over the fact that the assumed principle cannot even render the phenomena comprehensible – and for repaying his play with hypotheses with one that is at least equally plausible.] (AA VIII, p. 104; Kant 2007a, p. 158) His views on these causes were primarily meant to demonstrate the possibility of using teleological principles in the study of nature. Racial differences showed purposiveness in the organic world. Girtanner was especially intrigued by this aspect.

However, we also observed that Kant’s view on the Native Americans as an incipient race was related to his understanding of the inferiority of Native Americans. Girtanner did not adopt Kant’s wild speculations on fixed air, but he showed little originality when he took over other aspects of Kant’s exposition. Many passages from his Ueber das Kantische Prinzip für die Naturgeschichte in fact contradict the claim that Girtanner did not endorse Kant’s so-called moral characterizations. Especially his views on the American Indians are in this regard relevant. He not only took over Kant’s ideas on the Mongolian origin of Native Americans and their migration to the New World but also stated that this race (with regard to their capacities and talents) “sogar noch tiefer unter dem Neger steht” [ranks still far below even the Negro] (Girtanner 1796, p. 139). De Pauw shaped Girtanner’s earlier views of the Native Americans, but Kant deepened Girtanner’s disquieting understanding of the inferiority of the Native Americans. His mention of their inferiority was a clear reminder of Kant’s racial hierarchy. This observation is especially relevant because Kant praised Girtanner’s work on races in his Anthropologie in pragmatischer Hinsicht. Thus, Zhavoronkov and Salinov raise the wrong question when they rhetorically ask “why Kant refers to Girtanner instead of other sources which do not exclude the moral aspect from the description of different races.” Girtanner’s appropriation of his so-called moral characterizations of non-white races did not stop Kant from praising Girtanner’s work. There is, therefore, also no ground to conclude – as Kleingeld does – that “Girtanner’s Kantianism does not imply his endorsement of Kant’s earlier race-related hierarchy of natural incentives and talents; so neither does Kant’s endorsement of


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Girtanner” (Kleingeld 2007, p. 590n). With his recommendation in 1798, Kant also gave his approval of Girtanner’s appropriation of his own racial hierarchy.


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Philosophical Grounding For the Moral Law: In Defense of Kant’s Factum der Vernunft (Fact of Reason)


Fundamentos Filosóficos de la Ley Moral: En Defensa del Factum der Vernunft de Kant (Hecho de la razón)


DANIEL PAUL DAL MONTE


Temple University, United States of America


Abstract


In this paper, I first explain Slajov Žižek’s analysis of the grounds of Kant’s categorical imperative. I show how Žižek considered the grounds of the categorical imperative to be an example of irrationalism that ran counter to the spirit of the Enlightenment, of which Kant was, ironically, a major proponent. The irrationalism in Kant’s moral law makes him vulnerable to moral skepticism. I go on to counter this interpretation by drawing from Kant’s practical philosophy. I counter the moral skeptic by arguing from moral phenomenology to the existence of a reason that is independent of empirical motivations and so objectively determining. Whatever is objectively determining logically supersedes that which is based on a particular context. The moral law is rooted in the ontology of an independent faculty of reason capable of issuing a universal law. The union of ontology and ethics means that the categorical imperative is not irrational.


Keywords


Žižek, Kant, fact of reason, moral skepticism


Resumen


En este documento, primero explico el análisis de Slajov Žižek sobre los fundamentos del imperativo categórico de Kant. Muestro cómo Žižek consideraba que los fundamentos del imperativo categórico eran un ejemplo de irracionalismo que iba en contra del espíritu de la




[Recibido: 02 de febrero de 2019

Aceptado: 15 de marzo de 2019]

Philosophical Grounding For the Moral Law



Ilustración, del cual Kant era, irónicamente, un defensor importante. El irracionalismo en la ley moral de Kant lo hace vulnerable al escepticismo moral. Continúo para contrarrestar esta interpretación basándose en la filosofía práctica de Kant. Contrario al escéptico moral argumentando desde la fenomenología moral hasta la existencia de una razón que es independiente de las motivaciones empíricas y que es tan objetivamente determinante. Lo que sea que esté determinando objetivamente, lógicamente, reemplaza lo que se basa en un contexto particular. La ley moral está arraigada en la ontología de una facultad de la razón independiente capaz de emitir una ley universal. La unión de ontología y ética significa que el imperativo categórico no es irracional.


Palabras Claves


Žižek, Kant, hecho de la razón, escepticismo moral.


  1. Introduction


    Slajov Žižek’s work, “The Sublime Object of Ideology,” is a major philosophical work emerging from the Slovenian Lacanian school (Laclau 1989, p. ix-xi). Though obviously informed by the work of Lacan, Žižek refers broadly to a host of thinkers, including Immanuel Kant (Laclau 1989, p. xii). In this paper, I will focus specifically on Žižek’s analysis of Kant’s categorical imperative. The categorical imperative is, for Kant, the fundamental moral law that is universally applicable (KpV 5:31). Žižek seems to align himself with other very reputable commentators on Kant by affirming the view that there are no philosophical grounds for the categorical imperative. It is simply dogmatically asserted. Kant tells us that the moral law is a fact of reason (KpV 5:31, 5:47). The only response, therefore, that Kant has to the challenge of a moral skeptic, who would question whether the moral law is more than a mere fiction, is to simply restate that the moral law is a fact of reason. Next, I will refer to the work of two Kant scholars, Karl Ameriks and Allen Wood, who agree that Kant’s notion that the fundamental moral law is a fact of reason amounts to mere dogmatism, lacking in philosophical development. I will then develop my own account of how the fundamental moral law in Kant actually does have a philosophical basis—i.e. it is more than just a dogmatic claim.


  2. Grounds for the Categorical Imperative in Žižek


    In this section, I will explain in more detail how Žižek understands the epistemic grounding of the categorical imperative. In his analysis of Kant’s categorical imperative, Žižek focuses on the fact the categorical imperative is a sort of brute fact of moral philosophy. The categorical imperative has unconditional authority. Its authority is therefore intrinsic to it, and not dependent on something else.

    Kant has grand ambitions for his moral philosophy. He seeks not merely provisional rules of prudence, applicable only in certain contexts, or a relativistic acquiescence to the presence of a plurality of conflicting moral views. Instead, Kant seeks


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    a practical law that has universal application. The existence of practical law, that does not permit exceptions, presupposes something that is valuable in itself. The practical law has to be an implication, in other words, of something the value of which is absolute, and so does not vary according to context. That which has absolute value, for Kant, is rational nature. The fact that rational nature has absolute value means that one can never treat it as a means. To treat rational nature as a means would be to violate its absolute value—one would, in this case, be treating rational nature as a mere tool to obtain something that is valued more highly. So, the implication of the absolute value of one’s rational nature is the practical law that one can never treat rational nature as a means. In the formulation of this practical law, Kant conflates rational nature with humanity, since a rational nature is an essential and uniquely differentiating feature of humanity:


    So act that you use humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end, never merely as a means. (GMS 4:428-429)


    The fact that Kant deals in absolutes in his formulation of the moral law—a formulation which presupposes the existence of absolute value, and issues in a practical law that does not permit exception—is what drives Žižek’s to make the accusation of dogmatism. Žižek describes Kant’s moral philosophy as formalistic. Seeing as the moral law is based on that which has absolute value—i.e. rational nature—the moral law’s power to compel is intrinsic to it. The intrinsic, unconditional worth of rational nature leads to the stipulation that we are to always respect rational nature as an end, and never use it as a means to some other end. We are to follow this practical law regardless of our circumstances, and regardless of the outcome of following it. To try to argue for exceptions, and to make obedience to the practical law conditional on some other factor, would be to deny the absolute foundations on which the practical law is built. This is, then, what Žižek means by formalism: it is the form of the law that compels obedience, not some possible outcome of obedience to the law. We are to follow the practical law because it is the law (Žižek 1989, p. 80). In other words, Kantian formalism consists in a stark dualism between the moral law and associated incentives that might lead us to behave in accordance with the moral law. The absolute authority of the moral law gives it an intrinsic power, and so forces one to disregard extrinsic incentives, which are only contingently associated with following the moral law.

    The formalism of Kant’s moral philosophy, according to Žižek, is essential to its irrationality. Absolute value, and unexceptionable practical laws, do not permit derivation from higher principles. If that which is alleged to have absolute value in fact derives its value from something else, it does not really have absolute value. Similarly, if a practical law alleged to be unexceptionable is derived from another law, it actually is exceptionable insofar as it would not have universality were it not for the existence of the law from which it is derived. Kant’s practical law is built in such a way that, at some point, we have to identify certain principles as axiomatic. These principles are true, that is, because they are



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    true. To attempt to derive them from other principles would be to compromise the absoluteness that Kant seeks in his formulation of the moral law.

    Žižek sees this strategy of grounding one’s moral philosophy in brute absolute facts as a form of irrationalism. He writes that the


    categorical imperative is precisely a Law which has a necessary, unconditional authority, without being true: it is—in Kant’s own words—a kind of ‘transcendental fact,’ a given fact the truth of which cannot be theoretically demonstrated; but its unconditional validity should nonetheless be presupposed for our moral activity to have any sense. (Žižek 1989, 81)


    Kant, the way Žižek interprets him, ends up in irrational formalism in virtue of the methodology by which he tries to arrive at universal moral principles. I have already noted that a universal moral principle cannot follow from that which has only conditional worth. Objects of desire, for example, have conditional worth, since their worth is dependent on the presence of the desire for them. However, it is precisely in virtue of appeals to things of conditional worth that Kant’s moral philosophy can escape its irrational formalism. One might justify obedience to the practical law by pointing to some desirable end one might obtain by obedience. For instance, one might argue that one should obey the moral law because it will improve one’s reputation. But, reputation is an object of conditional worth. If there is no one present to desire a good reputation, it has no value. Reputation, at least, is not something to which we can assign an intrinsic positive value. A good reputation may, in fact, be morally suspect, insofar as person with ill-intentions may cultivate a good reputation in order to escape scrutiny. A good reputation is an object of conditional worth just like intelligence, or personal charm, which may be abused by someone with a malign will (GMS 4:393). Since goods like reputation and intelligence have only conditional worth, the only way to reach that which has unconditional value is to take the will in isolation from any objects it may have, which only have conditional worth. It is the will in isolation from any conditionally valuable objects, and therefore obedient to the law for its own sake, that is the only proper location for unconditional value (GMS 4:394). The problem for a thinker like Žižek, though, is that demanding obedience to the law for its own sake, in order to secure some vaunted unconditional status, precludes any chance of justifying such obedience, and so amounts to a form of irrationalism.

    Justification of obedience, which would consist in an appeal to some object of conditional worth, would undermine the universality of the moral law. Another way of putting this is that only an a priori law can be universal—a priori means independent of any experience. Experience consists in objects that have conditional worth, since whatever is in experience are contingent sets of particular circumstances.

    A universal moral law, then, has to reject any sort of justification by appeal to particular circumstances in order to remain universal. By dispensing with such justification, though, the moral law is merely axiomatic, a fundamental first premise of practical reasoning that is simply assumed as true. This accounts for Žižek’s interpretation


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    of the Kantian moral law as truth-less and nonsensical (Žižek 1989, p. 81). Indeed, Kant himself speaks in ways that lend some credence to Žižek’s interpretation. Kant describes the moral law as a “fact of reason.” One does not have to justify or defend what is obviously and simply a fact. Kant writes,


    Consciousness of this fundamental law may be called a fact of reason because one cannot reason it out from antecedent data of reason…and because it instead forces itself upon us of itself as a synthetic a priori proposition that is not based on any intuition…” (GMS 5:31)


    Ultimately, an objection to the claim that there is an axiomatic moral law, that dispenses with any justificatory data, is that the claim is vulnerable to moral skepticism. What is to stop someone from denying another person’s perception of what the axiomatic moral law is? This perception is put forth as axiomatic and so groundless. If there are differing perceptions with respect to the nature of the axiomatic moral law, they can only end in permanent impasse. Without grounds, there can be no adjudication.

    Žižek’s questions about the grounding of the categorical imperative, which lead to worries about moral skepticism, are echoed and even more precisely framed in Lewis White Beck’s 1960 essay, “Das Faktum Der Vernunft: Zur Rechfertigungsproblematik In Der Ethik.” In this essay, Beck distinguishes between internal and external forms of justification. Internal forms of justification draw upon the resources internal to a certain conceptual space. For instance, one may be confronted with the ethical question of whether or not one should tell the truth. This question can be adjudicated according to some foundational moral principle that is internal to the conceptual space of ethical questions. For instance, one might appeal to a principle of utility, that mandates seeking the greatest good for the greatest number, to resolve the question of whether or not one should tell the truth. In the case of Kant, of course, one would appeal to the categorical imperative to resolve this question, since the categorical imperative serves as the supreme moral dictate in light of which all particular maxims ought to be evaluated. These foundational ethical principles are internal to the universe of discourse involving particular ethical questions. Beck points out, however, that a problem of justification arises in ethics when we ask for justification of foundational ethical principles like the categorical imperative. It may be the case that we should tell the truth because of the categorical imperative, but we may still ask for justification for obedience to the categorical imperative itself. In seeking justification of the categorical imperative, we venture outside of the conceptual space of moral questions, towards the very grounding of this conceptual space. We cannot ground the categorical imperative in some fact, because it seems as though we can never derive an evaluative principle from a mere fact. It seems impossible, that is, to identify an entailment relationship between what is the case and what should be the case. If we appeal to an even higher evaluative principle to justify the categorical imperative, then we have to seek some external justification for this higher principle as well. Žižek and Beck, then, note a similar problem related to the seeming groundlessness of the categorical imperative in Kant. If we are to obey the categorical imperatives with entirely pure motives, because it is our duty to

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    do so, then it seems our obedience is groundless, because there can be nothing external to the categorical imperative that justifies it.


  3. Agreement with Other Interpretations of Kant


In this section, I will show how Žižek’s interpretation of Kant’s moral law is far from singular in contemporary Kantian scholarship. Karl Ameriks, for instance, states, of Kant, that there are only some technical oddities that prevent it from being an intuitionistic system (Ameriks 1982, p. 218). Intuitionism about the moral law consists in both a metaphysical and an epistemological thesis. The metaphysical thesis is that there are evaluative properties, indicating the goodness or badness of a state of affairs, that are not reducible to naturalistic properties. These properties are also objective, attaching to the object and so independent of any subjective feelings. The epistemological thesis of intuitionism is that we are able to have direct perception of these evaluative properties, even though we cannot access them through any of our five senses, since they are not naturalistic. So, we do not need empirical calculations—e.g. calculation of pleasure—to identify evaluative properties (Huemer 2005, p. 6). Ameriks describes Kant’s moral philosophy as embracing a


non-naturalistic ultimacy that is found explicitly and typically in intuitionistic systems.

(Ameriks 1982, 218)


These non-naturalistic facts are ultimate insofar as rightness and wrongness just characterize an act as properties of it—it is not the case that we consider the acts to be right or wrong via a reasoning process, and/or through appeal to sources of evidence independent of the act. Instead, we perceive the evaluative property as attaching to the act directly. Also, it is important to note that, in intuitionism, the property of rightness or wrongness has to be non-natural. How could rightness or wrongness characterize an act as an empirical property? Rightness or wrongness are qualities that are not—at least not obviously—measurable, quantifiable, or even identifiable with some observable property.

Seeing as moral intuitionism dispenses with empirical evidence and even reasoning in establishing moral principles, it is vulnerable to the charge of dogmatism. The only argument for moral principles in moral intuitionism is the discernment of them, a process which is mysterious, since moral properties are non-empirical.

There is an agreement of sorts, then, between the interpretation of Žižek and that of Ameriks. Both see the fact of reason in Kant as just having unconditional authority—the unconditional authority does not have grounds in empirical data or reasoning (KpV 5:47).

Allen Wood, another respected Kant scholar, also is critical of Kant’s proposal that the moral law is a fact of reason. Wood also thinks that the doctrine of the fact of reason lacks a sufficient answer to the moral skeptic. A moral skeptic might deny the authority of the moral law. There may be a moral law present to consciousness, but perhaps it is a mere delusion, an error that prevents us from behaving freely. Seeing as the moral law is just a


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fact of reason, and cannot be proved by any deduction, there is no answer to the moral skeptic. The only possible response is “moralistic bluster”—that is, the dogmatic insistence that the moral law is a fact (Wood 2008, p. 135).

In the following section, I will defend Kant’s doctrine of the fact of reason against these charges of dogmatism.


  1. Grounds for the Categorical Imperative

    In this section, I will reveal a method in Kant’s practical philosophy for grounding the moral law that differs from the mere dogmatic assertion one finds in the interpretations of Žižek, Ameriks, and Wood. The method begins with a distinction between empirical and formal motivations. 1 Empirical motivations are driven by contextual factors in a particular situation. Formal motivations, on the other hand, are independent of any contextual factors in a particular situation. One acts on a formal motivation when one acts out of obedience to a moral rule that has universal applicability. Since the moral rule has universal applicability, it cannot include in its formulation any particular contextual factors. So, for example, one may remain placid in traffic because one should always treat other people the way one would wish to be treated, and not because of a specific advantage one might obtain through remaining placid (KpV 5:27).

    Kant is firm that moral laws can only be formal motivations. Empirical motivations cannot ground moral laws because they have to do only with particular situations. Even a law to the effect that one should always pursue one’s own happiness fails to establish itself as a law of universal applicability. One’s own happiness is grounded in one’s particular context. Far from establishing a universal moral law, grounding a principle on individual pursuit of happiness would lead to chaotic fragmentation. Since each individual’s happiness is differentiated according to subjective factors peculiar to him or her, making happiness central to a practical principle would lead to infinite variation according to the particular situation of each individual. Speaking of a practical law based on happiness, Kant writes,


    For then the will of all has not one and the same object but each has his own (his own welfare), which can indeed happen to accord with the purposes of others who are likewise pursuing their own but which is far from sufficing for a law because the exceptions that one is warranted in making upon occasion are endless and cannot be determinately embraced in a universal rule. (GMS 5:28)


    Real lawfulness, therefore, does not permit any admixture of empirical motivations. Empirical motivations inevitably introduce particular contextual factors that compromise


    1 I am using the word ‘formal’ here in the same sense as I used it when I described how Žižek criticized Kant’s moral philosophy as formalistic. Someone with a formal motivation to adhere to one’s duty so adheres only because it is one’s duty. Formal motivations do not include factors in one’s situation that may incentivize one’s adherence to duty.

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    the universality of the moral law. Formal motivations, on the other hand, can ground a universal moral law, since formal motivations are independent of empirical factors.

    It is notable, at this point, that Kant and Žižek have opposite views on the relationship between formalism and justification. For Kant, it is only by appealing to formal motivations, entirely grounded in reason, that one can justify a moral law. For Žižek, though, formalism undermines justification. Formalism requires an obedience to the law because it is the law. Formalism cannot permit any appeal to empirical benefits that might accrue from following the law. But, formalism for Kant is actually a bulwark against moral skepticism, or at least a weak relativism. It is an insistence on formal motivations that functions to save a moral law from being distorted and fragmented according to subjective peculiarities of different individuals. If, for instance, we are to be moral because it makes us happy, morality becomes subject to the different possible definitions of happiness that vary by individual.

    Thought experiments show that, in the midst of empirical motivations, there are also motivations that are purely formal and rational. Kant asks us to imagine someone who has been asked by a prince to provide false testimony against a good man, or face death by hanging. This individual, Kant argues, would admit that it is possible for him to refuse to provide false testimony, even if it meant he would end up dead (KpV 5:30). This thought experiment provides evidence of a rational principle that has the power to motivate—a purely formal principle that contains no admixture of empirical factors. The individual in the thought experiment feels called to tell the truth because he ought to, and not because of any gain he might accrue. Kant’s reasoning is that all empirical motivations push one towards providing the false testimony. Even so, all would acknowledge that there is a powerful motivation to tell the truth. Since this motivation flies in the face of one’s empirical motivations—telling the truth could only lead to death—it must be purely formal (KpV 5:30).

    The only way to account for this phenomenon, according to Kant, is by assuming that there is a rational principle at the basis of our behavior that is independent of all empirical motivations. In other words, we are to assume that there is pure practical reason,

    i.e. practical reason which has an aspect that is independent of experience, and so independent of the arena of empirical motivations.


    For, pure reason, practical of itself, is here immediately lawgiving. (GMS 5:31)


    Pure practical reason is able to issue an imperative to the individual in the thought experiment that is compelling independently of any empirical objectives that individual might obtain.

    The idea that such a rational principle, which is the source of an unconditional imperative that transcends all empirical factors, exists, is consistent with Kant’s transcendental idealism. Kant’s transcendental idealism divides the human person into two aspects: an empirical aspect, which figures in experience, and an intelligible aspect, which cannot figure in experience. The fact that we cognize the human person through structures


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    of consciousness that we bring to cognition means that there is an aspect of it, i.e. the intelligible aspect, that is unavailable to our cognition. We can never know what the human person is in itself, apart from the structures of consciousness, because we can only experience through these structures of consciousness. Transcendental idealism, with its distinction between the intelligible and empirical aspects of the person, nicely frames the moral phenomenology in which there is a rational principle that is independent of any empirical motivation. The rational principle is able to be independent of empirical motivations, which figure in our experience, because it is part of a layer of reality that is permanently independent of our experience, in which empirical motivations exclusively figure (GMS 4:452).

    All maxims—i.e. principles upon which we act in a particular situation—therefore must come under examination from this independent rational principle. Individual maxims mediate between empirical factors in particular situations and the rational principle that is independent of all empirical factors and so serves as the “supreme maxim” (GMS 5:31).

    There is a logic, therefore, to which the consideration of individual maxims is subject that will make it clear why accusations against Kant of dogmatism are not fair. The logic has to do again with the distinction between formal and empirical motivations. For a maxim to be truly formal, it must be a law for all rational beings, and so serve as the supreme maxim. Having abstracted from all empirical motivations, one is dealing with reason in its pure state. If a maxim truly is rooted in reason in its pure state, then there is no reason why the maxim is not applicable to all other rational beings. It is the inclusion of empirical motivations that make a maxim peculiarly applicable to only one individual, or a group of individuals. The rational or formal motivations of one’s behavior, then, have a corollary call to objectivity and universality. If a maxim is not objectively applicable—i.e. it applies regardless of the empirical circumstances in which one finds oneself—then it is not really rationally motivated. A maxim that is not objectively/universally applicable must be compromised in some way by the admixture of some empirical, non-rational, motivation.

    Empirically-based maxims are, in fact, logically incoherent in so far as they are not generalizable. The inclusion of some empirical objectives makes empirically-based maxims perspective-dependent in their validity. For instance, if the individual in the thought experiment provides false testimony, he would escape with his life. However, the reputation of an honorable man would be ruined. If one were to think of the situation from the perspective of the honorable man, one would demand honest, not false, testimony. By rooting one’s maxims in particular empirical circumstances, one ends up in logical incoherence that involves an ambiguous application depending on perspective.

    On the other hand, by rooting a maxim in reason, independently of any empirical circumstance, one develops a maxim that has objective applicability. Telling the truth, in the situation involving the honorable man and the prince, is one’s duty because it is consistent with what can be universally affirmed. A purely formal law, rooted in reason, is a universal law and the supreme maxim because by definition it is independent of any


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    particular empirical circumstances. Empirical motivations cannot be the basis of establishing one’s duty, since empirical motivations arise only from particular contexts. Any maxims arising from particular contexts cannot be shared by those not in those particular contexts.

    So, from the experience of situations in which we are aware of a motivation that is purely rational and so independent of any empirical circumstances, and the fact that any purely rational/formal maxim is objectively applicable, we can formulate a fundamental moral law. This moral law is fundamental insofar as it applies to any situation which involves a rational agent.


    So act that the maxim of your will could always hold at the same time as a principle in the giving of a universal law. (GMS 5:30)


    There is a rational motivation, then, at the basis of our behavior that is call to universalizability. This is the categorical imperative—a call to be motivated by an objectively applicable rule. The categorical imperative is purely formal, insofar as it does not depend on any empirical motivations, peculiar to specific circumstances. The categorical imperative, in fact, represents the fulfillment of any purely formal motivation. The categorical imperative represents the logical entailment of any formal motivation. To be truly formal, a maxim has to be universal, since a formal maxim has to abstract from any empirical considerations that variously characterize different individuals. The categorical imperative is therefore the logical entailment of the pure practical reason of the human person, which it has in virtue of an intelligible aspect that is independent of any empirical circumstances. The categorical imperative is the demand of pure practical reason to fulfill its purity, so to speak, in the sense that it issues an injunction that transcends all empirical contextual factors.

    The fact that pure practical reason is by nature capable of issuing universally applicable moral dictates gives it a special moral status. Accordingly, the law that we are to act only on maxims that are universalizable can be reformulated in the form of a ban on treating any rational being as a means, and not as an end (GMS 4:428). In other words, we are not to exploit another person for an objective of ours, but instead treat the welfare of the person as itself an intrinsically worthy objective. The rational nature is of absolute worth. That which is a mere object of desire has only conditional worth, since it lacks the worth once the desire is gone. The distinction between empirical and formal motivations undergirds the conditionality of the worth of objects of desire and the absolute worth of rational nature. Objects of desire figure in empirical motivations. Objects of desire cannot figure in formal motivations which abstract from all empirical content. Since it is one’s rational nature that can impart value absolutely—it alone has the power to generate universal rules that apply independently of any empirical circumstances—one cannot treat it as a means. To treat a rational nature as a means is to subordinate to an object of desire, which can only have conditional worth, that which alone can generate absolute worth. To use, for example, a human being as a slave is to subordinate his or her rational nature for


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    the sake of some object of desire—i.e. money—which only has conditional worth (GMS 4:428).

    Again, in the second formulation of the categorical imperative, the imperative is not dogmatically issued but has a logical basis that is in accord with a distinctive ontology of the person. Rational nature, which transcendental idealism tells us is independent of the empirical aspect of the person, is the only possible source of unconditional worth. It alone can issue rules that transcend any empirical factors peculiar to an individual. We therefore cannot subordinate rational nature, which is the source of an unconditional value, to some empirical objective, which only has conditional worth. The upshot of my analysis is that there is a marriage of ontology and ethics that grounds the fact of reason, and redeems it from the accusations of circular arbitrariness with which Žižek, and other commentators, smear it. It is the rational nature of the person which issues an objectively valid principle that transcends empirical motives and external pressures that affect the person. The rational nature is able to issue such a principle because it is independent of these empirical objectives and the causal network that unites empirical motivations and forces. To treat a human being, i.e. a rational being, as a means to some empirical objective, therefore, is to subordinate something of absolute worth to what only can have conditional worth. It is also to surrender the privileged independence from empirical motives which is unique to the rational nature of human beings. Surrendering to empirical motives means surrendering rational agency itself. It is the nature, therefore, of rational agency (an ontological position) that makes it wrong to treat it as a means (an ethical position).2

    At this point, a distinction can be established between Žižek’s interpretation of the categorical imperative, and the interpretation I have developed. In Žižek’s interpretation of the categorical imperative, it has an unconditional authority that is nevertheless nonsensical. This authority is nonsensical because the categorical imperative is purely formal. What Žižek means by formalism is that the only motive for obedience to the categorical imperative is the categorical imperative itself. There is no justification for following the categorical imperative other than an empty circular one.


    The moral Law is obscene in so far as it is its form itself which functions as a motivating force driving us to obey its command—that is, in so far as we obey moral Law because it is law…(Žižek 1989, 81).


    The categorical imperative, for Žižek and commentators like Ameriks and Wood, is understood in an intuitionist manner. It is based in a property of acts, that is merely perceived through some mysterious non-sensible mode of perception. Evaluative properties are not justified, but simply happen to characterize certain acts.



    2 See Dieter Heinrich’s piece, “Der Begriffe der sittlichen Einsicht und Kants Lehre vom Faktum der Vernunft,” for more on the relationship between ontology and ethics. Heinrich traces the relationship between these subdisciplines of philosophy back to the ancient Greeks. Dieter Heinrich, “Der Begriffe der sittlichen Einsicht und Kants Lehre vom Faktum der Vernunft,” in Kant: Zur Deutung seiner Theorie von Erkennen und Handeln, ed. G. Prauss, (Köln: Kiepenhauer and Witsch, 1973): 223-256.

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    Philosophical Grounding For the Moral Law


    In my interpretation, though, of the Kantian moral law, its grounds are not merely circular and dogmatic, and we can account for it in a more sophisticated way than the seemingly arbitrary attribution of intuitionistic evaluative properties. The argument that concludes with the moral law begins with a fact of moral psychology, namely, that we experience a principle in our moral decisions that is independent of any empirical factors. The way to account for this call that is independent of any empirical motivations is to posit an independent reason, i.e. pure practical reason. The independent reason is principled. The empirical circumstances in which one finds oneself do not sway that which reason affirms. It is of the essence of pure practical reason, in fact, not to take directions from empirical circumstances that are independent of it, and which moreover are non-rational (e.g. a mere impulse is non-rational). Instead, reason must be the author of its own judgments, otherwise it would be subject to the shifting pressures of empirical circumstances that would lead it to contradiction and so to violate its nature (GMS 4:448).

    At the fundamental level of our moral experience, then, is a rational nature that generates universal principles. Again, these principles are not answerable to the shifting empirical circumstances in which one may happen to find oneself. Abstracting, then, from all empirical circumstances leaves us with this call for consistency. The categorical imperative is a call for consistency. It has no empirical content. The categorical imperative does not recommend any concrete objective—it is not a call for universal happiness, pleasure, avoidance of harm, etc. It merely mandates that one’s maxims be universalizable. Since one’s rational nature can rise above any change in one’s empirical circumstances, such that it upholds duty even if all empirical motivations go against it, one’s rational nature has to have built into it a mandate for consistency. Otherwise, one’s rational nature would shift according to changing empirical circumstances. The call for consistency that is the categorical imperative is the very extension of reason’s non-empirical nature.

    In sum, there is an argument for the fact of reason, i.e. the moral law, that takes the form of an inference to the best explanation. We are aware of a call to behave in ways that are wholly independent of empirical circumstances. We can assume, therefore, to account for this call of conscience, an independent, principled reason.3 Reason has to be principled, otherwise it would sway according to empirical circumstances. Having abstracted all empirical circumstances, there must be, as part of the nature of reason, a mandate for universalizability. Universalizability is a corollary of abstraction from empirical circumstance. If I am abstracting from empirical circumstances, then I am making a universal rule that applies regardless of empirical circumstances. The categorical imperative is simply a call for the rational principle to realize itself, in the form of a universal principle that recognizes its independence from empirical factors.

    In sum, the best way to explain our experience of a call of conscience that goes against all empirical motivations is to posit the presence of an independent and autonomous rational principle within us. The categorical imperative is a mandate issued by


    3 Kant actually infers the independence, or autonomy, of reason from the moral law. The man who thinks he should tell the truth in spite of the prince’s threat to execute “cognizes freedom within him, which, without the moral law, would have remained unknown to him.” (KpV 5:30).

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    this autonomous rational principle that embodies the independence of the rational principle from empirical circumstances.

    To surrender one’s reason to empirical circumstances is, in fact, to surrender one’s capacity to change empirical circumstances. To surrender one’s reason is to concede a privileged place in the context of empirical circumstances. A moral imperative, therefore, emerges from the fact that to allow oneself to be subject to whatever impulses one may have, and so fall into contradictions that offend against reason’s mandate to universalizability, amounts to a concession of one’s rational agency (Korsgaard 1996, p. 168-169). Again, the categorical imperative emerges from the nature of pure practical reason, which as an independent faculty resists assimilation into its empirical context which would limit it to maxims that have only particular, and not universal, validity. The categorical imperative, then, is really a call for pure practical reason to protect its own nature as an independent faculty.

    The mandate of a pure practical reason, that is independent of any empirical context, supersedes any judgment that is based on a certain empirical context. By its nature, pure practical reason issues rules of universal applicability, because it is not tied to any empirical context. Judgments having to do with an empirical context are, by their nature, only of limited relevance. The moral imperative of pure practical reason, therefore, arises from the logical principle that context-independence always trumps context- dependence (Sussman 2008, p. 76). That which is universally true is more logically fundamental than that which is only contextually true.

    There is the further consideration that one’s rationality is corollary to one’s autonomy. To be rational, one cannot be subject to mere empirical motivations—impulses, desires, etc. A being entirely at the mercy of empirical motivations is entirely subject to non-rational drives. To be rational is to be able to exert some pushback against these non- rational drives, and so rationality is essential to one’s autonomy.

    To treat another rational being as a means is to hinder their autonomy. Such treatment subordinates the rationality of the exploited being to some empirical motive. In a case of exploitation, then, the autonomous exercise of one rationality hinders the autonomous exercise of another. The negation of autonomy by autonomy is always logically superseded by the exercise of autonomy that respects the autonomy of others. This is because the former presupposes a maxim that can only have limited validity. The expansion of the exploiter’s autonomy devours the autonomy of another, and so in exploitative situations autonomy is both affirmed and denied. Exercise of autonomy that respects the autonomy of others, on the other hand, can have objective validity, since it consistently affirms autonomy. Objectively valid presuppositions always trump maxims of limited, or subjective, validity, when considering logical status (Guyer 2007. 450-451).

    Rather than a dogmatic insistence on some abstract principle that is contrary to the spirit of the Enlightenment, then, Kant’s moral imperative actually represents the fulfillment of the Enlightenment’s guardianship over human freedom. The moral imperative upholds the autonomous rational nature of the individual over all conditional


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    empirical objectives. We are not to subjugate another autonomous human being, because this involves an inappropriate subordination of that which issues objectively valid principles (i.e. autonomous human reason, which is distinct from empirical situations) to that which grounds only subjectively valid principles (i.e. principles that pertain only to a limited set of contingent circumstances). The centrality of human freedom to the moral imperative in Kant means that Kant is more of a so-called value theorist—i.e. his moral philosophy is centrally concerned with human value—than a moral theorist who emphasized a merely formalist devotion to moral principles that are detached from any source of human value (Pippin 2001, 387). That is, rather than a moral imperative that is predicated on an abstract motivation to conform to a merely formal rule on maxims that is detached from any account of the human good or human flourishing, the Kantian moral imperative is centrally concerned with protecting the value of human freedom.

    Kant’s fact of reason is not merely the byproduct of dogmatic circularity—i.e. the moral law is the law because it is the law. Instead, the fact of reason arises from a careful analysis of the faculties involved in moral decision-making. There is a way, then, for the Kantian moral philosophy to respond to the challenge of the moral skeptic, beyond mere bluster. A substantive response can be provided to those who claim that the fact of reason is

    an empty delusion and a chimerical concept. (GMS 4:402)

    The moral skeptic would find it difficult to deny the near universal—possible exceptions are people with mental handicaps—experience of a moral mandate that is independent any empirical motivations. Given this experience, it makes sense to posit that reason, the faculty from which this moral mandate emerges, is independent or autonomous. At the very least, we must say that we act as if reason is autonomous. Though it would go against Kantian epistemological limits to posit that we are free, it makes sense to claim that we act as if we are free. We conceive of ourselves as being able to make rational judgments that are not subject to shifting empirical circumstances. For example, though one is threatened with death if one does not spread a malicious lie, one would still, along with external observers, conceive of oneself as able to tell the truth in spite of the alignment of every empirical motive towards preserving one’s life. To claim that empirical motivations are fully in charge, and that whatever rationality we may have can be led into contradiction because it is subject to shifting empirical pressures, is to deny the basic phenomenology of moral decision-making. This phenomenology indicates that we are free, and so our moral reasoning must be such as to appeal to a free being—i.e. universal rules that are independent of any empirical context and so objectively valid for any rational agent.

    The independence of the rational principle means that it is not swayed by any empirical circumstances that may or may not happen to be present. The rational principle is objectively determining, precisely because it does not emerge from any circumstance that is peculiar to a particular person or group of people. It is of the essence of rationality to mandate consistency. A rationality that is schizophrenic, i.e. affirming contradictions, is not really rationality. At the bottom of every experience of moral decision-making, therefore, is a mandate for universalizability that is built into the nature of rationality and


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    which allows for the formulation of imperatives that are independent of any empirical context.

    The moral skeptic cannot merely shrug off these points. The moral skeptic cannot merely abandon, as something of limited relevance, a mandate that stems from his or her nature as a rational agent. Donald Regan argues that Kant does not sufficiently justify the idea that our rational nature has value. Seen in light of my arguments in this paper, Regan’s point would have to accept the radical idea that universally valid claims are interchangeable and have equal logical status to conditionally valid claims. Regan would also have to defend the equally radical idea that self-conscious deliberative agency, which seeks to square particular maxims with a call for universal validity, is indistinguishable in terms of value from blind surrender to empirical impulses (Regan 2002, 267). To abandon the universal principle of one’s rational nature, in the name of some non-rational empirical motive, is actually to surrender one’s rational agency to a mere impulse that is blind with respect any call to universalization. A nihilist might argue that surrendering one’s rational agency and blind impulse are, in terms of value, indistinguishable. But, it is also the case that a moral philosophy that predicates itself on a distinction between rational agency and blind impulse, and makes protection of the former central to its development of moral principles, is not dogmatic. The idea that rational agency and blind impulse are evaluatively indistinguishable is a radical claim. This idea would entail that an individual on a drunken rampage, or having an acute psychotic episode, is evaluatively indistinguishable from a bioethicist in a hospital, or a philosopher writing about the ethics of divorce. If there is dogmatism in grounding the fact of reason, there is no more dogmatism than in any human epistemological achievement, the finitude of which mandates the presence of axiomatic first principles. To return to Beck’s problem of external justification of the foundational principle of an ethical system, I have shown how the categorical imperative rests on foundational logical and evaluative principles. Objectively valid judgments supersede those that are subjectively valid, and deliberate agency has higher value than blind impulse. We can ask for justification of even these fundamental principles, but the fact that a moral theory relies on them does not make it dogmatic. Similarly, a proof in geometry is not dogmatic because it relies on fundamental definitions and principles, such as the idea that the angles of a triangle add up to one hundred and eighty degrees or that a line is the shortest distance between two points.

    One might account for the accusation of dogmatism that Žižek levels at Kant by noting that he fails to appreciate the kind of argument Kant is using. Žižek notes that Kant, in his doctrine of the fact of reason, strayed from the spirit of the Enlightenment. He writes,


    The ultimate paradox of Kant is this priority of practical over theoretical reason: we can free ourselves of external social constraints and achieve the maturity proper to the autonomous enlightened subject precisely by submitting to the ‘irrational’ compulsion of the categorical imperative. (Žižek 1989, 81)



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    In other words, the moment we begin to legislate maxims for our own behavior, rather than accept the norms of our society, we surrender to a new kind of irrationality. In realizing ourselves as agents who legislate maxims from our own reason, we begin to act from a moral law that compels obedience not because of any consequence associated with it but because of itself—i.e. its own intrinsic and mysterious power to compel.

    If one’s view of Enlightenment thinking is limited to evidence-based inductive reasoning—i.e. gathering observational data and then making generalizations based on this data—then the doctrine of the fact of reason surely does introduce an element of irrationalism that departs from the spirit of the Enlightenment. The argument I have developed, from the work of Kant, for the fact of reason, does not rely on the sort of scrupulous gathering of empirical data, and the formation of beliefs that is strictly proportioned to this empirical data, that we find in the methodology, for instance, of Francis Bacon (Bacon 1995, p. 39). An empirical, or a posteriori, argument for the moral law would rely on observed psychological phenomena, and deal with contingent features of human psychology, rather than features that are necessarily associated with rationality (Guyer 1989, p. 55). It is worth noting, though, that even an empirical argument for the moral law would have to presuppose axiomatic value claims. If, for instance, one were to measure moral claims in light of the empirical fact of the amount of happiness they produced, this sort of measurement would presuppose the value of human happiness.

    If the claim that the authority of the categorical imperative is nonsensical and dogmatic means that it lacks the sort of justification characteristic of an empirical argument, then this claim is correct. Žižek claims that the mandate of the categorical imperative is purely formal—that is, we are to obey the categorical imperative because it is the law, and not for reasons separate from the law itself (Žižek 1989, 82). An empirical argument would supply these reasons—for instance, by noting a correlation between obedience to the moral law and level of social cohesion.

    But rejecting the categorical imperative because its authority is presented in a way that is purely formal fails to take into account the possibility of an argument that is not empirical. The argument I developed for the moral law did not deal with observed psychological facts that occur in specific situations, like the level of happiness or social cohesion. The presence of a call to duty that goes against empirical motivations is presented as a universal feature of human moral phenomenology. The fact that rationality, having abstracted all empirical motivations, prescribes a rule that is independent of any particular empirical context and so universal, is also not a mere observed feature of human psychology in a particular situation. These are not contingent matters, but are necessary features rooted in the very nature of reason. Reason cannot be reason if it is merely subject to whatever empirical motivations happen to be in play. If reason involves a recognition of necessary and universal logical truths, then it has to transcend empirical motivations, which align with logical truths only haphazardly. So, instead of collecting empirical observations to ground the moral law, Kant grounds the moral in an a priori way in the nature of rationality (GMS 4:412).


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    Though there is no empirical argument for the fact of reason, then, there is a philosophical and a priori, i.e. independent of empirical observation, argument available. In fact, my argument for the fact of reason can redeem Kant from the distortions of a certain interpretation of his moral theory that is vulnerable to objections of formalism and rigorism. In this distorted interpretation, obedience to the moral law is justified merely insofar as it conforms to a dry and technical universalizability test, without regard to any substantive account of human value.4 We are to conform, moreover, to the dry logical demand of universalizability regardless of the particular contours of our individual situation. The moral law, in this distorted interpretation of Kant’s moral philosophy, consists in a merely logical exercise that is supposed to serve as our primary motivation, regardless of any concerns about human happiness or flourishing. My account, though, shows instead that Kant’s grounding of the moral imperative is centrally concerned with a substantive account of human value. The moral imperative represents, in my interpretation, a call to protect one’s rational nature, and the rational nature of other human beings. The Kantian moral imperative gives a privileged place to reason’s call to universalize its own judgments over the shifting and contradictory pressures of empirical motivations. We are not to subordinate our rational nature, or that of someone else, to some empirical objective, because it is rational nature that is the source of universal and objective worth, whereas empirical objectives can only have conditional worth. We are not to commit suicide, for instance, because suicide annihilates our rational nature for the sake of some empirical end,

    i.e. tranquility and/or cessation of pain. Suicide, then, gives a false priority to what has only conditional worth (cessation of pain is not an absolute good) over one’s rational faculty, which alone can ground that which has unconditional worth (i.e. a supreme moral principle that transcends all empirical circumstances). I have shown, then, a way in which Kant’s moral theory is not a merely abstract exercise in logic that is completely detached from a substantive account of human value. Instead, this moral theory is centrally predicated on an account of the value of the rational principle in human nature. This rational principle is, as I have stated, synonymous with human autonomy.