CHID495, Spr-2010 reading guide
Reading Guide: CPR, Transcendental Aesthetic <B>
Intuitions, Sensibility
-intuitions are that through which we have immediate relations to objects
-intuitions only relate to GIVEN objects
-thus, objects are given to us by our faculty of Sensibility (pure intuition), affording us empirical intuitions
For example, this mark
before you on the page (and all the other possible things you might indicate) are
not just raw, disconnected sensations – your Sensibility unifies the manifold of appearance (of all the matter that
is affecting you) into an experience of a given object of your attention
-sensation is matter affecting your Sensibility
-intuitions (of objects) are GIVEN by the Sensibility, but are thought THROUGH the Understanding (see
Transcendental Logic and Analytic for more on Understanding)
-in appearance, that which corresponds to sensation is called “matter” (only given a posteriori)
-in appearance, that which allows the manifold of appearance to be ordered is called the “form” (given a priori, via
The Pure Form of Sensibility
-in pure representations, nothing belongs to sensation (no experience is mixed in)
-is in the mind a priori, i.e., it belongs to our own particular constitution as a sensing being
-extension and form are examples of “pure intuition”
Transcendental Aesthetic
-is the science of “all principles of a priori sensibility”
-Transcendental Logic is the science of “all principles of pure thinking” (understanding)
-method of the Transcendental Aesthetic: we need to “isolate” Sensibility to empirical intuitions, then abstract
from empirical intuitions everything that has to do with sensation; the goal: the necessary forms of pure intuition
(aka. space and time)
§2 – Metaphysical Exposition of Space
Outer Sense vs. Inner Sense
-outer sense: the means of which, in the mind, we represent objects outside ourselves in space, thereby enabling
determinations of magnitude, shape, relations to other objects, etc.
-inner sense: the means by which the mind intuits itself (see below, §4+)
Metaphysical vs. Transcendental Exposition
-metaphysical: explains (analyzes) the CONCEPT; transcendental: explains concept as an enabling PRINCIPLE
-ME: how do we understand the concept distinctly? / TE: what follows as the necessary conditions of that
Space as a Concept
1) it is not an empirical concept (it is not a concept that corresponds to a physical object)
2) it is the ground of all outer intuitions (perceptions)
3) it is not discursive, general concept (i.e., of physical objects in general); it is singular; space, since it is not a
thing, cannot expand or be divided as a concept
4) it is represented as an infinite given magnitude
-the original representation of space is an a priori intuition, not a concept
-comment: our experience of space cannot be explained or derived by the concept of space (it must be a principle
of our capacity to determine spaces via Sensibility)
CHID495, Spr-2010 reading guide
§3 – Transcendental Exposition of Space
Space is a Pure Intuition; Form of Sensibility
-what must the representation of space be if Geometry is to be possible? (which by experience we know is
possible- we can do it!)
-we must have pure intuition of space, since, e.g. that the apodictic (demonstrable certainty) that
experienced/represent-able space has only 3 dimensions cannot be an empirical experience or inferred from
judgments of experience
a) space is not a property of things in themselves (it does not determine things in themselves as far as we can
b) space is the form of all appearances: the subjective condition of our Sensibility
Space: Empirically Real, Transcendentally Ideal
-ME/TE of space yield:
1) the empirical reality of space – it is the ground of all our possible empirical experiences
2) the transcendental ideality of space – it is nothing as soon as we take away the subjective conditions of possible
experience (it is a transcendental principle (as idea – i.e., not-representable/not a concept of an object) of
empirical intuitions, not a transcendent entity like a Platonic form)
§4 – Metaphysical Exposition of Time
Time as a Concept
1) it is not an empirical concept
2) it is a necessary ground of ALL intuitions; it is given a priori, and it enables all possible actuality of appearances
3) it grounds the possibility of apodictic principles of relations of time
4) it is not discursive; it is a pure form of intuition
5) the original representation of time is infinite/unlimited
§5 – Transcendental Exposition of Time
Time is a Pure Intuition; Form of Sensibility
-how is intuition of alteration (a change in the state of matter) possible?
-if time were not an a priori intuition, no comprehension of alterations would be possible
§6 – Conclusions from Analysis of concepts of Space and Time
a) time is not an objective property that exists in itself
b) time is the form of our inner sense (the intuition of our self and inner state)
c) time is the a priori formal condition of all appearances in general
-comment: time / inner sense is the IM-MEDIATE CONDTION of our intuition (of our soul, as a living being), but
also the MEDIATE CONDITION of outer all appearances in general (i.e. time also enables outer sense)
-like space in §3, it is empirically real, transcendentally ideal: it is valid for all objects given to sense, and if we
abstract intuition, it is nothing (it is “just” an idea, a relation)
§7 – Elucidation
-Kant’s theory admits empirical reality of space/time (that is, they are operative in our form of sensibility intuiting
empirical objects), but disallows absolute reality of them (that is, they are only ideal)
-popular argument against refusing absolute reality: alterations are real, and they can only occur in time,
therefore, time is real.
CHID495, Spr-2010 reading guide
-Kant: I agree, but empirical reality does not entail transcendental or absolute reality; the cause of this argument
is failure to understand that the outer and inner sense BOTH pertain ONLY to appearance (the reality of the
object in itself always remains problematic – a focus of inquiry and IDEAS only – not concepts)
-space/time are not subsisting (some kind of infinite/universal conceptual medium) or inhering (some kind of
essential property OF objects)
§8 – General Remarks
I. Clarifying Sensible Cognition
-objects abstracted from the mediation of our sensibility remain “entirely unknown to us” (unknown in the sense
of cognition in Kant’s meaning – this, recall, does not mean we cannot “think” or posit ideas about objects-inthemselves).
Comment: take, for example, the Large Hadron Collider. It is just one stage on the necessarily endless process of
inquiry into matter (in this case) which will yield new empirical cognitions of natural phenomena via its
technology, thereby enabling a new set of representations about which we can theorize or think; yet, the LHC, too,
will not yield some kind of final concept, since its achievement is new access into appearance (heretofore not
perceivable without LHC tech). However the tech represents its data, it will still be subject to our sensibility. No
tech can remove the mediations of our way of experiencing the empirical. Rather, the LHC will enable new, more
functional and comprehensible theories that have more explanatory power and efficacy for our use through the
new empirical intuitions it mediates.
-rationalists like Leibniz/Wolff thought sensation was just confused representations of things, whereas our logical
thought about them is clear and precise; it never occurred to them that there is a “logic” or form of sense; for Kant,
sense is important, and the belief that sense is “confused” is ridiculous – it is precise in what it does. The
intellectual and sensible distinction as merely “logical” must be rejected: they differ in content and origin (see
p.186, “The Leibnizian-Wolffian…”)
-the Transcendental Aesthetic is not an hypothesis, it is as certain a theory can get that could serve as a productive
-examples: concept of line, concept of 2; concept of line, concept of 3 – in the former, no way, through analysis of
the concepts to get to the impossibility of a figure (enclosure of space) without reference to empirical intuitions
(and hence dependent on space and time); similarly, in the latter, there is no way, through analysis of concepts, to
get to the possibility of a figure (triangle) without reference to intuitions.
II. Our Cognition is Representations of RELATIONS, not THINGS
III. Appearance does NOT mean Illusion
IV. On Natural Theology; Humans are not Capable of Intellectual Intuition
-natural theology attempts to think objects not only not Sensible (empirically intuit-able), but not Intuit-able at all
(purely intuit-able, that is, subject to the forms of space and time)
-our intuitions are derived, not original: we have no intellectual intuition