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Saturday, November 05, 2022


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>>My claim, of course, is that this empirical A1-R1 distinction is not the same as Kant's distinction between phenomena and things in themselves, and that anyone who, like Prichard, thinks otherwise has simply failed to understand what Kant is maintaining.<<

But Prichard’s whole argument is based on the insight that the ‘empirical’ distinction cannot be the same as Kant's distinction between phenomena and things in themselves. There can be no analogy. So Prichard has not failed, as you claim.

>>Kant's distinction between phenomena and things in themselves is the distinction between empirically real, intersubjectively accessible, public, causally interacting things in space and time, on the one hand, and those same things considered apart from the a priori conditions of our sensibility.

On the matter of textual interpretation, can you point me to any place where Kant uses terms like ‘public’ vs ‘private’, or ‘intersubjectively accessible’ etc? As I noted bfore, sensation cannot be intersubjectively accessible. But then you have to explain “I call that in the appearance which corresponds to sensation its matter, but that which allows the manifold of appearance to be intuited as ordered in certain relations I call the form of appearance.” (B34).

Kant’s motive is to explain how geometrical judgments can be a priori true. Can this circular yellow patch be numerically identical with the circular yellow patch that you intuit? No, according to Kant, because the ‘matter’ of the patch, its yellowness, is a private sensation. But the form of circularity is the same, and so in some sense we intuit the same form (of being circular).

>>Note also that to read Kant as if his phenomena (Erscheinungen) in space and time are private mental phenomena is to impute to him the sophomoric absurdity that mental data which are unextended are extended as they must be if they stand in physical relations.

That is how I read Kant. Again, if sensation is the matter of appearance, and if it is ‘in’ appearance, and if sensation is private and mental, then the form of appearance is the form of something mental.

Okay, I’ll bite and ask the question. Given that A1/R1 is not the same distinction between A2/R2, how can we meaningfully distinguish between A2 and R2? It seems that no such distinction is really possible. Take for example the scholastic principle that a thing Acts the way it Is, that Activities reveal Being. The A2 phenomena act temporally and spatially. Therefore their being (R2?) must also be spatial and temporal. The A2/R2 distinction, on a first glance, appears to be strictly speaking meaningless in the Wittgensteinian sense; we cannot say the words and refer to something meaningfully.
Of course, I raise this objection in the spirit of scholastic dispute. Refute away.

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