Kant on the Progression of Representation
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Recently, the key point of contention in Kant scholarship has revolved around a question concerning whether, for Kant, intuitions can play their role of presenting objects to the mind without the discursive activity of the intellect. According to 'conceptualist' interpretations, intuitions depend for their generation on the activity of the understanding. According to 'nonconceptualist' interpretations, at least some intuitions do not depend for their generation on the activity of the understanding. I argue that although the conceptualism/nonconceptualism debate has brought greater clarity to a number of issues within Kant's critical philosophy, the debate partially rests on a conflation of two importantly distinct representational states, namely 'intuition' [Anschaaung] and 'perception' [Wahrnehmung]. I argue that once this distinction is noted, many of the passages that would appear to threaten a nonconceptualist interpretation lose their force. In addition, I argue that if we understand the conceptualist claim in terms of the kind of structure a particular representational state possesses, then we have good reason to reject the idea that, for Kant, sensory experience is fundamentally conceptual in character.
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