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±±·
Time-consciousness in the Analogies
tion between di¬erent possible temporal points of view. But identity in
point of view across di¬erent temporal experiences does not entail that
the bearer of that identical point of view is the same individual through
those changes in point of view.
Instead of arguing that the self must be a persistent individual over
time, Kant argues that the self must experience persistent individuals in
order for it to be in a position to represent even its identity as a temporal
point of view. The self per se is only a form of experience. The self can
only identify and reidentify an individual across di¬erent spaces and
times if the individual is actually in space and time and hence distin-
guishable from the ¬rst-person point of view that the self must take on all
of its experience. Without locating itself in space and time, there is no
distinction for the self between a true or false judgment about its
persistence across time and space. But, in order to locate itself in space
and time, the self must be able to locate itself relative to other events in
space and time. Kant argues that, in order to be able to locate events
relative to other events, we need to have an experience of an object that
persists over di¬erent events and changes.
Since Kant™s argument for substance, and indeed for causation and
interaction, is limited to the way we must experience the world if we are
to have the kind of self-consciousness that is constitutive of being a ¬nite
rational creature, the argument is limited in its validity to the way
objects must appear to us in experience and hence to phenomenal
(spatio-temporal) substance and its states. The argument for phenom-
enal substance is synthetic. There must be something that one takes to
be the bearer of properties in order for one to have a thought of an
object at all. However, the characterization of the subject of a judgment
as a persistent object is a synthetic claim. It is only relative to the fact of
temporal experience that it makes sense to identify persistence or even
permanence as the criterion for being the kind of object properly
regarded as a bearer of properties. For it is clear that the general notion
of a bearer of properties does not require that the bearer persist over
time. The synthetic character of the argument is emphasized in a note of
Kant™s:

Between substance and accidens the logical relation is synthetic. The subject is
itself a predicate (for one can think of everything only through predicates with
the exception of I), but it is consequently only called a subject which is not a
predicate of anything further: ±, since no subject is thought with it; , since it is
the presupposition and substratum of the other. This latter can only be inferred
±± Kant and the demands of self-consciousness
from duration while the other is replaced. Therefore it belongs to the essence
:Wesen9 of a substance that it is persistent. If one supposes that substance
ceases to exist, then the cessation proves that it is not a substance, and since
therefore no substratum is thought of as belonging to this appearance, there are
predicates without a subject, therefore no judgments and no thoughts. (Re¬‚.
µ·, Ak. ©©©, p. ±)

Here Kant argues that the only thing that picks out a substance in
experience is something persistent. What makes the substance an appro-
priate object to be represented by a logical subject, as opposed to a
logical predicate, is that it involves something that persists which then
serves as the real subject or bearer of change. There is nothing in the
meaning of a subject that requires one to think of subjects as things that
persist. Yet, once the notion of substance is interpreted as a spatio-
temporal bearer of properties, then persistence over time is analytic to
the enriched notion of substance that only properly applies to objects of
experience ( ±/ ·).
In arguing that experience requires the notion of a permanent sub-
stance, the First Analogy takes the passage of time that displays itself in
the successiveness of our experiences as a datum. It then attempts to
explain how our experience of passage is possible by appeal to the
existence of permanent substances. The passage of time is marked by
the persistence of temporal order through the shifting successive nows of
apprehension. This allows Kant to argue that time as form of intuition
serves as a persistent substrate for the representation of coexistence and
succession which are determinations of time. Kant insists that time as
the form of experience itself cannot undergo succession ( ±/ ).
Time cannot come to be or pass away, for that would require some
further temporal series relative to which it would make sense to say that
time had come to be or passed away. Insofar as time is the order of
things relative to which change occurs, time cannot be thought to
change on pain of an in¬nite regress. If time were to change, a further
time would always be required relative to which that time could be said
to change. We must think of the temporal order relative to which
change occurs as a tenseless ordering of events according to relations of
earlier, later, and simultaneous. For only such an order is not subject to
succession, since it does not involve a distinction between past, present,
and future.
Since tenseless temporal relations are independent of the shifting
perspective of the present or now, they are not subject to succession.
However, in addition to tenseless temporal relations that are indepen-
±±
Time-consciousness in the Analogies
dent of temporal perspective, there are also inherently perspectival
temporal episodes. There are also the di¬erent nows of apprehension
that replace each other successively. These nows of apprehension are
inherently perspectival, because each state of consciousness picks out its
own distinctive now and that now is the only now that is now for it.
Kant™s initially puzzling remark that time ˜˜as the permanent form of
inner intuition™™ is the ˜˜substrate in which alone simultaneity and
succession can be represented™™ ( ) can be explained. The perma-
nence of temporal order is the way in which the (now independent)
tenseless order of time manifests itself in the successiveness of the
now-series of apprehension.
Kant assumes that we can only perceive objects of experience and
their properties, and not times (or spaces for that matter) themselves.
Times and spaces are only observable by us in terms of the changes in
temporal or spatial position of objects that occupy time and space. From
the fact that time and space are not directly observable, but only
observable through changes in the position of objects in space and time,
Kant concludes that there must be something persistent in the objects of
perception (empirical objects) that allows time (and space) to be repre-
sented, if they are to be represented at all. This persistent something
must survive the successive replacement of the individual nows of
perceptual apprehension. Replacement and coexistence is perceptible
only through the relation of objects of experience to this persistent
object of experience.
We perceive objects. In order, however, to be able to perceive change
or coexistence it must be relative to some perceptible object. Substance
is the persistent substrate of all objects of experience. Substance is not
itself perceptible, but it is that in virtue of which the persistence and
change of perceptible objects can be determined. It is that in those
objects of experience that always remains the same and unchanged.
According to Paul Guyer, there is no compelling reason why perma-
nence in something that is not itself perceptible must be represented by
permanence in something perceptible. After all, Kant distinguishes
between the representation of something permanent and a permanent
representation ( ¬©©©) in the context of articulating his argument
against idealism. The fact that there is no general principle that proper-
ties of what is represented must mirror those of what represents them
would pose a problem were it not for the fact that Kant does not argue
directly from the fact that time is permanent to the permanence of the
substrate that represents it. Instead, Kant argues for the existence of
±° Kant and the demands of self-consciousness
something in objects of experience that allows one to determine whether
two objects of experience coexist or exist one after the other. This also
explains why the detour through the permanence of substance is re-
quired despite the fact that our knowledge that substances are perma-
nent or even persistent in some weaker sense is not immediate, but
inferential. The point is not about the need for a permanent representa-
tion to represent something permanent. It turns on how the relations of
something can be known that is not itself perceptible. Guyer™s second
objection is that Kant shifts from treating substance as something that
serves to represent the permanence of time to something that is the
bearer of properties. But the point of Kant™s argument is that time must
be represented through objects of experience by something that allows
one to determine what the temporal relations between objects are
empirically, and this is whatever it is that counts as the bearer of
properties.
If something comes to be, a point in time must precede it in which it
did not exist. Again, if something passes out of existence, it must pass out
of existence at a certain time. To determine that something has come to
be or passed away we must be able to say when such a coming to be or
passing away occurred. We need a procedure for assigning a certain
time to the event immediately before or after a putative coming to be or
passing away. But, if all changes were becomings and passings away, in
other words, if all changes were existence-changes, rather than the
replacement of accidents that themselves belong to persistent substan-
ces, we could not perceive or empirically determine that a change has
occurred at all.
We can assume for the sake of argument that a change is a bona ¬de
case of the coming into being of something out of nothing, or the passing
out of existence of something. What problem arises in this case? If there
is no object that persists through a change, if the change is a genuine
case of coming to be or passing away, that is, a case of something that
comes to be out of nothing or passes away into nothing, rather than a
change in the state of something that continues to persist, it seems to be
impossible to determine whether a change of any kind has occurred at
all.
A basic assumption of the argument is that all changes must be
empirically determinable. The assumption depends on a principle of
empirical signi¬cance that is not universally accepted. It is just not
obvious that in order for there to be a certain change that change must
be empirically knowable. This is an assumption that a metaphysical or
±±
Time-consciousness in the Analogies
transcendental realist will simply reject. Kant thinks that all non-logical
meaning derives from experience, and from this principle he infers the
principle that all cognitively signi¬cant claims must have empirical
signi¬cance, but his ultimate reason for accepting the principle of
empirical signi¬cance is his transcendental idealism. In respect to ap-
pearances, one can show that all changes must be changes in the state of
something that persists, for appearances themselves have existence only
relative to the possibility of being recognized to be thus and such by us.
Such an argument will not go through for things in general. For we
cannot infer with respect to any thing at all that its change must be
observable, unless, as Kant argues, the only things that can undergo
changes are things that undergo changes that are necessarily determin-
able by us.
There is no reason why the changes of things in general must be
within our ken unless the very notion of change is tied to time and the
structure of time turns out to be somehow necessarily mind-dependent,
as Kant argues in the Transcendental Aesthetic. Kant™s assumption that
we need to appeal to the fact that time is a structure of the human mind
is why he thinks that all ˜˜dogmatic™™ attempts to argue for the necessity
that there are substances are doomed to failure ( ±/ ). Absent
transcendental idealist assumptions, there is no contradiction in the
general idea of an unobservable change. It is arguable, however, that
there is a contradiction in thinking of an object of experience as
something that undergoes unobservable changes. And we can defend
the determinability of changes in objects belonging to experience even if
we reject the further Kantian claim that there are no changes at all that
could occur independently of experience.
Even if one grants Kant™s assumption that changes in objects of
experience must be determinable, the argument is still open to an
objection that may seem to be fatal. It proves, at best, that there must be
things that persist through some interval; it does not prove that there are
any things that must endure forever. Most of the spatio-temporal
continuants with which one is familiar in everyday life and even in the
most arcane domains of natural science are particulars of ¬nite duration
that come and go against a background of relatively persistent objects.
Such continuants suggest the idea of permanence to us only because of
their relative longevity. Not only animal bodies, trees, tables, and chairs,
but also mountains, continents, and electrons are only relatively perma-
nent. All of these things undergo change or transformation over time.
Eventually they disappear altogether. This raises the question of
± Kant and the demands of self-consciousness
whether anything lasts forever at all. Relative persistence seems to be
possible without permanence or absolute persistence.
Kant implies that recognizable changes must be construed as changes
in the accidents of substances. But additional argument is needed to
show that some kind of replacement could not be perceived or otherwise
observed to occur in the same perceptual ¬elds as substances (of ¬nite or
in¬nite duration) without that replacement itself being a change in state
of a substance that endures. Strawson makes the prima-facie compelling
objection that changes could be observable against the background of
persistent objects of which they are not themselves the states. Each of the
objects could then persist through some time without persisting through
all of time. This would allow for the possibility of objects coming into
being and passing out of being, while also providing for the possibility
that objects persist over restricted stretches of time. The problem with
Strawson™s objection is that it assumes that we already have some way of
determining which states of things coexist in the same space at the same
time. Appealing to relatively persistent things in the surrounding space
will only help us in determining whether a change has occurred or not if
we already know which states of those things are simultaneous with a
putative change in state of some other thing. But the spatial relations
between things and their states are no more observable independently of
the things that occupy a certain position in space, than are the temporal
relations between things and their states. In order to relate one event to
another event in space we must already be able to link the one space
with the other space at one time or at another time. But we can only do
this if there is something that empirically distinguishes the one space and
time from the other space and time. But empirical content to distinguish
di¬erent spaces and times is only helpful to us to the extent that such
content also links spatial and temporal positions together in such a way
that we can actually distinguish them from each other.
It seems at ¬rst rather easy to dismiss the worry about how to
determine the spatial or temporal position of objects or of their states.
We do, after all, simultaneously perceive things in space. But there will
always be a further question as to whether the things that we observe as
simultaneous are indeed simultaneous and in the position in which we
perceive them. We can only resolve this question if we know what their
objective position in time and space is. But we can only determine that
position if we are able empirically to distinguish one time and space
from another, and relate those individual times and spaces to public
space and time as a whole. If relatively persistent objects come to be and
±
Time-consciousness in the Analogies
pass away, there will be nothing that distinguishes the spatio-temporal
point at which they come to be or pass away and hence no way of linking
them determinately to other objects that come to be and pass away. This
is a powerful argument so long as one accepts the idea that spaces and
times must be precisely distinguishable. But, plausible as the assumption
is that spaces and times are always empirically precisely distinguishable,
it is an assumption one could reject. And, in fact, it is an assumption
rejected by quantum mechanics. But, even if it is not true that we can
assign a completely determinate spatial or temporal position to all
objects, it does seem plausible to argue that most of the objects that we
experience must be such that we can precisely determine their spatial
and temporal position.
Now Kant does not just wish to argue that spaces and times are
empirically distinguishable, he also wants to claim that empirically
distinguishable spaces and times all belong to one space and time. But if
some substances were to come to be and others were to pass away, then
the empirical unity of space and time would be disrupted. Space and
time would break up into di¬erent parallel and partially, or perhaps
even wholly, disconnected spatial and temporal series. Kant makes the
point explicitly with respect to time:

Substances (in appearance) are the substrates of all time-determination. The
coming to be of some and the passing of others of these [substances in
appearance] would eliminate the sole condition of the empirical unity of time
and the appearances would then relate to two di¬erent times in which existence
would ¬‚ow on; which is absurd. For there is only One time in which all di¬erent
times must be positioned, not contemporaneously, but after each other. (
±“±/ ±“)

We give empirical signi¬cance to temporal sequence by means of
objects that occupy di¬erent times. In coming to be, a new substance
gives rise to a new sequence of events in time. In passing away, it ends a
sequence of temporal events. But, if there is nothing in experience that
allows one to justify a judgment to the e¬ect that one sequence of events
is temporally (and spatially) connected to another sequence of events in
a certain way, then the commitment to be able to justify the judgments
that one makes will not be satis¬able with respect to such temporal
sequences. One will have no reason to think that we are experiencing
objects that belong to the same time at all. We will then have the
apparent ˜˜absurdity™™ that time is not inherently unitary.
The reason Kant seems to think this is absurd is that he is convinced
± Kant and the demands of self-consciousness
that no empirical evidence could be su¬ciently compelling to force us to
give up our ability to make determinate statements about whether an
object existed in a time during which it was not directly observed. Kant
assumes that we would not be able to make out the laws governing
interaction between the two time-systems. This would make it impossi-
ble to con¬rm or discon¬rm claims about objects outside of one™s direct
perceptual ¬eld. Kant seems to be right that changes in the intersubjec-
tively available perceptual objects of our experience must, in principle,
be subject to con¬rmation and discon¬rmation. Such perceptual objects
must therefore be thought of as states of objects that persist throughout
time. This makes it tempting to think of the objects of physical science as
sempiternal particulars. Now, even if the objects of physical science are
sempiternal particulars, such as quantities of energy, we could still make
sense of the notion of di¬erent disconnected physical times, if we could
formulate laws linking physically discontinuous times.
The existence of singularities in space and time would seem to call
into question the strong claims that Kant wishes to make about the unity
of physical space and time. Such singularities are not only generally
accepted to be empirically veri¬able. There is also widespread belief
among astrophysicists and astronomers that we have su¬cient evidence
to warrant the assumption that they do, in fact, exist. But the possibility
of independent time-systems need not undermine the assumption that
there are persistent substances. For it might be argued from Kantian
premises that the empirical knowability of di¬erent time-systems must
itself presuppose the existence of substances that persist through
changes from one time-system to another. This may also be given the
alternative formulation that every empirically signi¬cant event must
have a cause that is, in principle, knowable. Our ability to identify causal
laws operating between di¬erent time-systems, and hence to provide a
su¬ciently rich notion of the relation of our own time-system to another
time-system to warrant its acceptance as an empirical possibility, pre-
supposes something that persists through the change from one time-
system to the other. One will have to give up the assumption of
spatio-temporal continuity. But whatever comes into being in one
time-system will have to be numerically identical with what has passed
out of being in the other time-system. Without this numerical identity,
there is no empirical basis for the assumption that there are two distinct
time-systems. Thus, one might be able to defend Kant™s claim that there
must be an empirical unity to time, without also accepting his claim that
time is a single unique whole. Alternative time-systems depend for their
±µ
Time-consciousness in the Analogies
empirical signi¬cance on something that can be taken to be a numeri-
cally identical particular. The particular in question must be both
distinct from self-consciousness and systematically representable in such
a manner that the conditions governing self-ascription of representa-
tions are satis¬ed. Thus, even if the uniqueness of the one space and
time with which we are familiar in our experience does support the
notion of permanent substance, the notion of permanent substance
seems to allow for more recondite versions of spatio-temporal unity than
Kant believed to be possible.
The argument for the persistence of substance involves several dis-
tinct ideas. The ¬rst idea is that every time and every space is distin-
guishable from every other because of the fact that it is occupied by
something that ¬lls it. There is also the idea that these spaces and times
are connected by means of particulars that must be numerically ident-
ical over all time. Kant expresses these ideas in the following passage:
˜˜Now time cannot be perceived on its own. Therefore the substrate that
represents time in general, and on which all change or contempor-
aneousness can be perceived through the relationship of the appearan-
ces to it [the substrate] in apprehension must be encountered in the
objects of perception, that is, the appearances™™ ( µ). In the second
edition of the Critique, Kant tries to link the idea that there are numeri-
cally identical particulars to the conservation of whatever it is that makes
these particulars what they are. He insists that the ˜˜quantum™™ of
whatever serves as the real substrate of change cannot be ˜˜increased or
diminished™™ ( µ).The conclusion that some quantity must be conser-
ved in nature has been repeatedly excoriated for importing a conserva-
tion principle of Newtonian mechanics into a discussion of transcenden-
tal conditions on the possibility of experience.µ While I think that this
criticism misses the mark, his argument for the conservation of the
quantity of matter in the universe must ultimately be regarded as a
failure.
In the Critique no argument is articulated for the conservation of the
number of substances; Kant simply concludes that the number (quan-
tum) of substances must remain constant in the universe from the
assumption that substance does not undergo replacement change. How-
ever, an argument which moves from the premise that phenomenal
substance cannot undergo replacement to the conservation of the quan-
tum of that phenomenal substance is to be found in the Metaphysical
Foundations written between the ¬rst and second editions of the Critique.
Presumably, Kant™s re¬‚ection on arguments concerned speci¬cally with
± Kant and the demands of self-consciousness
the conservation of matter motivated his decision to include the new
claim in the revised edition of the First Analogy. Appealing to the
arguments in the Metaphysical Foundations, many interpreters have now
found the argument for the conservation of the quantity of substances
more promising.
Kant maintains that the only thing that can strictly satisfy the demand
for numerical and qualitative identity in experience is material sub-
stance. This is because material substance is the only thing that has
wholly external relations to its parts and to all other things. It is also the
only thing that is subject to quanti¬able and lawlike relations according
to the preface of the Metaphysical Foundations (Ak ©, p. ·±). Kant is
attracted to the idea that in a material substance all di¬erences in
intensive magnitude would reduce to di¬erences in extensive magnitude
and, indeed, to the number of substantial material units of which a thing
is composed. According to the Metaphysical Foundations (Ak. ©, p. µ), if
substance is construed as what is movable in space, then quantity of
substance will be the number of substances in that space. The quantity
of something that is purely spatial will depend only on the number of
parts it has, all of which are related to each other externally and
spatially. But, if these parts are to be real parts, they must be movable
parts, and, if they are movable parts, they may be said to be corporeal
substances. Kant concludes that if substance is conserved, and the
movable in space is substance, then the quantity of the movable in space
must also be preserved. If the quantity of substance (insofar as it is the
movable in space) were either to diminish or increase, then the substan-
ces which make up what is real in space would have either to come to be
or pass away. Such becoming is precluded by the general argument for
the conservation of substance.
Kant thinks that the conservation argument will not go through with
respect to everything that undergoes change. The intensity or magni-
tude of consciousness is not dependent on the quantity of mental
substances of which that consciousness is composed. Consciousness can
increase or decrease in magnitude without the coming to be or passing

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