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judgment involves an implicit or explicit commitment on the part of the
person who forms the judgment that things are thus and such for him,
her, or it. At the same time, judgment also presupposes an impersonal
self-consciousness, for when one makes a judgment one makes an
assertion to the e¬ect that things are thus and such not only for one as
the particular individual that one is, but that, in principle, things should
be taken as thus and such by anyone.
At least some implicit consciousness of self is built into the normative
commitment that a judger takes on for her-, him-, or itself. To judge is to
place oneself in the space of reasons and thus to take on a commitment
to o¬er reasons for what one judges to be the case. But this means that,
in making a judgment, the judger implicitly takes her-, him-, or itself to
be not just conforming to rules but also tacitly or overtly obeying rules.
Kant links the capacity for obeying rules that we display in our ability to
use concepts to pick out and characterize objects not only with our
capacity for judgment, but also with our capacity for self-consciousness.
To have an idea that an individual is obeying rather than merely
conforming to norms of which s/he has no implicit or explicit under-
standing, we must regard her or his point of view as one that we might
be able to occupy in obeying the rules that we do. This is just to attribute
the capacity for self-consciousness to those creatures.
Bona ¬de norms must be principles that the individual can come to
 Kant and the demands of self-consciousness
understand as the basis for his or her behavior, and they must be
principles that the individual can come to see him- or herself as having
chosen to be bound by in his or her behavior. Such capacity for choice is
what Kant refers to as ˜˜spontaneity.™™ He regards it as a distinctive
feature of rational and hence self-conscious beings. Such creatures are
rational because they can assume responsibility for their own represen-
tations. It is this capacity to take responsibility that is the basis for their
possession of full-¬‚edged beliefs. To have full-¬‚edged beliefs, one must
be able to take something to be true. And, in order to be able to take
something to be true, one must be able to form one™s belief in accord-
ance with norms that licence one to take as true what one takes as true.
In forming a judgment, the individual is not merely stating a fact
about the way that individual interprets matters, the individual is also
making a claim that others ought to interpret things in the same way.
The individual is thus committing him-, her-, or itself to the possibility of
providing reasons for why he, she, or it has judged in that way rather
than in another way. These reasons operate as norms governing the
judgments in question. Norms are principles governing the responses of
individuals that apply to individuals in di¬erent situations.
Now it has often been claimed that normativity could stop at the level
of what a certain group or community takes to be true. While a view of
normativity that stops at the group allows for a shared communal point
of view relative to which individuals could be said to be right or wrong, it
fails to address the implicit claim of the group or community to articu-
late standards that hold for them not because they are the ones that they
do use but because those standards are the correct ones to adopt. A
con¬‚ict of belief or values between di¬erent communities is only intelli-
gible if the respective communities take themselves to be committed to
something that is not merely true or of value for them. Even if these
di¬erent communities see no way of establishing the validity of their
own point of view to the satisfaction of the other point of view, they still
must recognize the possibility of some encompassing perspective from
which their own view, in principle, could be justi¬ed. Thus, the norma-
tive commitment to truth requires the possibility of an impersonal point
of view, even if the point of view in question is not one that is ever
actually held by any person or group of persons.
Generalizing the point, we may say that, in order for one to be able to
recognize norms as norms governing one™s behavior, one must be able
to recognize principles that transcend a particular point of view. These
principles that transcend a particular point of view depend on one™s

Introduction
ability to recognize not only one™s own point of view, but also the
possibility of other points of view to which those norms apply. For this,
one must have some understanding of what it would be like to be an
individual with such a distinct point of view governed by norms. But, in
order for one to be able to represent the possibility of another point of
view that is subject to the same principles to which one™s own point of
view is subject, one must be able to abstract from what is distinctive
about one™s own point of view. One must be able to place oneself in
thought or imagination in the position of another and re¬‚ect on what
things would be like from that alternative standpoint.
The self-consciousness expressed by the proposition ˜˜I think™™ pro-
vides each of us with an impersonal or, rather, transpersonal perspective
from which we are able to consider ourselves and others. The transper-
sonal perspective is just the way that we represent our own activities as
particular individuals to the extent that those activities are constrained
by norms that apply to absolutely all of us. These norms place us in the
space of reasons. This is why Kant insists that our only grip on the
notion of a rational being is through our ability to place ourselves in the
position of another creature. We are able to do this through the abstract
representation of self that we have in the self-consciousness expressed by
the proposition ˜˜I think.™™

 µ  ¬ © ®   ¦     § µ   ® 
My task in this book is ¬rst to show how Kant understands the notion of
transcendental self-consciousness. In the process, I distinguish his
understanding of this notion from the understanding of it provided by
other commentators. Then I develop the implications for an under-
standing of the general structure of experience that are inherent in the
notion of transcendental self-consciousness. I focus on the role that
transcendental self-consciousness has in connecting di¬erent spatial and
temporal episodes together in a single experience. This experience is
distinctive in that it is not the private experience of an individual, but, in
principle, is accessible to absolutely all of us. To clarify Kant™s concep-
tion of transcendental self-consciousness, I begin with a discussion of the
texts in the Critique of Pure Reason in which Kant ¬rst articulates the
notion of self-consciousness.
Kant introduces his distinction between empirical and non-empirical
self-consciousness in the ¬rst edition of the Transcendental Deduction
as a way of arguing for the claim that we have non-empirical concepts
±° Kant and the demands of self-consciousness
that may legitimately be applied to experience. In the A-Deduction,
Kant tries to establish that all contents of experience depend for their
very existence on the possibility of connecting them together in a
representation of self that is neutral with respect to the di¬erent contents
of experience. He argues that this is only possible to the extent to which
such contents of experience are subject to rules that connect those
representations together independently of experience. He refers to these
rules governing the possibility of an impersonal representation of self as
the categories of the pure understanding. The Transcendental Deduc-
tion is concerned with proving that such rules are bona ¬de rules in that
they must actually apply to all experience. In proving that there are
necessary and universally applicable rules governing experience, the
Deduction also provides a defense of objectivity. For such rules allow us
to form judgments about the objects of experience that must be true not
just for me or you, but for anyone.
In the next chapter, I argue that the notion of transcendental apper-
ception that is introduced in the A-Deduction is not to be understood as
a representation of personal identity. Instead, it is to be understood as a
condition under which it is possible for us to form concepts of objects. As
such, it is a representation of self that is the same for all of us. I criticize
contemporary interpretations of transcendental self-consciousness as a
kind of a priori certainty of personal identity, and argue that Kant was
not concerned with providing a direct response to Hume™s worries
about personal identity. Instead, Kant introduces his impersonal con-
sciousness of self as a condition for the formation of concepts of experi-
ence. I argue that the success of this argument depends on conceiving of
concept use and representation in general as representing the world in a
way that is the same for all individuals and that is also inherently
systematic.
We represent items against a background of other representations
that give those representations their distinctive content. If representa-
tions are to belong together in an impersonal self-consciousness, they
must be connectable according to rules that allow us to represent
ourselves as having the same point of view irrespective of the di¬erences
in representational content that distinguish those representations from
each other. These rules have a cognitive content that is the same for all
of us under all circumstances because that cognitive content is deter-
mined by the inherently systematic and standpoint-neutral notion of
functional role in judgment and inference.
A number of contemporary interpreters have understood Kant to be
±±
Introduction
a functionalist about the self and the mind. I argue that Kant can only
be regarded as a functionalist in a very circumspect sense; he is con-
cerned with cognitive content as constituted by the functional role of
such content in judgment and inference. Thus, unlike most contempor-
ary functionalists, and contra most functionalist interpretations of Kant, I
argue that Kant only regards the mind as a functional system with
respect to the contribution of the active, spontaneous, aspect of the
mind, rather than with its passive dependence on causal relations
between representational contents.
In chapter three, I argue that Kant™s conception of the point of view
from which content is to be ascribed is based on his rejection of Hume™s
fundamental assumption that experience consists only of similarity
relations between numerically distinct perceivings. Kant argues that the
possibility of being conscious of one™s self-identity as a self-conscious
being is the basis for any conceptual recognition. He also plausibly
argues that conceptual recognition of an object must be possible if any
signi¬cant similarity relations are to be discerned. Without self-con-
sciousness one would not be able to distinguish a successful from an
unsuccessful recognition of an item by means of a concept, for one
would have no conception of the possibility that the item might present
itself to oneself in a way that is other than it is. And, without the
possibility of distinguishing unsuccessful from successful recognition,
there would be no basis for claiming that one had picked out relevant
similarities in experience either.
The associationist conception of experience developed by British
empiricism depends on the idea that we can have a brute recognition of
similarities without any underlying capacity for representing our ident-
ity as thinkers. I argue that Kant was right that this idea of brute
recognition will not work. The postulation of a brute capacity for
recognition fails to do justice to the normative character of recognition,
that is, that recognition can be successful or unsuccessful. Our associ-
ations cannot be completely random if they are to account for our
awareness of any regularities in experience.
I note that there are ¬rst-order rules that allow us to compare and
contrast various perceptual representations and represent them in a
standpoint-neutral way. These rules are what Kant calls empirical
concepts. There are also, however, second-order non-empirical con-
cepts that make it possible for us to form empirical concepts. These
second-order concepts dictate that nature must have the kind of uni-
formity that allows one to connect distinct representations together in
± Kant and the demands of self-consciousness
one possible self-conscious experience. They are what Kant refers to as
the categories. The categories are su¬cient to establish a general uni-
formity in nature. But they do not tell us what particular form such
uniformity must take. They do not tell us which particular laws nature
must obey.
This is why our ability to apply second-order concepts or categories to
experience is governed by still higher-order concepts, which Kant refers
to as ideas of reason. Such ideas of reason project a certain kind of
systematic unity onto the whole of nature and thus allow us to identify
the particular forms of regularity required for the formation of particu-
lar empirical concepts. We apply concepts to experience in ways that
always involve some implicit commitments to how other concepts are to
be understood. It is only through such systematic representational
commitments that we are able to distinguish representations that are
true of their objects from those that are not. For our only grip on objects
that are independent of us is through our capacity systematically to
apply the concepts that we have to experience. We have this capacity
systematically to articulate and apply concepts because we are able to
connect di¬erent concepts together in an impersonal representation of
their di¬erent contents that expresses what they ought to represent for
anyone.
In chapter four, I take up the relation of thought and judgment to the
self-consciousness expressed in the proposition ˜˜I think.™™ Here, I focus
on the revised argument of the B-Deduction.The B-Deduction makes
the connection between being a potential candidate for impersonal
self-consciousness and being a potential candidate for judgment explicit
in a way that is lacking in the A-Deduction. First, I note the importance
of the proposition ˜˜I think™™ for cognitively relevant content. I note that
contents of representation are cognitively relevant to us inasmuch as
they can be thought by us. This means that contents of representation
are cognitively signi¬cant for us insofar as they are potential candidates
for judgment. I then develop Kant™s argument that anything that can be
thought by us has a relation to a possible self-consciousness ˜˜I think™™ in
virtue of the enabling role of such self-consciousness in the formation of
concepts and judgments.
Representations have relations to each other that are based on the
identity and di¬erences between the objects that they represent. The
most crucial of these relations are ones that preserve the truth of a
representation. Here, the truth of a representation consists in a repre-
sentation representing its intended object as that object is independently
±
Introduction
of that representation. Truth is particularly what is at issue when we
make a judgment or claim. And truth is preserved between the contents
of representations by means of logical relations. These logical relations
constitute the most general conditions under which we can ascribe
content to representations. These most general conditions for content
ascription are the most abstract conceptual conditions governing the
possibility of self-consciousness.
I argue that the key to an understanding of the intellectual pre-
conditions on representation is the constitutive role that both personal
(empirical) and impersonal (transcendental) consciousness of self play in
our capacity to form concepts and articulate them in judgments. Any-
thing that is to be a concept must be such that it is capable of articulating
some content in a way that is in principle accessible to any one of us and,
indeed, all of us. This capacity to represent things in a person-neutral
way needs to be displayed in judgments that have a truth value that
purports to be independent of the way a particular individual happens
to respond to a particular situation. In judgments, we are able to use
concepts to make objective claims that purport to be true not only for
me or you, but for anyone.
Kant maintains that representations must be potential candidates for
inclusion in a consciousness of oneself that potentially includes all
possible representations; This universal self-consciousness is a possible
although never actual co-consciousness of all of one™s representations.
One never actually surveys all of one™s representations, much less all
possible representations; instead one is able to represent their distinctive
contents by connecting them according to rules that have an implicit
reference back to oneself as subject of thought. This implicit self-
reference is needed for rules constituting the cognitive signi¬cance of
various contents, because representations have cognitive signi¬cance
only to the extent that they are potential candidates for comparison and
contrast by some subject. To be compared and contrasted by a subject
they must present themselves to that subject, and, as such, they must be
something for that subject. The demand that all representations be
potential candidates for self-consciousness is the basis for a claim that all
represented objects stand under the normative constraint of being
potential objects of judgment. As objects of judgment that purport to
have objective validity, represented objects may be regarded as objec-
tive. Even judgments concerning subjective states must have objective
import; this leads to the problem of how to ¬nd a place for knowledge of
subjective states.
± Kant and the demands of self-consciousness
In chapter ¬ve, I argue that Kant is forced to introduce a second step
in the proof to explain how knowledge of even subjective states is
possible. He ¬rst argues that our knowledge of objects is restricted to
spatio-temporal objects. Then, he argues that even our inner states that
are temporal depend on the existence of outer states that are spatial.
The dependence of inner experience on outer experience allows him to
argue that even our perceptions and other inner episodes are subject to
the same necessary conditions to which intersubjectively available ob-
jects must be subject. This is because even our perceptions provide us
with a way of representing the spatio-temporal world from a certain
point of view only because they can be integrated into an impersonal
and hence objective way of representing the spatio-temporal world for
any arbitrary perceiver. The key here is to understand the manner in
which not only empirical self-consciousness, but also representation in
general, depend on transcendental self-consciousness and thus allow for
judgments concerning even one™s subjective states.
The argument that self-consciousness is a source of substantive con-
straints on experience depends on something more than the very gen-
eral idea that we are capable of forming concepts and making judg-
ments. Kant™s argument for objectivity from the postulation of a non-
empirical self-consciousness depends essentially on the assumption that
we must represent the world temporally because this is constitutive of
our very conception of what is internal to our own point of view.
Non-empirical consciousness of self is introduced as an enabling condi-
tion of our necessary temporal representation of our experiences.
The idea that all experiences have a temporal structure must be
linked to more general conceptual constraints on experience. First it
must be seen that we are able to think of representations as being in time
because we can order those representations in such a way that we can
ascribe them to di¬erent individuals who have sets of experiences that
constitute di¬erent temporal series. These di¬erent temporal series can
only be compared and contrasted with each other to the extent that they
may be regarded as belonging to a single shared time. This single shared
time is the temporal form that di¬erent experiences have in virtue of
belonging to one possible impersonal self-consciousness.
The only way we can account for the regularities in what we perceive
is in terms of the assumption that what we are perceiving is connected to
what we would perceive from a di¬erent spatio-temporal point of view
according to laws. It is di¬cult, if not impossible, to identify any laws
connecting sense perception to various kinds of objects. The laws in
±µ
Introduction
question must therefore be laws governing the objects that we perceive
independently of their being perceived. The problem here is that we
have knowledge of the objects perceived only through our perceptions.
Kant argues that this problem can be resolved once we realize that the
laws governing the objects perceived and indeed governing our associ-
ations of di¬erent perceptions are nothing but the uni¬ability of di¬er-
ent perceptions in an impersonal self-consciousness. This uni¬ability of
perceptions in an impersonal self-consciousness is just the idea that
di¬erent perceptions are connected in an individual consciousness in the
same way that they ought to be connected in any consciousness that
perceives or represents things as they are independently of that con-
sciousness.The regularities in experience that present themselves to all
of us as self-conscious beings re¬‚ect our ability to combine representa-
tions together in consciousness in a manner that is not unique to each
individual. It is in virtue of such impersonal consciousness of self that we
are able to form empirical concepts of the objects that we perceive and
are then able to apply those concepts to what we perceive.
In chapter six, I discuss the theory of time-determination developed
in the Analogies of Experience. It works out the implications of the idea
adumbrated in the Deduction that the unity of space and time (as forms
according to which we distinguish the outer from the inner) is a function
of the systematic relations that the di¬erent spaces and times represen-
ted by di¬erent possible individuals have to a possible self-conscious-
ness. Kant™s general idea that spatio-temporal representations must
make a di¬erential contribution to consciousness if they are to belong to
the experiences of a self-conscious being is the basis for the general
assumption of the Analogies that times and spaces must be empirically
distinguishable. In the First Analogy, Kant defends the need to postulate
sempiternal substances as the basis for recognizing changes in objects of
experience. These substances underwrite our ability to ascribe a deter-
minate position in time and space to representations and objects repre-
sented by us. For we have knowledge of positions in time and space only
through di¬erences that can be made out in what we experience. These
di¬erences manifest themselves temporally in the di¬erences between
events. Kant argues that these di¬erences between events are to be
interpreted as changes in the states of things. He can claim that all
changes must be recognizable in experience on the basis of his robust
theory of transcendental idealism. For this robust theory of transcen-
dental idealism does not allow for radically mind-independent and
hence recognition-independent events. Even without this strong version
± Kant and the demands of self-consciousness
of transcendental idealism, a case can be made for the need to presup-
pose persistent substances if changes are to be recognizable. However, it
cannot be demonstrated that events must be recognizable except insofar
as they are to be objects of our experience.
Kant™s defense of the general causal principle is based on the idea that
the temporal order of episodes in any change must be empirically
determinable. It thus builds on the necessity of the recognizability of
change argued for in the First Analogy on the basis of the principle that
empirical representations must make a determinable di¬erence to ex-
perience if they are to be potential candidates for self-consciousness.
While Kant rejects the causal theory of time when it is understood to
reduce the meaning of temporal terms to causal relations, he argues that
causation allows one to determine which of two events occurred earlier
and which occurred later.
In chapter seven, I discuss the relation of the general causal principle
and the general principle that there must be substances and interactions
in experience, to our capacity to formulate speci¬c laws governing
causation, interaction, and individual things. The only way we can
know that a speci¬c change from event-type A to event-type B has
occurred and thus that A must precede B is if this change follows in a
lawlike fashion upon some other event type of which we have knowl-
edge. Such lawlike succession is just what we mean by causal connec-
tion. Interactions between substances are the basis for our knowledge of
simultaneity relations between those substances. By being able to deter-
mine the temporal order of what is represented by us, we are able to give
empirical content to distinctions between di¬erent spatial and temporal
points of view. At the same time, we are able to connect anything that is
represented by us together with anything else that is represented by us in
a single consciousness of the temporal unity and the di¬erences of
empirical points of view. Kant seems to think that causation and
interaction can only assign determinate temporal positions to objects
and events if they are capable of providing su¬cient conditions for
change. However, he allows for indeterministic causal laws at the level
of human action, and, in the light of current fundamental physical
theory, it seems more plausible to weaken this assumption so that
probabilistic laws governing causal connections and interactions be-
come possible at the level of fundamental natural processes. In the
concluding sections of the chapter, I argue that Kant™s account of causal
laws is compatible with free action. The application of causal laws is
governed by causal conditions that we assume to comprise a complete
±·
Introduction
set for the regulative purposes of inquiry. However, the important point
to see is that we never are in fact capable, even in principle, of ident-
ifying a complete set of such causal conditions. This always leaves space
for an alternative account of human action under action descriptions
that are independent of actual causal conditions.
After discussing the general relation of substance, cause, and interac-
tion to particular kinds of substances, causes, and interactions in chapter
seven, I turn in chapter eight to the temptation to think of the self as a
thinking thing that is a substance endowed with personal identity over
all time. This temptation or ˜˜transcendental illusion,™™ as Kant calls it, is
rooted in the nature of our access to the self from the ¬rst-person point
of view. Because I thoughts are self-verifying thoughts, and because we
have access to other rational beings by thinking of them as if we were in
their place as I thinkers, we become tempted to think that the ¬rst-

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