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fact that we have a criterialess consciousness of self in immediate or
recalled experience. There is just no question for me that the states that
I ascribe to my present and past consciousness actually belong to my
consciousness of self.
However, unlike Strawson, Henrich seems to take Cartesian certainty
in the direction of making a self-justifying claim about personal identity.
In this way, Henrich™s notion that we have Cartesian certainty of our
numerical identity through the transitions involved in understanding
the di¬erent aspects of objects seems to commit him to a priori knowl-
edge of the real persistence of a self.· For Henrich insists that we are
certain of our numerical identity through changes in states. And only
with respect to the real persistence of a self does it make sense to make
claims about changes in state.
Henrich argues that the self as subject of self-consciousness can only
be weakly or moderately, rather than strictly, identical with itself. For
self-consciousness involves acts of consciousness that are changes in state
and only the notion of a weak numerical identity of the self is supposed
to be consistent with changes in state. On the other hand, Henrich
thinks of such identity as identity through atemporal change. But
 Kant and the demands of self-consciousness
neither the idea that strict identity precludes change nor the idea that
atemporal changes are possible has any obvious support in the Kantian
text. And both ideas seem to be intrinsically quite implausible.
In response to criticism, in particular from Paul Guyer, that Henrich
simply assumes one™s self-identity over representational states as a syn-
thetic a priori premise governing the self-ascription of representation,
Henrich has distinguished his conception that one is certain of the
identity of one™s self through di¬erent states of self-consciousness from
empirical knowledge of personal identity as well as from the notion of
identity familiar from logic. Unfortunately, Henrich fails to give a
positive characterization of his conception of the identity implied in
self-consciousness. This would be less problematic if one could see what
alternative to the logical notion of identity there could be. Henrich is
probably tempted to argue that there is a non-logical notion of identity
by talk of a ˜˜loose™™ as opposed to a ˜˜strict™™ meaning of personal
identity. But, properly understood, the ˜˜loose™™ notion of identity in-
volved in such contexts is not really a distinctive notion of identity at all.
Philosophers who take the identity of a person to be ˜˜loose™™ regard
persons as constituted by a series of individual person-stages rather than
being the numerically same individual through the time of their lives.
But even if persons were mere series of person-stages, persons would
nevertheless be ˜˜strictly™™ identical through time, for they would be the
same series throughout their existence.
While Guyer criticizes Henrich for endorsing a kind of a priori
certainty of personal identity, he thinks that Henrich is right to attribute
to Kant the view that we have a kind of a priori knowledge of our
personal identity through di¬erent states. Indeed, Guyer thinks that
Kant assumes that we can be certain that all of our empirical states are
ones of which we can become conscious. This is because Guyer inter-
prets Kant™s principle that one can be conscious of one™s numerical
identity as subject of self-consciousness in respect to all possible repre-
sentations as a claim that one can have a priori certainty of all of one™s
representational states and hence of one™s personal identity as an em-
pirically knowable individual:

Kant has failed to establish that I must in fact know“a fortiori be certain“that I
have really had all of a putative series of representations through some period of
my continued existence in order to investigate their possible empirical signi¬-
cance. But unless Kant can exclude a priori the possibility that one of the results
of my investigation could be the very rejection of the supposition that I actually

Introducing apperception
had one or more of the representations the possible empirical connections of
which I am investigating, he cannot prove that certainty of my possession of any
particular representations really is presupposed by any empirical investigation
of them.
Guyer rightly disparages the idea that we could be certain that each
of the representations that we think we have had are in fact our own.
This would entail a priori certainty that all of the beliefs that we ascribe
to ourselves really are the beliefs that have belonged to our lives, and this
would entail a priori certainty of personal identity. But this interpreta-
tion of a priori certainty, as a priori certainty of one™s personal identity,
is based on his assimilation of Kant™s notion of transcendental self-
consciousness to consciousness of one™s self-identity as empirically
knowable, that is, to consciousness of one™s individual personal identity.
We can hardly rule out a priori that some of the claims to empirical
knowledge of our personal identity that we make might be false.
One striking feature of Guyer™s interpretation is that it is based on a
notion of a priori certainty of self-identity that Kant introduces to
account for our capacity to recognize objects that are distinct from our
momentary present states of consciousness. While Guyer rejects such a
priori certainty, he has made the synthesis of apprehension construed as
the interpretation of momentary intuitions of multiplicities the key to his
interpretation of the Transcendental Analytic as an analysis of the a
priori conditions for empirical self-knowledge. According to Guyer,
what Kant calls the fundamental premise of the whole Deduction is the
assumption that I am not immediately acquainted with any manifold of
representations insofar as I think of a representation as contained in a
single moment. Now Kant does say that one must assume in the rest of
his argument that all representations must be in time, since they belong
to inner sense, and are hence subject to synthesis: ˜˜all representations
belong as modi¬cations of the mind to inner sense, and as such all our
cognitions are also subject in the end to the formal condition of inner
sense, namely time, in which they must be ordered, connected, and put
in relations. This is a general remark that one must take as a basis for
what follows™™( ). This is not quite the same thing as taking all
representations to be something that I think at a moment. To be sure,
Kant maintains at   that to think of a manifold as a manifold I must
¬rst represent a sequence of one impression upon another, and he also
says that every representation ˜˜as contained in a single moment™™ can only be
an absolute unity.±° Thus, Guyer is right that Kant thinks that a
momentary representation is not a representation of a manifold. But
° Kant and the demands of self-consciousness
Guyer draws an implication from this assumption of Kant™s that comes
from failure to see that the only kind of representations that Kant
regards as momentary are sensations. Guyer interprets Kant™s state-
ment that intuition o¬ers a manifold, that can never be represented as a
manifold, and as contained in a single representation, without synthesis to
mean that we take a present state and judge it to be a representation of
di¬erent times.
On the other hand, Guyer rightly insists that the temporal order of
what is represented is not created out of some kind of diversity that is
before the mind in some non-temporal manner. This would confuse the
synthesis of recognition by means of which the multiplicity of intuition is
determined to be what it is with the synthesis of apprehension by which
a multiplicity of data is ¬rst given in temporal succession.±± But this
caveat leaves it quite unclear as to what sense we are to give to the idea
of judging or interpreting a present state to be a representation of
di¬erent times. Guyer™s use of judgment and interpretation to explicate
Kant™s account of the role that the synthesis of apprehension plays in
our experience of di¬erent representations, as such, seems to introduce
precisely the synthesis of recognition into his analysis of Kant™s concep-
tion of the synthesis of apprehension that he instructs us to avoid.±
Regardless of the merits of his interpretation of the threefold syn-
thesis of apprehension, reproduction, and recognition, Guyer notes
that recognition involves the possibility of interpretative error and thus
the possibility that one did not actually recognize something that one
thought one had recognized. Guyer is clearly correct to insist that
interpretative errors are possible.± But, surprisingly, Guyer regards a
priori certainty of self-identity as something that rules out the possibil-
ity of interpretative error even though it is introduced by Kant as a
transcendental condition for recognition. But, when Kant maintains
that in self-consciousness we are a priori certain of the self™s numerical
identity, there is no evidence that he wishes to deny the possibility of
error in self-ascriptions, as Guyer alleges. Thus, there is no inconsist-
ency in Kant™s position here. If one identi¬es consciousness of self-
identity a priori with a priori consciousness of one™s empirical identity,
then one cannot indeed allow for the possibility that any of the repre-
sentations which one takes oneself to have had could turn out to be
representations which one did not, in fact, have. But there is no reason
to think that a priori consciousness of self-identity is a priori knowledge
of my particular identity as an empirically knowable individual. While
Kant is interested in a priori knowledge of what makes experience
±
Introducing apperception
possible, he is loath to argue that we can have a priori knowledge of
empirical facts.
Far from thinking that we cannot be wrong in thinking that a
particular set of states belongs to our personal identity, Kant insists in
the Third Paralogism of Pure Reason that ˜˜the identity of the conscious-
ness of my self in di¬erent times is only a formal condition of my
thoughts and their connection, but does not prove the numerical ident-
ity of my subject, in which despite the logical identity of the I, neverthe-
less a change can have occurred that does not allow its identity to be
sustained™™ ( ). The point that Kant wishes to make is that conscious-
ness of my self-identity does not guarantee that I am an individual who is
actually numerically identical over the time of which I am conscious of
myself as being the same person. To make this point in a plastic way,
Kant suggests the theoretical possibility that an awareness of the past
might be passed from individual to individual in a manner that is
analogous to a series of elastic balls that pass on their motion from one to
another. The ¬nal individual in the series could well have a conscious-
ness of the past histories of all the other individuals in the series, and
believe itself to be a single individual that persisted through the series
even though this would be an illusion.
Guyer realizes that the identity of self-consciousness, as he interprets
it, con¬‚icts with the argument of the Third Paralogism in which Kant
rejects the idea that we somehow have a priori knowledge of our
personal identity. But he regards the tension between his reading of the
Deduction and the text of the Paralogisms as a contradiction in Kant™s
own views.± Indeed, on his reading, Kant is inconsistent even in the
Deduction itself, since the central argument for synthesis from recogni-
tion that Guyer defends is said by Kant to depend on the necessity of
representing one™s numerical identity. The inconsistencies disappear
once one realizes that Kant is concerned with a necessity concerning the
way in which we represent ourselves as experiencers and not with a
claim that we have a priori knowledge of our individual identity over
time.
Guyer™s interpretation of Kant™s idea that we are a priori certain that
we can represent ourselves as self-identical is linked to his reading of the
central task of the Deduction. The Deduction must show that there
must be certain kinds of syntheses that we must perform on experience a
priori in order to show that a priori concepts of the understanding, the
so-called categories, have a legitimate use and one that is restricted to
objects of experience. Guyer argues that it is only if we can impose a
 Kant and the demands of self-consciousness
certain connectedness on any possible representation a priori in virtue
of a putative a priori certainty of self-identity that Kant will have
provided a successful defense of the existence of a priori synthesis from
our consciousness of self-identity. For Kant is supposed to need more
than an analytic claim to the e¬ect that I regard all the representations
that I take to be mine as belonging to my single self, he is supposed to
need a de re necessity that whatever my representations may be they can
be called mine by me. A de re necessity concerning representations would
apply to representations independently of how we happen to pick out or
characterize those representations. Thus, I would know independently
of any conditions governing my recognition of representations that all
my representations are mine. For only this kind of a priori certainty of
self-identity is supposed to require the kind of synthetic principles a
priori governing the connections between representations that Kant is
trying to establish.±µ Since Guyer regards the notion of a priori certainty
of self-identity as ˜˜profoundly questionable,™™ he takes the appeal to a
priori certainty of self-identity to call into question Kant™s general
argument in the Deduction for a priori synthesis from transcendental
self-consciousness.±
But why does Guyer think that a priori synthesis would have to
involve a metaphysical or de re necessity, rather than a purely conceptual
or de dicto necessity? Guyer concedes that Kant sometimes avails himself
of a notion of transcendental synthesis as non-empirical conditions on
experience rather than as acts of transcendental synthesis that are
independent of empirical acts of synthesis: ˜˜There is indeed a transcen-
dental synthesis which however concerns nothing more than the condi-
tions under which the perception of a thing in general can belong to
possible experience™™ ( ·±/ ··).±· Guyer rightly argues that in the
Deduction Kant is committed to the existence of a guarantee that all
representations can be combined in a single self regardless of the
content, and this forces him to appeal to a more robust notion of a priori
synthesis. It is unclear to me why such a guarantee is not consistent with
thinking of a priori synthesis in terms of a priori constraints on empirical
synthesis. But it is undeniable that Kant does think that there is a
guarantee to the e¬ect that any possible object of experience must be a
potential object that can be represented as a representation that can
belong to a possible self-consciousness. And that representation is also
supposed to be represented as a representation that can be compared
and contrasted with other representations of that numerically identical
self-consciousness:

Introducing apperception
But the possibility, yes, the necessity of the categories depends on the relation
that the whole of sensibility, and with it all appearances, have to original
apperception, in which everything necessarily accords with the conditions of
pervasive unity of self-consciousness, that is, must stand under universal func-
tions of synthesis, namely of synthesis according to concepts, in which apper-
ception can alone prove its pervasive and necessary identity a priori. ( ±±±“±±)

It is to Kant™s argument linking determinate representations to self-
consciousness that I now turn.

 °     ®  © ® ¬  ®  ®  ® ¤    °   ©  © ¬©    ¦
 ¬ ¦-   ®   ©  µ  ®  
Kant draws far-reaching conclusions from his general claim that we can
only make sense of the conceptual component of representations by
reference to a numerically identical point of view that is available in all
experience. He argues that all representations are not only potential
candidates for self-consciousness, but have content and indeed exist only
in relation to a possible self-consciousness:
All representations have a necessary relation to a possible empirical conscious-
ness: for if they did not have this [possible empirical consciousness], and if it
were completely impossible to be conscious of them; then this would say as
much as they would not exist at all. But all empirical consciousness has a
necessary relation to a transcendental consciousness (preceding all particular
experience), namely the consciousness of myself as original apperception. (
±±·n)
Kant attempts to ascribe a di¬erential representational content to
di¬erent representations in virtue of the distinctive representational role
that those representations can play for a possible self-consciousness. But
one obvious problem for his conception is that many representations
seem to have a content that is independent of the cognitive role that they
might play in a possible self-consciousness. It is not even clear that all
representations can become conscious to someone. The possibility of
attributing representations to beings that cannot become conscious of
those representations themselves would seem to be enough to undermine
Kant™s claim that all representations must be potential candidates for
self-consciousness. If animals have representations, but do not have
self-consciousness,then it would seem prima facie that there are represen-
tations of which self-consciousness is not possible. There is no evidence
that Kant thought that non-human animals have self-consciousness. As
 Kant and the demands of self-consciousness
Jonathan Bennett has noted, it would be self-contradictory to demand of a
being de¬ned as non-self-consciousthat it be able to be self-conscious of its
own states.± Kant concedes that there can be representations of which
the creature who has them can have no cognition:

I would not even be able to know that I have them [sense data], and they would
therefore be nothing for me, as a knowing being, at all. They might still exist in
me (if I imagine myself to be an animal) a being unconscious of my own
existence carrying on their play in an orderly fashion as representations
connected according to an empirical law of association, exercising in¬‚uence
upon feeling and desire, and so always displaying regularity without my thereby
acquiring the least knowledge of anything, not even of these my own
states. (May , ±·, Ak. ©, p. µ)

Kant™s willingness to allow for association even if a creature has no
concepts of objects seems at ¬rst to con¬‚ict with his account of the
threefold synthesis.± For it seems to provide a counterexample to the
twin theses (±) that one needs the capacity for conceptual recognition in
order to be able to distinguish an object from the way it appears to one
and () that one then also needs the ability to distinguish an object from
the way it appears to one in order to have some determinate basis for
associations. But, in fact, the existence of associative capacities in ani-
mals that do not have concepts is not obviously inconsistent with the
account of association in the A-Deduction. One can consistently argue
that association requires the kinds of regularities that one can only make
sense of by using concepts of objects, while also arguing that association
is possible even for creatures that cannot themselves use concepts. This
is also the key to understanding how it is possible to accommodate the
representations of animals in the possibility of self-consciousness.
An animal representation is a representation of an object from a
certain spatio-temporal standpoint. The recurrence of certain perspec-
tival presentations of a spatio-temporal object for that animal is the basis
for the associations that Kant regards as key to animal consciousness.
Now the animal cannot itself become conscious of the various perspec-
tival presentations of the object with which it is presented. At least it
cannot regard those presentations as its own distinctive take on the
object. For the animal has neither self-consciousness, nor a bona ¬de
concept of an object that can be identi¬ed and re-identi¬ed in di¬erent
circumstances. But the very possibility of thinking of an animal as
associating di¬erent spatio-temporal perspectives on an object is some-
thing that must be intelligible. Animals do not themselves distinguish
µ
Introducing apperception
objects from the way those objects immediately present themselves to
those animals. We can make sense of the distinction between the object
and the way it appears to an observer only by thinking of the observer as
if it were the kind of creature for whom the object could be something.
This means we must think of the creature as if the creature were
conscious of its own distinctive point of view, and this means that we
must think of the creature as if it were self-conscious. To do this, we
must, as selfconscious beings, put ourselves in the vantage point of the
non-selfconscious being in question. In this way, we are able to treat its
non-selfconscious representations as if they were self-conscious repre-
sentations and thus regard them as potential candidates for selfcon-
sciousness.
Animals have no self-knowledge. In this sense, their representations
are nothing for them. While representations in such non-selfconscious
animals cannot become self-conscious to the animals that have them, we
can only attribute representations to animals based on our ability to
imagine what it would be like for us to represent the world in the way
animals do. This is why, in discussing unconscious representations,
Kant demands that I, who am a self-conscious being, imagine myself to
be a being unconscious of its existence. Thus, even though representa-
tions may not be candidates for self-consciousness by the animal that has
them, they are intelligible to us only in virtue of the fact that we think of
them as representations that we might have ascribed to ourselves had
our circumstances been quite di¬erent. For we only think of a represen-
tation as representation to the extent that we think of it as an expression
of a sentient point of view. And to think of the representation as an
expression of a sentient point of view is already to think of the represen-
tation as something that a being could, in principle, think of as its own
were its cognitive capacities like our own.°
In arguing that all representations are potential candidates for self-
consciousness at  ±±·n, Kant moves from the assumption that a repre-
sentation is unknowable to the conclusion that it does not exist at all. At
 ±° the point is put in terms of objects of representation, that is, that
which appears to us: ˜˜without the relation to at least a possible con-
sciousness, appearance would never be an object of cognition for us and
therefore nothing for us, and since it has no objective reality in itself, and
only in cognition, it would be everywhere nothing.™™ Prima facie, there is
an important distinction to be drawn between the conditions governing
our ability to ascribe content to representations and the conditions
governing the very existence of representational content. Kant argues
 Kant and the demands of self-consciousness
here that representations have no existence that is independent of the
capacity of creatures like us to recognize them. Representation is con-
stituted by its function in understanding how sentient creatures react to
their environment. As such, it is exhausted by the role it plays in
understanding persons, animals, and certain sophisticated automata
(automata spiritualia). We can regard the premise that representation is
exhausted by its cognitive role as analytic to the notion of representa-
tion. However, the premise is not simply a verbal stipulation, but a
substantive claim about the nature of representations. It can thus
equally be regarded as synthetic and even synthetic a priori.

 °    ®   © ®  ¬   ®   ®   ® ¤ ¦µ ®  ©  ®  ¬  ¬ 
Kant insists that representations must make a discernible di¬erence if
they are to count as distinctive representations. In fact, he argues that
representations ˜˜can represent something only in so far as they belong
with all others [actually, all other consciousness] to one consciousness,
and therefore must at least be capable of being so connected™™ ( ±±).
Representations represent in virtue of the di¬erent contents that they
have. They can therefore only be regarded as representational contents
to the extent that they can be distinguished from one another. But, in
order to count as representational contents, they must also be logically
distinguishable from their bearer even if they are not, as in the case of a
pain sensation, logically distinguishable from their object. To be logi-
cally distinguishable from their bearer, representations must be think-
able as having a subject. As representational contents, they are thus
distinguishable from one another only insofar as they can be represen-
ted as di¬erent possible representations of a subject. They must, how-
ever, also be represented as such by a subject because it is only through
the possibility of ¬rst-person access that we understand what makes a
representation the qualitative experience that it is. This leads Kant to
conclude: ˜˜The abiding and unchanging ˜I™ (pure apperception) forms
the correlate of all our representations in so far as it is to be at all possible
that we should become conscious of them™™ ( ±).
In order to be able to consider any content experienced by us
as a representational content, we must be able to recognize that content
as a representational content. But we can only recognize any-
thing as a representational content if we can compare and contrast it
with other representational contents in one consciousness. Contrastive
consciousness involves a representation of many at least numerically
·
Introducing apperception
di¬erent representations. If those representations are to be represented
in relation to each other, one must be able to represent oneself as the
numerically same subject which is representing them in relation to each
other. From this line of thought, Kant infers that the possibility of
representing the self as numerically identical through its di¬erent poss-
ible representations is necessary to the very possibility of representa-
tions:
We are conscious a priori of the pervasive identity of our self in respect to all
representations which can ever belong to our knowledge as a necessary condi-
tion of the possibility of all representations (because these only represent
something in me through belonging with all other (mit allem anderen) [conscious-
ness] to one consciousness, therefore they must at least be connectable there-
in). ( ±±)
The content of a representation must be a content which can belong to
the interconnected representations of some self-conscious thinker. The
content must be a candidate for self-consciousness by some possible
self-conscious being in order for there to be grounds for the attribution

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