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for conceptual recognition. To be able to recognize things by means of
concepts, we must be able to represent ourselves as having the numeri-
cally same point of view in di¬erent experiences. This necessary repre-
sentation of numerical identity is a transcendental consciousness of self,
that is, it is a representation of self as an enabling condition of experi-
ence. Our ability to apprehend and reproduce what we experience is
much less directly tied to transcendental self-consciousness than is our
capacity to recognize objects by means of concepts. We can only
apprehend and reproduce items in our experience because we are able
to experience objects of the kind that make the associative processes
involved in reproduction possible. But we can only make sense of the
existence of such objects by means of concepts. And these concepts, in
turn, depend for their existence on our capacity to represent ourselves as
having the same point of view in di¬erent experiences.
Kant insists that all apprehension of items at a time requires processes
of association, that is, a synthesis of reproduction, through which im-
mediately past experience is retained in the present ( ±°), and this
synthesis of reproduction ultimately turns out to presuppose the syn-
thesis of recognition, through which we recognize objects that are
independent of our momentary experiences. Finally, such recognition of
 Kant and the demands of self-consciousness
objects involves a kind of necessity that depends on transcendental
apperception. Thus, the syntheses of apprehension, reproduction, and
recognition are distinct, but mutually dependent processes of coming to
terms with perceptual information that are supposed to be guided by the
possibility of self-consciousness with respect to the experiences that
involve them.
If even the states of our immediate past are not available to us at any
given moment, then we will fail to distinguish anything from anything
else, for we will have already lost the awareness of the item from which
the second item is to be distinguished. On the other hand, such items
need to be distinguished from each other through apprehension and
recognized as identical or distinct through recognition. And Kant
claims that this requires transcendental self-consciousness.
Kant follows Locke, Hume, Tetens, and many other empiricists in
deriving our ability to connect a present state of consciousness with
some past state of consciousness from a habit of associating the one state
with the other state. Reproduction thus depends on empirical patterns
of association. Like Locke, Berkeley, and Hume, Kant assumes that the
items that we perceive and associate are appearances, that is, things as
they appear to the mind. But Kant rejects the British empiricist project
of understanding the unity of things as bundles of representations. Even
Locke, who is committed to the existence of physical objects, accounts
for our knowledge of such objects in terms of the bundling of sensations:
The mind being, as I have declared, furnished with a great number of the
simple ideas, conveyed in by the senses as they are found in external things, or
by re¬‚ection on its own operations, takes notice also that a certain number of
these simple ideas go constantly together; which being presumed to belong to
one thing, and words being suited to common apprehension, and made use of
for quick dispatch, are called, so united in one subject, by one name; which, by
inadvertency, we are apt afterward to talk of and consider as one simple idea,
which indeed is a complication of many ideas together; because, as I have said,
not imagining how these simple ideas can subsist by themselves, we accustom
ourselves to suppose some substratum wherein they do subsist, and from which
they do result, which therefore we call substance. (Essay Concerning Human Under-
standing, Book II, chapter xxiii, p. ±)

Against the associationist bundle theory, Kant insists that association
would be completely arbitrary if there were no regularities in the world
underlying the co-occurrence of our experiences. Such regularities
explain why we associate one set of representations with another set of
representations. A certain amount of regularity must be assumed in

Concepts, laws, and the recognition of objects
experience in order for us to come to associate di¬erent items of
experience. Although things remain relatively constant in experience:
If cinnabar were ¬rst red, then black, ¬rst light, then heavy, a human being
were to be changed ¬rst into this, then into that animal form, if on the longest
day the land were to be covered ¬rst with fruit, then with ice and snow, then my
empirical imagination would not even have the opportunity to think of heavy
cinnabar when representing a red color. ( ±°±)

The kind of regularity required is complex. For, even if objects persist
over time, they are also subject to change. Cinnabar turns from red to
black when oxidized, and human beings take on di¬erent animal forms
when they dress up as animals. Associations are only of interest in
grasping regularities in experience if they are based on some signi¬cant
shared feature of the items associated. Everything is similar to every-
thing else in some sense or other. So there must be some basis for picking
out one set of similarities as relevant to a set of experiences as opposed to
another set. It might seem that relevance could be randomly deter-
mined. But a random relation between cognitive contents would be ˜˜a
blind play of representations, less even than a dream™™ ( ±±). Even
dreams involve rather sophisticated forms of regularity that would be
absent from a random collection of mental states.
Kant does not argue for his key and quite astounding claim that to
account for the associability of our perceptions we must appeal to a priori
connections between what we perceive ( ±°±). The more plausible view
is that we directly perceive objects the co-occurrence of which accounts
for our dispositions to associate certain things with certain other things.
If we directly perceive objects that exist independently of us, then the
recurrence of those objects can be invoked to explain our ability to
associate items in our experience in non-arbitrary ways. Thus some
form of direct realist theory of perception would be the more obvious
solution to the problem of association than an appeal to a priori
connection.
Fortunately, Kant™s account of the synthesis of recognition attempts
to show that a direct realist theory of perception presupposes a priori
connections between the items that one experiences. His theory of
recognition thus promises to supply the rationale for an appeal to a
priori synthesis that is missing from his account of association. Kant
does not deny the claim that we directly perceive objects such as tables
and chairs that provide the basis for the associations in terms of which
we connect diverse experiences. However, the problem with such
µ° Kant and the demands of self-consciousness
perceptual objects is that they are not the sort of things that are subject
to laws. When one bases associations on perceptual objects, one bases
the process of association on objects that are themselves, at best, only the
way that physical objects appear to observers under standard circum-
stances. For perceptual objects are characterized in terms of sensible
qualities that do not belong to the objective nature of things:
Colors are not properties of the bodies to whose intuition they belong, rather
mere modi¬cations of our sense of sight, which is a¬ected in a certain way by
light. Taste and color are not necessary conditions under which objects can
alone become objects of the senses. They are only connected to appearance as
contingently added e¬ects of [our] particular organization. ( -; see also 
)

Now association requires not only repetition of patterns, but also
signi¬cant regularities. These regularities are provided by perceptual
objects. But there is some question as to whether the kinds of signi¬cant
regularities of co-occurrence provided by perceptual objects must not
themselves be underwritten by the kinds of laws governing physical
objects, that is, governing empirical objects as they are in themselves. To
say that an object is thus and such is to commit ourselves to the fact that
the object must be representable in that way from all standpoints, even if
it is a contingent fact that it has those standpoint-independent proper-
ties. The object is what Kant refers to in the Transcendental Aesthetic as
the physical or empirical (as opposed to the transcendental) notion of a
thing in itself: ˜˜what in universal experience amongst all the di¬erent
positions relative to the senses, is still thus and not otherwise deter-
mined™™ ( / ). The empirical notion of an object is just the notion
of something in our experience that is what it is independently of my
subjective manner of representing it; the object is thus determined for
absolutely all of us in one way rather than another way. The laws
governing the way such an object presents itself to any arbitrary ob-
server would support the counterfactuals needed to spell out the circum-
stances under which something appears thus and such to standard and
non-standard observers, and hence explain why certain patterns recur
and others do not.


 ®°  µ ¬    §® © ©® ®¤ ¬ ·
Kant introduces recognition as an adjunct to reproduction. Recognition
is the consciousness that the data retained from past experience in one™s
µ±
Concepts, laws, and the recognition of objects
present consciousness is in fact the same data as that previously experi-
enced. Without recognition, there would be no experience or memory
in the sense with which we are generally familiar. Memory involves not
only the ability to call up past data, but also the ability to recognize such
data as derived from past experience. Kant notes that retention of past
facts and the recognition of those past as what they are, are distinguish-
able capacities.
The recognition of something as something, for instance, of a past
fact as a past fact, has a normative dimension to it. Recognition can be
successful or unsuccessful. Kant argues that recognition depends on our
ability to use concepts. These concepts supply the norms governing the
distinction between successful and unsuccessful recognition of a certain
object. Concepts serve as rules for organizing the data of intuition by
providing us with the capacity to recognize items in di¬erent situations
( ±°). Kant does not just think of a concept as ˜˜according to its form
always something universal, and that serves as a rule,™™ he also argues
that ˜˜it can only be a rule of intuitions by: representing the necessary
reproduction of the manifold with respect to given appearances, that is,
the synthetic unity in their consciousness™™ (A ±°). This means that
someone who recognizes something as an instance of a certain concept
will necessarily connect the possession of certain properties by that
object with the possession of other properties. For, to fall under a
concept, an object must have certain features for all persons who are
competent with respect to that concept. The necessity relation extends
not only to the relations between the object and the properties that are
represented by a given concept, but also to the relation between the
concept and the object itself. If the object does not fall under the concept
with necessity, but merely accidentally, then, on Kant™s view, the con-
cept is not one that governs our understanding of that object.
By ascribing universality and necessity to concepts in the way that he
does, Kant thinks of concepts as laws. For he thinks of concepts as rules
that associate contents of representation in a necessary way, and he
notes that ˜˜rules insofar as they are objective (hence necessarily attach
to the cognition of an object) are called laws™™ ( ±). There are two
obvious objections to the view of conceptual recognition that Kant
defends in this context. One obvious problem is that the view seems to
entail that all concepts are a priori, for Kant maintains that ˜˜necessity
and strict generality are certain indications of cognition a priori, and
also belong indivisibly together™™ ( ). The other related problem is that
taking necessity and strict generality to be marks of a concept does not
µ Kant and the demands of self-consciousness
seem to do justice to the di¬culties in de¬ning concepts to which Kant is
otherwise quite sensitive: ˜˜One uses certain marks only so long as they
are su¬cient to distinguish; new remarks take some away and add some,
the concept therefore never stands within certain limits™™ ( ·/  ·µ).
The concepts that we have purport to represent kinds, but they may
not. Concept formation is however guided by the regulative ideal of
representing the world in terms of natural and arti¬cial kinds that must
have the same properties for all observers who succeed in identifying
them. Kant wants to argue that our knowledge of such kinds is only
possible to the extent that we are committed to the existence of a priori
laws that make it possible for us to seek and identify kinds of objects.
While he wishes to argue that the lawlikeness of the connection between
the properties belonging to objects of individual kinds is not intelligible
independently of a priori laws, he also wishes to claim that what natural
and even arti¬cial kinds there are is a matter of empirical discovery.
Since laws are not mere regularities for Kant, but necessary and strictly
general or universal principles, they cannot be known by induction on
past experiences alone. They thus presuppose some a priori principle
that allows us to know that they apply in every situation and with
necessity. This view is not now popular; however, it does have in its
favor that there are signi¬cant di¬culties with inductive generalizations,
especially if we are unable to appeal to a principle of the uniformity of
nature that cannot be justi¬ed from past experience, for what is at issue
is whether future experience must be like past experience.

  ®   ° µ  ¬     § ® ©  ©  ®  ® ¤   µ  
Kant links his account of conceptual recognition to an account of the
conditions under which cognition of an object is possible. He interprets
the notion of a concept in terms not only of a necessary rule for
recognizing items in di¬erent experiences, but also of the notion of a
cognition or knowledge of an object (Erkenntnis eines Gegenstandes). Ac-
cording to his more inclusive de¬nition of cognition or knowledge
(Erkenntnis) in the ladder of di¬erent representations in the Transcenden-
tal Dialectic, any representation of an object is a cognition. Thus, not
only judgments, but even intuitions and concepts are instances of
cognition, since they are ˜˜objective perceptions™™ ( °/ ··), that is,
representations of objects. Even this expansive usage leaves a distinction
to be drawn between a representation that is and a representation that
only seems to be true of an object. For we do not want to say that
µ
Concepts, laws, and the recognition of objects
representations must be true of their purported objects. Thus, we still
have room for the idea that in recognition we can either get our
recognition right or not.
Unfortunately, we have no direct way of comparing our concept with
its purported object. We could use another representation, but then the
question would arise again with respect to the new representation. We
need some non-contingent or necessary relation of correspondence
between a representation and its object to support cognition because the
only access we have to the necessary connection between a putative
cognition and its object is through our beliefs about how objects are
connected. Now we can appeal to the way the object must appear to
everyone as a basis for claiming that the object is truly thus and such.
But we can only determine how the object must appear to everyone to
the extent that we have some way of comparing and contrasting the
beliefs that we have about the object with the beliefs that other persons
in other situations have about it. Kant argues that our only ultimate grip
on the purported correspondence of our cognitions with their objects is
based on the coherence relations between those cognitions themselves.
Moreover, these coherence relations consist in nothing but our ability to
connect those cognitions together in ˜˜formal unity of consciousness™™
provided by our capacity to represent the numerical identity of the self
through the changes in representational content involved in represen-
ting these di¬erent cognitions.
To distinguish an object distinct from our particular perceptions, we
need the kind of ˜˜objective unity™™ provided by concepts of space and
time. These concepts allow us to connect inherently perspectival per-
ceptions together in a representation of space and time that is shared,
public, and standpoint-independent. But this shared and standpoint-
independent representation of space and time is nothing but a unity of
consciousness that is necessary in the sense that it must potentially
include all of our possible representations in it. It is on the basis of this
potential unity of consciousness that empirical concepts then have
objective reality, their purchase on objects of experience ( ±°).
In appealing to an underlying necessary connection between the
items that one experiences, Kant is responding to a skeptical dilemma
concerning truth that he posed in the Introduction to the Transcen-
dental Logic ( µ·¬./ ¬.). After noting that the skeptic can accept
the nominal de¬nition of truth as correspondence of knowledge to its
object, Kant points out that this does nothing to resolve the famous
skeptical problem of the criterion of truth. It does not seem to be
µ Kant and the demands of self-consciousness
possible to provide a criterion of truth in a completely general form,
since one would then have to abstract from all content. A logical
criterion of truth, at best, is a necessary condition for non-logical truth.
Thinking that logic alone is su¬cient to establish substantive truths
leads to (dialectical) illusions of the kind that make a critique of pure
reason necessary. Despite the tendency of reason to make substantive
claims that it cannot substantiate, Kant thinks that this tendency can
be curbed by limiting cognitive claims to experience and its precondi-
tions. The Transcendental Analytic (i.e. the Transcendental Deduction
and the Principle of Pure Understanding) constitutes a ˜˜logic of truth™™
in contrast to the ˜˜logic of semblance™™ provided by the Transcendental
Dialectic. The Analytic provides a set of substantive necessary criteria
(where a criterion is a canon or measuring stick) for empirical truth, but
not for objects in general ( “/  ·“). Our beliefs can be
determined to be true or false depending on whether they can be
connected together in one consistent account of experience. The con-
nectability of our beliefs gives us a coherence criterion of truth. As
Kant notes in the Appendix to the Transcendental Dialectic, without a
˜˜use of the understanding™™ that ˜˜hangs together™™ (zusammenhangenden ¨
Verstandesgebrauch) ˜˜we would have no su¬cient mark of empirical
truth™™ ( µ±/ ·). But we cannot determine the truth of claims that
go beyond what we can experience.
While the combination of a coherence criterion of truth with a
correspondence de¬nition of truth has much to be said for it, it is far less
obvious why the connections between our perceptions, or beliefs in
general involved in the establishment of coherence, must be necessary
and strictly general. The reason to make such a demand lies in the idea
of a general criterion of truth. If a criterion of truth is to tell us what
beliefs are true or false, then it must pick out all beliefs that are true. This
leads Kant to conclude that our beliefs must not only have necessary
connections amongst themselves if they are to have the necessary
connection to an object that he believes characteristic of knowledge,
these necessary connections must also be based on a priori rules.
In arguing that conceptual recognition is required if we are to be able
to make sense of experience, Kant is most interested in the status of
non-empirical concepts. For it is the task of the Deduction to show that a
certain set of such concepts, the categories, or pure concepts of the
understanding, are legitimate concepts that pick out bona ¬de objects.
To do this, Kant wants to show that these a priori concepts are
necessary if we are to be able to recognize objects:
µµ
Concepts, laws, and the recognition of objects
Real experience, which consists in apprehension, in association (reproduction),
¬nally in recognition of appearances, contains in the last and highest (of the
merely empirical elements of experience) concepts that make possible the
formal unity of experience, and with it, the objective validity (truth) of empirical
cognition. Now these grounds for recognition of the manifold, insofar as they
concern merely the form of experience in general, are those categories. ( ±µ)

It is clear from the above passage that Kant thinks of the categories as
the conditions that make it possible for us to distinguish a successful
from an unsuccessful recognition of an object, that is, to distinguish a
true from a false judgment about an object. How do they allow us to
draw the distinction in question? They allow us to distinguish a unity of
experience for me, from a unity of experience for everyone by establish-
ing constraints on what counts as the form of experience in general. The
key thing for Kant is that in order for there to be a successful conceptual
cognition there must be necessary reproduction, that is, association
according to an a priori rule ( ±°µ). The a priori rule in question cannot
itself be the concept through which we recognize what we have asso-
ciated together in the mind, for then all concepts and all cognition
would be a priori. The idea is rather that, in order for one to be able to
apply even empirical concepts to experience, there must be necessary
and strictly general connections between items of experience. It is this
metarule that must be a priori. The metarule ¬xes the relations of
potential data for knowledge a priori in such a way that empirical or
non-empirical rules can be found that are capable of supplying us with
knowledge.
Ultimately, Kant wants to argue that even the metarules, or catego-
ries of the pure understanding, that provide necessary and strictly
general connections between items of experience derive their normativ-
ity from the unity of apperception itself:

The unity of apperception is the transcendental ground for the necessary
lawlikeness of all appearances in one experience. And this very unity of
apperception in respect to a manifold of representations is the rule (namely to
determine it [the manifold] out of one [representation]) and the faculty of these
rules is the understanding. ( ±·)


 ° °    ° © ®  ®¤   ®    ® ¤  ®  ¬  ¦ ¦ © ® ©  
In arguing that association requires laws governing physical objects that
are independent of our immediate experience of those objects, Kant is
µ Kant and the demands of self-consciousness
interested in the nature of the similarities and uniformity required for
associative processes of the kind postulated by Hume to get o¬ the
ground. He wants to show that lawlike regularities underwrite the
mechanisms of association that Hume regarded as ˜˜the cement of the
universe.™™
Hume admits that appearances cannot suggest rules for projecting
predicates, unless there are constant conjunctions of appearances in our
experience. Without such constant conjunctions, associative processes
could not be initiated. For Hume, such patterns of association are based
on innate dispositions to associate recurrent sets of appearances with
one another. But even these innate dispositions must be triggered by
similarities in what is perceived. Hume™s e¬ort to base causal connection
on constant conjunctions is thus sensitive to the conditions under which
events are to be regarded as similar. Consonant with his empiricism,
Hume attempts to derive the principle that every event has a cause from
the principle of like cause“like e¬ect. Since he eschews a priori knowl-
edge, Hume must treat the universal causal principle as a consequence
of our custom of treating nature as uniform. The uniformity of nature in
turn falls out of our habit of associating similar causes with similar
e¬ects.
Kant wants to argue for the thesis that ˜˜the order and regularity in
the appearances, which we entitle nature, we ourselves introduce. We
could never ¬nd them in appearances, had not we ourselves, or the
nature of our mind, originally set them there™™ ( ±µ). Although the idea
that we somehow produce the order of nature is controversial to say the
least, there is nothing in this general idea that a Humean would have to
reject. Kant does, however, soon give the thesis that we impose order on
nature an interpretation which Hume could not accept: ˜˜For this unity
of nature has to be a necessary one, that is, has to be an a priori certain
unity of the connection of appearances™™ ( ±µ).
We must think of nature as a whole as conforming to the conditions
under which we can make nature intelligible to ourselves. This is what
gives nature its unity for us. But then, the only access to nature we have
is through what we represent of it. Since nature is accessible to us only
insofar as it conforms to the conditions under which we can make sense
of nature, the nature which is accessible to us is nature as it must appear
to us. Nature which appears to us is subjective only in the sense that it is
construed as dependent on the conditions under which we can make
sense of it. These same conditions, however, also serve to underwrite the
objectivity and accessibility of our claims concerning nature for other
µ·
Concepts, laws, and the recognition of objects
persons. Kant refers to the unity and uniformity of nature as nature™s
a¬nity. He distinguishes between an empirical and a transcendental
a¬nity of nature. In other words, there is thus supposed to be an
empirical and a non-empirical dimension to the uniformity of nature.
The empirical a¬nity of nature consists in the uniformity that we
discover in nature based on the kinds of associations that we make
between di¬erent items of experience based on repeated experience.
Transcendental a¬nity, by contrast, is supposed to be the underlying
uniformity of nature that makes it possible for us to associate items
together in a meaningful manner in the ¬rst place. Kant™s claim is that
uniformity of nature, in the transcendental sense, is based on our
capacity to connect di¬erent representations together in (transcenden-
tal) self-consciousness.
Kant starts with the empiricist notion that we become conscious of,

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