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chapter 3 I discussed Kant™s justi¬cation for the non-spatiotemporality
thesis (NST) and the unknowability thesis (UT), here I shall focus
on the consistency of his position. I shall not attempt to survey the
literature, which is far too vast, nor to spell out in detail the prevailing
interpretations. My bibliography contains enough references to point
the reader in the right direction.1 Rather, my aim is to indicate brie¬‚y
what I take to be the most charitable interpretation of Kant™s position,
expanding on my remarks on the B edition Preface in chapter 2.
Beginning with F. H. Jacobi in 1787, the most severe critics claimed
that Kant is not justi¬ed in asserting that things in themselves exist,
and that this claim, along with NST, violates UT. The merit of these
charges, of course, depends on how one interprets the distinction
between appearances and things in themselves. Historically, the two
main contenders have been the “two worlds” and “double aspect”
views. From Kant™s time to the early twentieth century, commentators
favored the “two worlds” view, according to which appearances and
things in themselves are ontologically distinct. This view has generally
lost ground, primarily because it is hard to support textually. If the
two worlds are ontologically distinct, then it is dif¬cult to understand
in what sense appearances are of things in themselves, or how things
in themselves could “ground” appearances. From an internal point of
view, I ¬nd nothing to recommend the “two worlds” interpretation.

1 Chapter 8 of Sebastian Gardner™s Guidebook contains a concise discussion of the different
positions and their strengths and weaknesses. Hoke Robinson also explores the issues in detail
in “Two Perspectives on Kant™s Appearances and Things in Themselves.”

305
Conclusion
306
The main competitor, the “two aspect” view, has been most force-
fully defended by Henry Allison, following the in¬‚uential work of
Gerold Prauss.2 It takes seriously Kant™s references to appearances as
of things in themselves, and regards the distinction as marking two
ways of considering objects: as they appear to perceivers, and as they
are independently of them. But because of dif¬culties in explaining
how these “two aspects” are related, many philosophers, and espe-
cially Paul Guyer, have rejected this view.3 More recently, in Kantian
Humility, Rae Langton denies that Kant is an idealist, and offers a
third interpretation. Thus there is no clear consensus on how to read
Kant™s distinction between appearances and things in themselves.
My own view developed out of my defense of NST in Space and
Incongruence, where I traced Kant™s idealism to the development of
his critical theory of space. Since then I have found Allison™s read-
ing largely persuasive, and so I classi¬ed my position under the “two
aspect” interpretation. But some recent literature suggests that I may
be mistaken, since my position is similar to alternatives Sebastian
Gardner and Hoke Robinson distinguish from the “two aspects”
view.4 In any case, here I shall simply outline the approach offer-
ing the most charitable account of the critical philosophy.
The Prefaces to the Critique indicate that the distinction between
appearances and things in themselves arises by critical re¬‚ection on
some (pre-re¬‚ective) axioms basic to philosophy. These are:
1. Something exists that has an intrinsic nature of its own.
2. Cognition (representation) is a relation between a subject and an
object.
3. In sensation human subjects are affected by existing things.
As we saw in chapter 8 on the Amphiboly, one pair of concepts
reason employs in transcendental re¬‚ection is the distinction between
the inner and the outer: “In an object of the pure understanding
only that is internal that has no relation (as far as the existence is

2 See Allison™s recently revised Kant™s Transcendental Idealism, chapters 2 and 3, as well as
“Transcendental Idealism: The ˜Two Aspect™ View.”
3 See Kant and the Claims of Knowledge, chapter 15.
4 See Gardner™s discussion of the “indeterminacy” view at Guidebook, 295“8; Robinson also
distinguishes a “two Perspectives” position from the “two aspect” view, “Two Perspectives on
Kant™s Appearances and Things in Themselves,” at 428“32.
Conclusion 307
concerned) to anything that is different from it” (A265/B321). I take
this to be the basis of Kant™s distinction between things in themselves
and appearances. Things in themselves are whatever exists (taken
collectively) considered non-relationally. Appearances are this same
collection in their relation to human subjects. These de¬nitions are
neutral with respect to idealism and realism. Transcendental realists
maintain that perceptual or other cognitive processes give access to
things in themselves, so that, to some extent, appearances represent
things in themselves. Transcendental idealists deny that humans have
such access; although appearances are of things in themselves, they
do not represent them. I agree with Allison and Gardner that Kant™s
idealism results primarily from his doctrine of sensible intuition, and
secondarily from the theory of discursive judgment. These analyses
lead Kant to conclude that objects of human intuition are not things
in themselves, but only appearances.
This explains why at Bxxvi“xxvii Kant says it is absurd to think
there could be appearances without anything that appears (cited in
chapter 2). The absurdity is in maintaining that anything could exist
without an intrinsic, non-relational nature (whether known or not).
In Kant™s critical terms, this is equivalent to the absurdity that the
conditioned (appearance) can exist without its conditions (the thing
in itself ). The view that things in themselves are the non-relational
conditions of existing things as they appear to human perceivers pro-
vides no basis for a “two worlds” interpretation. Kant recognizes,
however, that “there may even be beings of understanding to which
our sensible faculty of intuition has no relation at all” (B308“9). That
is, it is entirely possible that some things in themselves do not appear
to humans, e.g., God.5 But given UT, this possibility lacks cognitive
signi¬cance.
The next questions are how appearances relate to things in them-
selves, and how to understand the notion of “affection.” Kant™s theory
of intuition depends on axiom 3: sensation arises through outer sense
insofar as external things affect the subject. It is natural to construe
this as a relation between the subject in itself and things in themselves.
In Kant und das Ding an sich, Erich Adickes developed this interpre-
tation as the doctrine of “double affection.” As Gardner explains, on

5 See Gardner, Guidebook, 294“5.
Conclusion
308
this view “the subject is originally affected transcendentally by things
in themselves, and then reaffected “ this time as an empirical being
endowed with sense organs “ by the empirical objects which are the
products of the ¬rst affection.”6 But this model clearly violates UT:
affection is a causal relation, and all concepts, including causality,
apply only within experience.
Transcendental idealism entails that affection of subjects by objects
can be ascribed only on the empirical level, because it is a causal
relation. Thus despite its intuitive appeal, it is an error to think of
whatever relation obtains between subjects and things in themselves
as causal. Given UT, we cannot know how the subject in itself relates
to other things. The theory of double affection represents a form of
transcendental illusion: it arises from an attempt to make meaningful
cognitive claims about the unconditioned. On the empirical level, by
contrast, there is no dif¬culty in representing the relation between
subjects and objects causally. As I argued in chapter 7, the Second
Analogy requires us to recognize sensations as physical states caused
in perceivers by external, physical objects. So there is no “double
affection.” We have no way to represent how we as subjects in ourselves
are related to things in themselves.
This same reasoning can be used to answer a similar criticism of
the “double aspect” view. Several philosophers claim that any attempt
to identify appearances ontologically with things in themselves also
violates UT. After all, numerical identity is de¬ned in part by the
principle of the indiscernibility of identicals: two things are numeri-
cally identical if and only if they share all properties. But NST denies
that appearances and things in themselves share any properties. Thus
it is nonsensical to assert that things in themselves are appearances
taken non-relationally. The solution here echoes that given above. On
my view, things in themselves are the ontological ground of appear-
ances. But we have only a minimal logical conception of this relation,
an indeterminate notion of condition to conditioned. That cannot
be the notion of numerical identity de¬ned by the indiscernibility of
identicals, since concepts of number do not apply beyond experience.
Thus I ¬nd myself sympathetic to the “indeterminacy” view described
by Gardner, according to which “transcendental re¬‚ection is incapable

6 Gardner, Guidebook, 291“2.
Conclusion 309
of making out determinately the relation between appearances and
things in themselves.”7 Attempts to de¬ne that relation precisely do
not take transcendental idealism seriously.
Kant™s idealism raises many more questions I have not touched on.
Interested readers will ¬nd no lack of discussion in the literature.8
My hope here is to sketch an answer to some of the more serious
charges against transcendental idealism. I have argued that it is not
blatantly incoherent. In chapter 3 we saw how Kant™s theory of space
and time supports NST. In chapter 2 I explained why NST and the
claim that things in themselves exist do not contradict UT, since
neither view ascribes any properties to things in themselves. As I
have insisted throughout this book, whatever the dif¬culties with
Kant™s critical theory, it offers a powerful and systematic alternative
to the philosophies that preceded it, and continues to set the stage
for philosophical debate.

7 Gardner, Guidebook, 297.
8 See chapter 10 of Van Cleve™s Problems from Kant for a helpful discussion of many issues.
Works cited




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works by ka nt cit ed in t he tex t
Unless otherwise noted, all quotations and references are to translations
available in the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant. Volumes
from which works are cited are:

Correspondence. Trans. and ed. Arnulf Zweig. Cambridge: Cambridge Uni-
versity Press, 1999.
Critique of Pure Reason. Trans. and ed. Paul Guyer and Allen W. Wood.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. As is customary, cita-
tions are to the A (1781) and B (1787) pagination of the Akademie
edition.
Critique of the Power of Judgment. Trans. and ed. Paul Guyer and Eric
Matthews. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Lectures on Logic. Trans. and ed. J. Michael Young. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1992. Contains the following works cited:
The Blomberg Logic, 1“246.
The Dohna-Wundlacken Logic, 427“516.
The J¨ sche Logic, 519“640.
a
The Vienna Logic, 249“377.
Lectures on Metaphysics. Trans. and ed. Karl Ameriks and Steve Naragon.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Contains the following
works cited:
Metaphysik Mrongovius, 107“283.
Metaphysik Vigilantius, 415“506.

310
Works cited 311
Practical Philosophy. Trans. and ed. Mary J. Gregor. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1996. Contains the following works cited:
Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, 37“108.
Critique of Practical Reason, 133“271.
Theoretical Philosophy, 1755“1770. Trans. and ed. David Walford. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1992. Contains the following works cited:
A New Elucidation of the First Principles of Metaphysical Cognition, 1“45.
Concerning the Ultimate Ground of the Differentiation of Directions in Space,
361“72.
On the Form and Principles of the Sensible and the Intelligible World
[Inaugural Dissertation], 373“416.
The Only Possible Argument in Support of a Demonstration of the Existence
of God, 107“201.
Theoretical Philosophy after 1781. Trans. and ed. Henry Allison and Peter
Heath, trans. Gary Hat¬eld and Michael Friedman. Cambridge: Cam-
bridge University Press, 2002. Contains the following works cited:
Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics that Will be Able to Come Forward
as Science, 49“169.
Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science, 171“270.
On a Discovery Whereby Any New Critique of Pure Reason Is To be Made
Super¬‚uous by an Older One, 281“336.

Other editions of Kant™s works:
Nachtr¨ ge zu Kants Kritik der reinen Vernunft. Ed. Benno Erdmann. Kiel:
a
Lipsius & Tischer, 1881.
Re¬‚exionen Kants zur kritischen Philosophie. Ed. Benno Erdmann. Leipzig:
Feuss Verlag, 1882.
The standard German edition of Kant™s works is Kants gesammelte Schriften.
Ed. Royal Prussian (later German) Academy of Sciences. Berlin: Georg
Reimer, later Walter de Gruyter & Co., 1900“. The marginal numbers
in works in the Cambridge edition are to volumes and pages of this
edition.


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