Kant's first critique, Videos 22-26

This document will cover comments and notes on a series of videos on the critique by Victor Gijsberts.

Video 22, The Transcendental Deduction Section One

There are a lot of differences in the transcendental deduction between the A and B version. Section one however remains largely the same.

The aim of the deduction is to prove that the concepts of the understanding (as presented in the metaphysical deduction/clue) apply to intuitions. When we apply judgement to objects, that application makes use of the categories of the understanding, Kant proves this in the clue. However, Kant has not yet proved that we apply judgement to objects.

The problem with this undertaking is that the concepts of the understanding are neither grounded in intuition not in sensibility. As soon as we take space and time into our thinking, run into the issue of applying them to concepts outside of experience. Space and time are already proven to be non-applicable outside of experience in the aesthetic. The question for the deduction is whether the concepts of the understanding apply to things-in-themselves and the empirical world.

Objects seem to be given to intuition that are non-applicable to the concepts of the understanding. Their position and reliance on space and time seems clear, but a concept might be imaginable that is not applicable to an object. To prove that we can know a priori that concepts apply to intuition, Kant introduces “experience”. To see an object in experience, we need to have the concepts of the understanding. In other words, the deduction is an investigation into the relation between subject and object.

Video 23, The Transcendental Object

Objects are given to us in intuition (sensibility). These objects should conform to out a priori categories. Why these two faculties (understanding and sensibility) come together is the question asked here.

In the experience of an object certain things are involved in representing that object to the subject. When we ascribe a quality to an experience, we are making a rule for that experience. The object must then (under the same conditions as before) appear to have that quality that we ascribed it earlier.

However, sensibility cannot give us rules, this is where the understanding comes into the picture. The concepts of the understanding are certain rules. In distinguishing perception from objects we posit a rule for experience itself.

Video 24, The Transcendental Subject

To make sense of subjectivity, we need more than mere sense perception. The subject is not mere that which receives the perceptions. Furthermore, Kant does not think that we perceive ourselves as a substance either.

In other words, that transcendental subject cannot be an object. Instead, it is that to which (transcendental) objects are given. The self combines and unifies the sense perceptions into one unified consciousness. The self is then the “transcendental unity of apperception”. This is explained by the transcendental objects for it required a transcendental unification process of fitting it (the object) into the framework of understanding. This act of synthesis is performed by the subject trough reason. The subject can only be aware of itself by virtue of the transcendental unity. Thus, neither subject nor object (in the transcendental sense) have any grounding without the other and cannot be separated. This view of Kant also becomes a powerful argument against external world scepticism.

Video 25, The Transcendental Deduction Section Two A

In the experience of objects, multiple faculties come together, only then will cognition occur. The coming together of these faculties is called the threefold synthesis. The three folds of this synthesis are: The pure synthesis of apperception which combines the manifold intuitions. The imagination which both reproduces previous intuitions and posits intuitions as belonging together. These are called respectively the reproductive and productive imagination. The last part of the synthesis is the recognition of rules without which we would not realize the synthesis occurred. These faculties of cognition are provable a priori. We know that one consciousness must preform this synthesis alone, separate parts of the synthesis cannot be done by separate minds. We cannot have transcendental apperception if we do not know the identity of the consciousness that observes it. Furthermore, we only grasp the unity of the consciousness through the analysis of the synthesis itself.

Video 26, The Transcendental Deduction Section Three A

The absolute first intuition is that of the unity of perception in the consciousness. This unity presupposes the act of synthesis that occurs in it. The consciousness and the synthesis are therefore co-dependant and graspable a prior The understanding is then the unity of apperception and the synthesis. Appearances thus have a necessary relation to the understanding. This relation is contained within the categories as posed in the metaphysical deduction. This can only occur with the faculties of the threefold synthesis. For this to be true, we cannot have mere intuition. The fact that we can have a priori knowledge of intuitions implies that they must follow certain analysable rules.