Kant's Paralogisms: Self‐Consciousness and the ‘Outside Observer’ <sup>1</sup>

P. F. Strawson

in Entity and Identity

Published in print February 2000 | ISBN: 9780198250159
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598470 | DOI:
 Kant's Paralogisms: Self‐Consciousness and the ‘Outside Observer’  1

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Kant distinguishes between himself as object of outer sense (man), himself as object of inner sense alone (empirical consciousness), and himself as he is in himself (the transcendental subject that underlies all thoughts). He also speaks of the ‘transcendental unity of apperception’ or ‘unity of consciousness’ (the ‘I’ of ‘I think’, which belongs to all thought or experience). Each of us, aiming to study the self in abstraction from empirical consciousness, is liable systematically to confuse the unity and simplicity of his or her consciousness with a consciousness of unity and simplicity and mistakenly conclude that his or her ‘I’ denotes a simple, identical, immaterial substance, the self as it is in itself; but no outside observer is liable to make that mistake about anyone else.

Keywords: I think; empirical self; noumenal self; simplicity; subject; substratum; unity of consciousness

Chapter.  5992 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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