Chapter

An Old Problem

Rae Langton

in Kantian Humility

Published in print January 2001 | ISBN: 9780199243174
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597909 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199243174.003.0002
 An Old Problem

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The ‘acid test’ for an interpretation of Kant is its solution to an old problem. Things in themselves exist, and are the causes of phenomenal appearances, but we have no knowledge of things in themselves. Doesn’t that make his tale untellable? Allison's deflationary solution makes a distinction between how we consider things, whether ‘in themselves’, i.e. in abstraction from the conditions of our sensibility, or not. A better solution is admittedly metaphysical, but none the worse for it: there exist things in themselves, i.e. things that have intrinsic properties; those things have relational powers that constitute phenomena; but we don’t know what the intrinsic properties are. This tale is tellable.

Keywords: abstraction; Allison; deflationary; intrinsic; Kant; phenomenal appearance; properties; relational; relational powers; things in themselves; untellable

Chapter.  3316 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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