Chapter

Fitting the Pieces Together

Rae Langton

in Kantian Humility

Published in print January 2001 | ISBN: 9780199243174
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597909 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199243174.003.0007
 Fitting the Pieces Together

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Humility does follow from Receptivity—given Irreducibility. For Leibniz, Reducibility is the mirror that allows relations to be taken as intrinsic properties, phenomena to be taken as monads: reducibility permits (confused) acquaintance of things in themselves, since through perceptual access to phenomenal relations, we gain access to intrinsic properties. When Kant denies reducibility, that mirror is broken: Receptivity says we have knowledge only of what affects us; Distinction says that what affects us are the relational, causal powers of substance; Irreducibility says that it is ‘not through its own intrinsic properties’ that substance affects us. Humility follows: ‘we have no insight whatsoever into the intrinsic nature of things’. Kant's commitment to Irreducibility persisted beyond early work, extending throughout his philosophical career.

Keywords: Humility; intrinsic properties; Irreducibility; Kant; Leibniz; mirror; monad; phenomena; Receptivity; things in themselves

Chapter.  7383 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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