2 The Subjects of the First Paralogism

C. Thomas Powell

in Kant's Theory of Self-Consciousness

Published in print August 1990 | ISBN: 9780198244486
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680779 | DOI:
2 The Subjects of the First Paralogism

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In the Paralogisms of Pure Reason, Immanuel Kant undertakes a thorough and painstaking critique of several arguments which purport to deduce certain a priori truths concerning the actual properties of the self. Here, Kant forces each of the main arguments into the form of a fallacious syllogism, or paralogism, and presents them not merely as deductive fallacies but as deductive fallacies of a very specific kind, a sophisma figurae dictionis, a syllogism which fails because of an ambiguous middle term. This chapter considers Jonathan Bennett's reading of the First Paralogism, focusing on the four main claims he makes against Kant: that he is mistaken in saying that the First Paralogism is a fallacious argument resting on an ambiguity; that he conflates two senses of ‘subject’; that he does not show how the transition is made from the soul as substance to the soul as sempiternal; and that he accords empirical legitimacy to the judgment ‘I am sempiternal’.

Keywords: Immanuel Kant; Jonathan Bennett; paralogism; fallacious syllogism; self; rational psychology; First Paralogism; soul

Chapter.  10788 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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