Sensibility, Understanding, and the Doctrine of Synthesis

P. F. Strawson

in Philosophical Writings

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199587292
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728747 | DOI:
Sensibility, Understanding, and the Doctrine of Synthesis

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Professor Henrich has previously given a most illuminating and instructive account of the methodology of the transcendental deduction and of Kant's transcendental strategy in general. His analysis began with the juridical analogy, which, as he showed, there is conclusive reason to think Kant had in mind. A deduction in the relevant sense aims to justify an acquired title, or claim of right, by tracing it back to origins, to origins which are such as to confer legitimacy on it. In application to the Critique this is a matter of elucidating crucial basic facts by virtue of which our knowledge-claims are justified and upon which our possession of knowledge depends. These basic facts relate to specific cognitive capacities of which we have, in reflection, an implicit awareness or knowledge. The deduction is then said to proceed, not by linear demonstration, but by a variety of argumentative strategies that will systematize and render explicit the functioning of our cognitive capacities and, in doing so, will, it is hoped, exhibit the necessary ‘validity of the categories for all objects of experience ’. This chapter raises what might be called a meta-critical point: a point concerning those ‘crucial basic facts’ about the dual faculties of sensibility and understanding; specifically about the a priori forms of sensibility and about the forms or functions, and hence the pure concepts, of understanding.

Keywords: Kant; transcendental strategy; crucial basic facts; sensibility; undertsanding

Chapter.  3876 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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