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noumenon


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Immanuel Kant (1724—1804) German philosopher

George Berkeley (1685—1753) Church of Ireland bishop of Cloyne and philosopher

free Will

 

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A term especially associated with Kant, denoting things as they are in themselves, as opposed to things as they are for us, knowable by the senses (phenomena). The noumenal lies behind the mind-imposed forms of time, space, and causation, and is therefore unknowable. On one view Kant is locked into a ‘two-worlds’ view, so that the noumenal is rather like Berkeley's God, in being responsible for the phenomenal world, except that we cannot know anything of its nature. On a different view, the distinction merely reflects Kant's understanding that all knowledge is knowledge from a standpoint, so the noumenal is the fraudulent idea of that which would be apprehended by a being with no point of view. It is unclear how on Kant's own view we can mean anything by the term, but Kant does suppose that we need to postulate a noumenal reality and especially a noumenal self as a condition of human free will, the phenomenal self being all too determined in its actions.

Subjects: Philosophy.


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