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  • Kant and the Philosophy of Mind: Perception, Reason, and the Self eds. by Anil Gomes and Andrew Stephenson
  • Janum Sethi
Anil Gomes and Andrew Stephenson, editors. Kant and the Philosophy of Mind: Perception, Reason, and the Self. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. Pp. xiv + 283. Cloth, $60.00.

In his useful introduction, Gomes makes clear that a relatively modest claim animates this excellent collection of essays. The editors do not seek to establish that Kant should primarily be seen as a philosopher of mind, but rather, quite simply, that his broader philosophical project requires that he be "engaged in the philosophy of mind" (6). This has allowed them to gather together essays that advance the debate on issues that, quite independently of their classification, have been the subject of much recent interest in Kant scholarship.

The first set of essays questions whether Kant takes sensible intuitions to be dependent, on the one hand, on concepts, and, on the other hand, on objects. Lucy Allais builds on previous work in which she has argued that it is the distinctive role of intuitions to present us with particulars, and that they do so independently of conceptual synthesis. Here, Allais rejects a possible view that takes the empirical fact that sensations require binding as grounds for the claim that the formation of intuitions requires synthesis. Against this, Allais argues persuasively that synthesis is responsible for higher-level cognitive achievements. In her essay, Katherine Dunlop rejects the further claim that binding organizes sensations into intuitions, arguing that the "primitive representation of objects" (47) that governs even infant cognition is a more Kantian contender for this role.

As for the dependence of intuitions on their objects, the three essays by Stefanie Grüne, Colin McLear, and Andrew Stephenson effectively cover much of the logical space. The question is whether, on Kant's view, having an intuition of an object requires that that object exist and stand in the right relation to the subject. McLear defends object-dependence against two objections arising out of Kant's discussion of imagination and hallucination. Grüne argues that having an intuition at most requires that the intuited object existed at some time, whereas Stephenson argues that intuitions are wholly object-independent. [End Page 568]

Another set of essays tackles a cluster of difficult questions concerning inner sense, self-consciousness, and the cognitive subject. Ralf Bader gives an account of how both inner and outer objects end up in time, even though time is only the form of inner sense. Though Kant is typically read as denying that we have any awareness of a substantial self, Andrew Chignell argues that there are no good textual or philosophical reasons to deny substantiality of the empirical self cognized through inner sense, while Ralph Walker argues that there is in fact a synthetic a priori argument for the claim that the transcendental self is a substance. Tobias Rosefeldt and Paul Snowdon discuss Kant's arguments in the paralogisms. In a compelling essay, Rosefeldt rejects a standard reading of the first paralogism, and argues instead that Kant criticizes the rational psychologist for mistaking the formal non-predicability of the "I" for cognition of a metaphysical substance. Finally, Snowdon argues that Kant's rejection of rational psychology in the paralogisms rests unacceptably on his transcendental idealism.

A final set of essays has to do with Kant's account of judgment. Patricia Kitcher argues that Kant is a "natural enemy" (172) of views that hold that beliefs are "transparent" to the world. On Kitcher's view, Kant's claim that judgment requires consciousness of one's own rational activity means that he would deny that one can come to know what one believes simply by "looking outwards" to the world (170). Drawing on similar considerations, Jessica Leech attempts to explain Kant's puzzling claim, that every judgment must have a modality, by appealing to the fact that, for Kant, every judgment must be inferentially connected to others in a course of self-conscious reasoning. Finally, Jill Vance Buroker examines the extent to which practical judgment can play a role in determining the various modes of theoretical assent allowed by Kant.

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