chapter  1
26 Pages

Kant

Sensibility, Perception, Reality
WithCorijn van Mazijk

This chapter and the next consider how Kant understands the relationship between perception and reality. The main thesis defended is that reality for Kant is accessible only by spatiotemporally orienting agents with a shared capacity to determine conceptually whatever is sensibly presented to them in intuitions, and that intuitions are always already in accordance with the rules for such determination, but that they are not exhaustive of sensible representation as such. This first chapter deals with the first part of this thesis, namely that accessing reality presupposes spatiotemporally orienting beings. To this end, I consider Kant’s early views on space and those in the first Critique. This further reveals that sensibility for Kant must be considered as making an extra-conceptual contribution to experience. In the second part, I turn to Kant’s reading of Descartes and the threat of idealism. I argue that Kant rejects idealism, that he defends our immediate perceptual access to reality, and that he does not make forms of sensibility contingent upon natural fact, as McDowell has suggested. Moreover, I show that Kant’s account of perceptual access to reality involves the idea of a ‘dualism’ (A370) within experience, which is very similar to McDowell’s disjunctive theory.