2004 | 13 | 4(52) | 243-261
Article title

Externalization of Spirit? Use Theory of Representation in Kant's Philosophy

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The paper compares certain views of Kant's with positions taken by Putnam, Prauss, Frege and Peirce on the origin and status of the contents of representations. The author focuses on the shift that is detectable in the 'Critique of Pure Reason', where Kant seems ready to abandon the 'representation' position for the 'use' position, and the 'internalist' position for the sake of the 'externalist' position to emphasise the process-like character of concepts and contents. This shift is tantamount to 'expelling contents out of mind'. Contents is understood as a system of rules formulated conditionally, pertaining to conceptual determinants and dependent on our knowledge. The semantic test of adequacy of use is the world. Thus, instead of speaking about 'contents' of concepts, it is preferable to speak of rules of using concepts. The author proposes to replace 'representations' with 'instances of direct insight', which will facilitate understanding of the alleged question of externalisation of contents of representations. In author's proposal the signifying sign cannot be separated from the signified object and its history in our knowledge. Both are aspects of the same process, and direct insight is a non-conceptual phenomenon. But on the other hand, even the most scrupulous observation of the rules of correct usage of concepts will not guarantee that a representation will reach an external object for which it is intended or that the object will possess the stable identity that we wish to assign to its representation.
  • G. Schoenrich, Technische Universitaet Dresden, Institut fuer Philosophie, D-01062 Dresden, Bundesrepublik Deutschland
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