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2004 | 13 | 4(52) | 227-241

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The Original Synthetic Unity of Apperception as the Foundation of Concept and Proposition in Kant's Philosophy


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In connection with recent research conducted by several contemporary German scholars, such writers as Baum, Wolff and Reich, the author addresses the following problem: If the subject, conceived generally, is a representation formed by the intellect then a combination of various representations into one object as it appears to the subject must also be a product of the intellect. If so much is granted, the question arises: How is it possible that various representations are unified in the intellect in a way adequate to the representations themselves rather than to the patterns of unification used by the subject? And another question becomes important: What is the meaning of the 'objective unity of apperception', and what is its relation to the 'synthetic unity of apperception' in this context? According to Reich, for instance, objective cognition cannot be effected within one concept due to the properties of the self itself. If the thought presenting the subject, conceived generally, to itself is a necessary thought for the subject which in this way acquires knowledge of its own non-productivity, and if this condition characterises all thoughts different from the self then the limitations of the self are transferred to all its thoughts. From these considerations springs the main idea of the article, namely, that the proposition is, by virtue of its own definition, an instance of the use of concepts when the subject wants to gain cognition of objects. With the mediation of the proposition concepts are constituted as synthetically unified in the subject. According to Wolff the concept of intellectual cognition that underlies transcendental deduction is the point of departure and the guiding beacon for the Kantian program. Eventually, the author joins the position of Reich who claims that the meaning of 'proposition' and 'intellect' must be seen in the light of Kant's contention that the unity of intellect and the unifying functions of intellect can be fully discovered only after a comprehensive understanding of the unifying functions of propositions has been achieved.







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  • M. Heinz, Universitaet Siegen, Fachbereich 1 - Philosophie, D-57068 Siegen, Bundesrepublik Deutschland


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