Was Kant a nonconceptualist?
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I criticize recent nonconceptualist readings of Kant’s account of perception on the grounds that the strategy of the Deduction requires that understanding be involved in the synthesis of imagination responsible for the intentionality of perceptual experience. I offer an interpretation of the role of understanding in perceptual experience as the consciousness of normativity in the association of one’s representations. This leads to a reading of Kant which is conceptualist, but in a way which accommodates considerations favoring nonconceptualism, in particular the primitive character of perceptual experience relative to thought and judgment.
KeywordsKant Perception Nonconceptual content Intentionality Normativity
This paper was presented as part of a symposium at the 2007 Pacific Division Meeting of the APA. I am very grateful to José Bermúdez for his comments on that occasion. Thanks also to Lucy Allais, Stephen Engstrom, and Eric Watkins for helpful discussion.
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