Synthese

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Kant on the place of cognition in the progression of our representations

Mini-Symposium on Kant and Cognition

Abstract

I argue for a new delimitation of what Kant means by ‘cognition [Erkenntnis]’, on the basis of the intermediate, transitional place that Kant gives to cognition in the ‘progression [Stufenleiter]’ of our representations and our consciousness of them. I show how cognition differs from mental acts lying earlier on this progression—such as sensing, intuiting, and perceiving—and also how cognition differs from acts lying later on this progression—such as explaining, having insight, and comprehending. I also argue that cognition should not be confused with ‘knowledge [Wissen]’, insofar as knowledge represents the culmination of a separate orthogonal progression of acts of ‘holding-true’. Along the way, I show how having in focus the specific progression from representation, to consciousness, to cognition (and beyond) allows us to better appreciate the architectonic significance of the progression of Kant’s analysis in the first Critique (and beyond), and also helps to illuminate the unity of Kant’s account of cognition itself across its variety of (empirical, mathematical, philosophical) forms.

Keywords

Kant Cognition Perception Representation Intentionality Consciousness Thought 

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy Department, 0119University of California, San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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