Immanuel Kant: Transcendental Idealism

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Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) was one of the most influential philosophers in the history of Western philosophy. However, Kant also had a reputation for developing difficult, not to say obscure, philosophical views. His concept of transcendental idealism was, and still is, considered to be one of the more philosophically perplexing positions. In 1769, the idea of transcendental idealism came to him and he then defined it the following year in his inaugural dissertation, On the Forms and Principles of the Sensible and Intelligible Worlds. In the next decade, he published his full argument in the first edition of the Critique of Pure Reason. Kant then continued to struggle to clarify transcendental idealism until his death in 1804.
To understand
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In other words, what humans sense as physical objects are actually only mere impressions. Kant explains, “that all our intuition [senses] is nothing but the representation of appearance; that the things that we intuit are not in themselves what we intuit them to be.” Essentially, humans will only know things merely as they appear, and not as they are in themselves. Furthermore, Kant reiterates the distinction between appearance and reality with the terms phenomenon and noumenon. Phenomenon is where the objects appear through the effects of human being’s own personal perspective. In contrast, noumena is where the objects are as they really are, and what Kant calls a thing-in-itself. Just as human beings only experience the appearance of objects, human beings can never know the noumenal world. “We are restricted to knowledge of phenomena; noumena must for ever remain mysterious to …show more content…
The first argument is that space is presupposed for outer experience. Space is not an “empirical concept,” and according to Kant, “in order for certain sensations to be related to something outside me... the representation of space must already be their ground.” Kant argues that the reason humans have an experience of anything outside of themselves, is because space provides the the representation of this 'outside me.' Otherwise, unless there is already a possession of knowledge of space, it is impossible to experience objects spatially. Metaphysical exposition also involves the proof that space is a pre-condition of all physical experience and yet “not as a determination dependent on them, and is an a priori representation that, necessarily grounds outer appearances." In other terms, physical objects cannot be imagined without space but we can imagine space without any existence of physical objects. These two points establish the pureness of space as the third and fourth arguments argue that space is not a concept at all, “but a pure intuition.” According to Kant, space is essentially one. This means that space is unified rather than being a collection of individual points and for it to be a concept, then it must have a feature of generality. For example, a concept could be “motherhood.” Mothers are

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