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South Carolina Society for Philosophy

2024 Joint Meeting with the North Carolina Philosophical Society

March 15-16 at Davidson College

Keynote Speaker

Michael Pendlebury

North Carolina State University


ABSTRACT: In this talk I offer what I take to be a broadly accessible explanation of a novel interpretation of Kant’s account of our cognition of space in the Critique of Pure Reason and the ways in which both sensibility and understanding contribute to this account. I pay special attention to Kant’s philosophical insights and do not engage with the details of recent scholarly work. (For those who are well acquainted with the Critique: The talk focuses on Kant’s position on our representations of space rather than his views about space itself. I begin by explaining how Kant’s reasoning about our intuitive representation of space in the Aesthetic can reasonably be taken to support some claims about our cognition of space that he wants to establish, but I also identify others that it does not support. Next, turning to the Analytic, I sketch an explanation of Kant’s account of our cognition in general, the role of synthesis, and his account of our cognition of the unity of Nature, showing how this makes good on a limitation of the Aesthetic. I then draw on this material to sketch and advance a new interpretation of Kant’s use of the term “formal intuition” and how it is related to the terms “form of intuition” and “a priori intuition” as these terms apply to space. I conclude with some comments on Kant’s insights.)

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