Sense and Sensibilia: Reconstructed from the Manuscript by J. L. Austin

By J. L. Austin

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Additional info for Sense and Sensibilia: Reconstructed from the Manuscript Notes By G. J. Warnock

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From the theoretical standpoint by which we have knowledge of all objects in general, Kant argues that we can neither prove nor disprove that we have genuine free will in light of the equally compelling but contradictorily opposed claim of natural causal determinism (see Chapter 2 below on Kant’s Antinomies). But as just indicated, the recognized reality of morality implies that we must have genuine free will. So in the end Kant argues that it is solely from the practical perspective of action and will, that is, solely from within the standpoint of practical reason’s own necessarily binding idea of the moral ought (as Kant also argues), that the existence of God and our souls can ultimately be indirectly supported on moral grounds rather than by means of speculative theoretical arguments or proofs.

The possibility of a priori knowledge – in particular, ‘synthetic’ a priori knowledge, as we shall see at the outset of Chapter 2 – is one of the most central concerns in the First Critique. In fact, the term transcendental, which occurs so frequently throughout Kant’s Critical or Transcendental Philosophy, is defined by Kant in terms of the possibility of a priori cognition: “I call all cognition transcendental that is occupied not so much with objects but rather with our mode of cognition of objects insofar as this is to be possible a priori” (A11–12/B25).

Empirically subjective. Ordinary material objects and scientific processes outside us in space. Kant’s empirical realism. Empirically objective. In Kant’s transcendental sense Kant’s transcendental idealism: material objects in so far as they conform to our a priori forms of sensibility (space and time) and understanding (the categories). Transcendental subjectivity. Noumenal ‘things in themselves’ = things as thought by pure reason, not as conforming to our a priori forms of experience. Kant: unknowable by us (except practically re: ‘idea of freedom’).

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