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Wie erfahren wir uns selbst sinnlich? Ein Lösungsvorschlag zu Kants Paradox der Selbstaffektion

From the book Kant's Transcendental Deduction and the Theory of Apperception

  • Katharina T. Kraus


Most interpretations of Kant’s theory of self-consciousness focus on the consciousness of oneself as a thinking subject through apperception, whereas his theory of inner experience, which assumes the possibility of self-affection (Selbsaffektion), receives far less attention. According to the latter, mental states such as thoughts, feelings, and desires can become objects of inner intuition insofar as the subject sensibly affects itself. Kant’s conception of self-affection, however, holds a paradox: it raises the question as to whether (and, if so, how) the subject can be an object for itself at all. This chapter proposes a solution to this paradox by examining the complex relationship between conceptual and sensible kinds of self-consciousness and distinguishing three moments of self-constitution: apperception, self-affection, and the projection of a temporally extended mental whole based on the rational idea of the soul. This threefold distinction forms the basis for a new understanding of self-cognition in Kant.

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