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J. S. Beck’s Theory of the Original Representing as an Interpretation of Kant

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Abstract

This paper explores Beck’s theory of original representing in order to discuss both its historical and theoretical relevance and its implications concerning Kant’s views on the capacity to judge. My first concern will be to highlight the main points of Beck’s Kant interpretation and to show at which points he misunderstands Kant. My analysis also contains a positive aspect, for I adopt Beck’s claim that there is only one possible standpoint from which critical philosophy ought to be judged. Unlike Beck, I shall argue that this standpoint is that of Judgment’s normativity. I will consider the normative structure of Judgment from three perspectives: the proto-synthetic import of sensibility; the normative character of the pure concepts of the understanding; the lawfulness of the principles of the understanding. My basic idea is that only a normative account of Judgment can prove how and why all experience depends on the possibility of synthetic a priori judgments. On Kant’s account, the capacity to judge applies transcendental rules to establish the laws which make our experience and knowledge both possible and legitimate. Every single object is an object of experience only insofar as it conforms to the normative structure of Judgment. For Kant, to constitute an object means to apply the rules which make something possible as an object of experience and cognition.

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Published Online: 2021-09-08
Published in Print: 2021-09-08

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