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Title:Kant's Argument for Permanent Substance
Author(s):Keppler, David Gerard
Department / Program:Philosophy
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:I argue that Kant had good reason to claim that there must be permanent phenomenal substances. He needs to account for the possibility of representing reality that we are not now experiencing. He argues that only if substance is permanent can we represent the past. Permanent substance is, therefore, a necessary condition for bringing possible experience to apperception.
Two theses dictate the need for permanent substance. The first is the nature of space and time. I argue that space and time for Kant are constructed in the course of our behavior. In the argument from geometry Kant argues that the concepts of geometry must have a corresponding object if they are to have more than mere formal significance. The constructions, I argue, are space. Thus, space and time are performed behaviors. The second thesis is that the understanding can represent (semantic success can be achieved) only by properly combining the spatio-temporal sensible manifold. It cannot represent by describing reality. How the understanding achieves objective representation through combination is by making the sensible manifold amenable to the intellect that I am. The categories define the representational limits of the understanding. The larger problem then becomes bringing objects not given to us by sensation (including past reality) to our present thought capacity. This is the function of the relational categories.
The relational categories govern time and time defines the purported content of our understanding. Possible experience, therefore, is limited to that experience which can be brought under the organizing rules of the relational categories. If time is nothing other than behaving appropriately to that which we encounter in experience, and since past experience is not encounterable reality, then how is it possible to represent the past? I argue that Kant's response is that the past can be encompassed within my present thought capacity only if what I now encounter is a state of a permanent substance. In short, Kant has a substance-based theory of time, and since time defines the limits of possible experience, possible experience is limited to the enduringness of substance.
Issue Date:1988
Description:225 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1988.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8823164
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1988

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