Procreo: Theology, Philosophy, and Life: The Kantian Synthesis

The Transcendental Deduction (A84–130, B116–169) is Kant'sattempt to demonstrate against empiricist psychological theory thatcertain a priori concepts correctly apply to objects featuredin our experience. Dieter Henrich (1989) points out that Kant's use of‘Deduktion’ redeploys German legal vocabulary; inHoly Roman Empire Law, ‘Deduktion’ signifies anargument intended to yield a historical justification for thelegitimacy of a property claim. In Kant's derivative epistemologicalsense, a deduction is an argument that aims to justify the use of aconcept, one that demonstrates that the concept correctly applies toobjects. For Kant a concept is a priori just in case itssource is the understanding of the subject and not sensory experience(A80/B106; Strawson 1966: 86). The specific a priori conceptswhose applicability to objects of experience Kant aims to vindicate inthe Transcendental Deduction are given in his Table of Categories(A80/B106); they are Unity, Plurality, and Totality (the Categories ofQuantity); Reality, Negation, and Limitation (the Categories ofQuality); Inherence and Subsistence, Causality and Dependence, andCommunity (the Categories of Relation), and Possibility-Impossibility,Existence-Nonexistence, Necessity-Contingency (the Categories ofModality).

Kant characterizes synthesis as “the act of putting different representations together, ..

The first two, apprehension and reproduction, are inseparable; onecannot occur without the other (A102). The third, recognition, requiresthe other two but is not required by them. It seems that only the thirdrequires the use of concepts; this problem of non-concept-usingsyntheses and their relationship to use of the categories becomes asubstantial issue in the second edition (see B150ff.), where Kant triesto save the universality of the objective deduction by arguing that allthree kinds of syntheses are required to represent objects.


kant and synthesis | Immanuel Kant | …

Synthesis of Reproduction in Imagination - Kant - …

that claim is not uncontroversially made here. For by the assertionthat I “am conscious of the synthesis of them,” i.e., ofthese representations, Kant may mean only that I am conscious thatthey stand in a certain intimate relation to one another, forinstance, that that they are integrated with each other in a waydistinct from how mine are integrated with yours, which does notrequire co-consciousness (Pereboom 1995).


First published Mon Jul 26, 2004; ..

which allows that the individual elements of the intuition are suchthat the subject can only become conscious of each separately, perhapsin turn. He contends, however, that the unity expressed by (W) isinsufficient to generate this need for synthesis. If I am merely(possibly or actually) serially conscious of the elements of anintuition, it won't be required that I synthesize them into a unifiedintuition. Howell goes on to argue that while (W) is credible, Kantcannot in fact establish (S); it is implausible that suchco-consciousness for any arbitrary intuition is actual or evengenuinely possible for us. Consequently, the soundness of thisargument, and the overall argument of the B-Deduction isimperiled.

Immanuel Kant (/ k æ n t /; German: ..

(S) asserts that all of the individual elements of the selectedintuition are such that the subject is or can become conscious of themsimultaneously. In Howell's interpretation, only if the elements of anintuition together and at the same time are accompanied by thesame I think will it be plausible that the subject mustsynthesize these elements (Howell 1992: 162). On van Cleve's reading,it is required that for any intuition that I have, I actually becomesimultaneously conscious of its elements. If this co-consciousnesswere just merely possible, Kant could only conclude is that theresulting representation is only possibly subject to the categories(van Cleve 1999: 84). On an interpretation of this type, the mechanismof the argument of §16 is to adduce a kind of unity orcombination that my representations actually exhibit, and then toargue that this unity requires synthesis by means of the categories asa condition or for its explanation. Kant is thus read as contendingthat actual co-consciousness is a type of unity that demands synthesisby means of the categories, and that any variety of unity short ofco-consciousness will be inadequate to establishing this objective ofthe Deduction.