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understanding (Kant)

Subject Philosophy

People Kant, Immanuel

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


E pistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind [German Verstand , corresponding to Greek dianoia and Latin intellcetio ] Kant distinguished understanding from sensibility and reason. While sensibility is receptive, understanding is spontaneous. While understanding is concerned with the range of phenomena and is empty without intuition , reason, which moves from judgment to judgment concerning phenomena, is tempted to extend beyond the limits of experience to generate fallacious inferences. Kant claimed that the main act of understanding is judgment and called it a faculty of judgment. He claimed that there is an a priori concept or category corresponding to each kind of judgment as its logical function and that understanding is constituted by twelve categories. Hence understanding is also a faculty of concepts. Understanding gives the synthetic unity of appearance through the categories. It thus brings together intuitions and concepts and makes experience possible. It is a lawgiver of nature. Herder criticized Kant for separating sensibility and understanding. Fichte and Hegel criticized him for separating understanding and reason. Some neo-Kantians criticized him for deriving the structure of understanding from the act of judgment. “Now we can reduce all acts of the understanding to judgements, and the understanding may therefore be represented ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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