Kant, polysolipsism, and the real unity of experience

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Abstract
[written in 2002/2003 while I was a graduate student at the University of Connecticut and ultimately submitted as part of my qualifying exam for the Masters of Philosophy] The question I am interested in revolves around Kant’s notion of the unity of experience. My central claim will be that, apart from the unity of experiencings and the unity of individual substances, there is a third unity: the unity of Experience. I will argue that this third unity can be conceived of as a sort of ‘experiential space’ with the Aesthetic and Categories as dimensions. I call this ‘Euclidean Experience’ to emphasize the idea that individual experiencings have a ‘location’ within this framework much like individual objects have a location in space and time. The first sort of unity, that of experiences (or ‘experiencings’ as I will call them) is not enough. In order to have self-consciousness (ascribed atomic experiencings) there must be a consciousness in which the experiencings ‘take place’ just as in order for there to be objects there must be space in which they are located. With such a notion of experience in hand I argue that it can be used to bring together the solipsistic and non-solipsistic strands in Kant’s thinking. The resulting position I call ‘Polysolipsism.’
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Archival date: 2013-03-17
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2009-01-28

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