Which Kantian Conceptualism (or Nonconceptualism)?

Southern Journal of Philosophy 52 (3):316-337 (2014)
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A recent debate in Kant scholarship concerns the role of concepts in Kant's theory of perception. Roughly, proponents of a conceptualist interpretation argue that for Kant, the possession of concepts is a prior condition for perception, while nonconceptualist interpreters deny this. The debate has two parts. One part concerns whether possessing empirical concepts is a prior condition for having empirical intuitions. A second part concerns whether Kant allows empirical intuitions without a priori concepts. Outside of Kant interpretation, the contemporary debate about conceptualism concerns whether perception requires empirical concepts. But, as I argue, the debate about whether Kant allows intuitions without empirical concepts does not show whether Kant is a conceptualist. Even if Kant allows intuitions without empirical concepts, it could still be that a priori concepts are required. While the debate could show that Kant is a conceptualist, I argue it does not. Finally, I sketch a novel way that the conceptualist interpreter might win the debate—roughly, by arguing that possessing a priori concepts is a prior condition for having appearances
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