Kantian Phenomenalism Without Berkeleyan Idealism

Kantian Review 22 (2):205-231 (2017)
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Phenomenalist interpretations of Kant are out of fashion. The most common complaint from anti-phenomenalist critics is that a phenomenalist reading of Kant would collapse Kantian idealism into Berkeleyan idealism. This would be unacceptable because Berkeleyan idealism is incompatible with core elements of Kant’s empirical realism. In this paper, I argue that not all phenomenalist readings threaten empirical realism. First, I distinguish several variants of phenomenalism, and then show that Berkeley’s idealism is characterized by his commitment to most of them. I then make the case that two forms of phenomenalism are consistent with Kant’s empirical realism. The comparison between Kant and Berkeley runs throughout the paper, with special emphasis on the significance of their theories of intentionality.
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