The Subjective Deduction and Kant’s Methodological Skepticism

In Giuseppe Motta, Dennis Schulting & Udo Thiel (eds.), Kant’s Transcendental Deduction and the Theory of Apperception. Berlin, Germany: pp. 341-60 (2022)
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The deduction of categories in the 1781 edition of the Critique of the Pure Reason (A Deduction) has “two sides”—the “objective deduction” and the “subjective deduction”. Kant seems ambivalent about the latter deduction. I treat it as a significant episode of Kant’s thinking about categories that extended from the early 1770s to around 1790. It contains his most detailed answer to the question about the origin of categories that he formulated in the 1772 letter to Marcus Herz. The answer is that categories are generated a priori through a kind of intellectual “epigenesis”. This account leaves unexplained why precisely such and such categories should be generated. While this observation caused Kant to worry about the hypothetical status of the subjective deduction in 1781, he would come to acquiesce in the recognition that the ground of the possibility of categories is itself inscrutable. I call this his “methodological skepticism”.
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