Philosophical Studies 174:425–442 (2017)
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In this paper, I propose a new nonconceptual reading of the B-Deduction. As Hanna correctly remarks (Int J Philos Stud 19(3):399–415, 2011: 405), the word “cognition” (Erkenntnis/cognition) has, in both editions of the first Critique, a wide sense, meaning nonconceptual cognition, and a narrow meaning, in Kant’s own words “an objective perception” (A320/B377). To be sure, Kant assumes the first meaning to account for why the Deduction is unavoidable. If we take this meaning as a premise of the B-Deduction, then there is a gap in the argument since the categories are certainly not conditions for non-conceptual cognition (Kantian nonconceptualism). Still, I believe it is not this wide meaning but rather the narrow one that figures in any premise of the B-Deduction. Thus, in the reading that I am proposing, categories are not conditions for representing something (I call this the intentionality thesis), or even conditions for representing something objectively (I call this the objectivity thesis). Instead, they are conditions for the recognition that what we represent through the senses exists mind-independently. In the first step of the B-Deduction, this cognition in the narrow sense takes the form of propositional thinking (transcendental apperception) that the nonconceptually represented object of the sensible intuition exists objectively. In contrast, in the second step of the B-Deduction, this cognition in the narrow sense takes the form of the apprehension (figurative synthesis) of what our human senses represent nonconceptually as existing objectively.

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Roberto Horácio De Pereira
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro


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