Nonconceptualism or De Re Sense? A New Reading of Kantian Intuition

Abstracta 10:45–64 (2017)
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This paper aims to offer a critical review of the recent noncontextualist reading of the Kantian notion of sensible intuition. I raise two main objections. First, nonconceptualist readers fail to distinguish connected but different anti-intellectualist claims in the contemporary philosophy of mind and language. Second, I will argue that nonconceptual readings fail because Kan- tian intuitions do not possess a representational content of their own that can be veridical or falsidical in a similar way to how the content of propositional attitudes is true or false. In this paper, I will support my own reading that sensible intuition is better seen as what Evans and McDowell have called a de re sense, whose main characteristic is object dependence. In this sense, Kantian sensible intuitions can be seen as a sensible mode of donation of objects. In my reading, the Kantian opposition between intuitions and concepts is best seen as the opposition between the objectual de re perception of something and the propositional de dicto apperception that something is the case rather than the opposition between nonconceptual and conceptual contents. However, if Kantian sensible intuition is not a mental state with nonconceptual content, it is certainly in the general anti-intellectualist neighborhood.

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Roberto Horácio De Pereira
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro


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