Kant-e-Print 14 (1) (2019)
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This paper aims to present a novel reading of Kantian idealism. In want of a better name, I call my interpretation “one-object-plus-epistemic phenomenalism.” I partially endorse Allison’s celebrated position, namely his rejection of metaphysical world-dualism. Yet, I reject Allison’s deflationary two-aspect view. I argue that Kantian idealism is also metaphysically committed to an ontological noumenalism (one-object), namely the claim that the ultimate nature of reality is made up of unknown things in themselves (substantia noumena). Natural sciences can only reveal the relational/structural properties of things as they appear rather than the intrinsic properties of substantia noumena in the negative sense. My anti-deflationary reading is similar to Allais’s, and my agnostic monism to Hanna’s. However, against both, I hold that appearances are not the accusative objects of our sensible representations but rather, as Kant repeatedly states: “mere representations.” The accusative objects of our senses are substantia noumena in the negative sense. Moreover, my view is also similar to Langton’s. Again, against Langton, I hold that appearances are not merely relational properties of substantia noumena but the way that such substantia noumena exist inside our mind as “mere representations.” In this regard, I also partially endorse Guyer’s and Van Cleve’s phenomenalist reading because these substantia noumena in the negative sense can only be cognized mind-dependently, namely as appearances. However, against Guyer and Van Cleve, I hold that the phenomenalist side of Kantian idealism is purely epistemological rather than ontological: what Kant calls the necessary unity of representations according to categories is not a logical construction of objects out of representations, that is, an ontological reduction of noumena to appearances, but rather the way we sense-independently cognize mind-independent noumena.

Author's Profile

Roberto Horácio De Pereira
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro


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