The First Critique

Filed under: by: Irami

If I ever explain the first part of the transcendental aesthetic to an undergrad in 15 minutes. I think I'd do it like this:

Let's take this statement, "At this time, two feet in front of me, an object, a computer screen, appears before me.” There is just one object, and this is the story of how it is represented to us.

We have a faculty of representation. The faculty of representation allows us to represent objects external to the mind as "objects given to us in time and space.”

The object external to the mind impinges on our faculty of representation through our capacity of sensibility. Sensibility yields intuitions. Through our capacity for sensibility, the external object is immediately related to our intuitions. These empirical intuitions of the object, empirical because they are yielded by sensibility, are the appearance of the object.

Sensibility yields the content of these intuitions in the form of space and time. Our capacity for sensibility comes in two kinds, inner sense and outer sense. Inner sense yields empirical intuitions in the form of time, and outer sense yields empirical intuitions in the form of space.

Since the form in which sensibility yields intuitions cannot itself be an intuition yielded by sensibility, the forms lie somewhere outside of sensibility.

We have arrived at a place where we are talking about the form of these empirical intuitions as distinct from and the matter of these empirical intuitions. “Matter” of these empirical intuitions, also known as the matter of the appearance of the object, is given to through sensibility. A posteriori means given through sensibility.

The capacity to intuit the form of the appearance relies on intuitions that are already present in the mind. These intuitions can order the products of ones inner sense and outer sense, and they are called pure intuitions. We have these intuitions a priori. A priori means not given through sensibility.

The transcendental aesthetic is just the business of studying the a priori.

I have to go to class, but now that we've turn this object external to the mind into an appearance of an object in space and time, for my next trick, I'll try to show how Kant turns this object into a computer. No hands and without a net.