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IMMANUEL KANT

Understanding the Self


Immanuel Kant was born on April 22,
1724, in Konigsberg, Prussia, or what is
now Kaliningrad, Russia. While
tutoring, he published science papers,
including "General Natural History and
Theory of the Heavens" in 1755. He
spent the next 15 years as a
metaphysics lecturer. In 1781, he
published the first part of Critique of
Pure Reason. He published more
critiques in the years preceding his
death on February 12, 1804, in the city
of his birth.
Kant thinks that that the
things a person can see around
them are not just randomly
infused to them. There should be
an organizing principle that
regulates these impressions.
The mind organizes these
impressions that men get from
external world.
TIME & SPACE cannot be found in
the world but is built in our minds.
In the Inaugural Dissertation
of 1770, Kant corrected
earlier problems of a non
material soul having
localization in space. Kant
used inner sense to defend
the heterogeneity of body
and soul: "bodies are objects
of outer sense; souls are
objects of inner sense"
(Carpenter 2004). In Kant's
thought there are two
components of the self: 1.
inner self 2. outer self
(Brooks 2004).
There are two kinds of
consciousness of self:
consciousness of oneself and
one's psychological states in
inner sense and consciousness
of oneself and one's states via
performing acts of
apperception.
Empirical self consciousness is the term Kant used to describe
the inner self. 
Kant claimed, there are three
types of synthesis required to
organize information, namely
apprehending in intuition,
reproducing in imagination, and
recognizing in concepts (A97-
A105), "Synthesis of
apprehension concerns raw
perceptual input, synthesis of
recognition concerns concepts,
and synthesis of reproduction in
imagination allows the mind to
go from the one to the other."
(Brooks 2004).
Kant argues that in the present progressive one can be aware of
oneself by an act of representing (Kant 1789). Representation is not
intuitive but a spontaneous act of performing or doing things. Man
knows that by doing and fulfilling activities that these impressions
cannot be simply sensations resulting from the senses. Representation
fulfills three acts. An act of representing can make one conscious of it's
object, itself and oneself as it's subject; the representational base of
consciousness of these three items. Becoming conscious of our selves
is simply an act of representation and nothing more (Brooks 2004).
Kant's model is a response to a purely material
based inductive model of the self proposed by
Hume. Hume's self is a passive observer
similar to watching one's life pass before as a
play or on a screen. The final determination
for Hume then is the self is a fleeting linking of
objects by our memory to objects. Any
concept of self is simply memory and
imagination.
Kant however has a rationalistic motive and
posits that the mind is actively manipulating
data through acts of synthesis. Overall the
case remains for Kant's use of synthesis from
faculties in the mind for unifying objects,
representations, experience, and
consciousness into a coherent reference to
the self has implications in present day
cognitive psychology (Brooks 2004).