Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Auxier, Randall


Pre-cognitive experience is important to Kant's epistemology, but for decades, the scholarship tended to leave this aspect aside. Pre-cognitive experience must be reintegrated, and several important works have made progress toward this goal. Some scholars maintain that the distinction between the A- and B- editions of the Critique of Pure Reason largely relates to the role of pre-cognitive experience in Kant's system. I offer an account of what Kant calls the "obscure functions of understanding," drawing from the third Critique, the Anthropology, and other writings in which Kant discusses pre-cognitive experience. I argue that the key to integrating pre-cognitive experience into Kantian epistemology lies in the proper analysis of sensus communis, or social feeling. Reflective judgment provides the logical structure by which both social feeling and the experience of the sublime come to be synthesized with cognitive experience. The result of my argument is a deepened and enhanced understanding of autonomy (which pervades the entire architectonic).




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