Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
ABSTRACT Kant says that space has no independently real existence. What he means is that apart from the human mind, space is not real. Of course, it is real to us, he argues—in fact, space is the very condition that makes possible an experience of objects in space. However, space and time are mere forms of human sensibility, and as such: That which is not sensed is neither spatial nor temporal. With regard to space, commentators have argued that although they are inclined to accept that space is a form of human sensibility—a subjective condition of thought or mode by which representations (empirical) are manifest in intuition—nevertheless, space might be a feature of a world that exists independent of the mind. These commentators accuse Kant of having neglected two possibilities: (1) that the representation of space is both subjective and objective at once—that is, a subjective condition of human sensible intuition yet an “objective” quality of a mind-independent reality; and (2) that although the representation of space in sensible intuition is subjective, as Kant suggests, it could be the case that things as they are in themselves exist in space, independent of human sensibility. The focus of the following chapters is first to consider Kant’s subjectivity thesis in its strongest sense—the view that space and time are mere forms of human sensibility. Second, I address the alternative to the view that things in themselves are nonspatial—the alternative that Kant is alleged to have neglected. Finally, I consider responses to “neglected alternative” proponents. For the underlying question is this: What would lead us to believe that although things appear to us in space (and time), that is, side-by-side with other things, that this is not really so? I argue that Kant gives us good reason to think that this is not so, provided we accept his arguments for the subjectivity of space.
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