Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
The treatment of intensive magnitude in Kant’s first Critique initiates a new standard for reasoning. In the dissertation, I trace the development of the concept of intensive magnitudes from Kant, through the interpretations of the physicist Gustav Fechner, and into a kind of fruition in the thought of Bergson. I illustrate how and why the concept of intensive magnitude was transformed from a spatial notion, relying primarily on sense data, in the works of Kant and Fechner into a temporalized understanding of intensity founded upon Bergson's idea of duration, where the latter is based primarily on feeling. The result of this transformation is found in the promise of creating a technical language for philosophy that is capable of appreciating the concrete unfolding of non-sensuous intensive magnitudes. Such a language renders us capable of meaningful research, conversation, and further development in understanding (at least) human becoming and its relation to time. I argue that the capacity for self-knowledge depends upon an understanding of temporality that accords with the experience of temporality itself. The development of the concept of intensity, through further philosophical reflection and inquiry, is a path philosophers should pursue.
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