Kant's theory of knowledge by Justus Hartnack

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By Justus Hartnack

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Let us suppose that all things lie in darkness and that it is only by being projected on an illuminated radar screen that they can be seen. We have now two kinds of entities: on the one hand things-in-themselves, which never can be intuited since they lie in darkness, and on the other hand pictures on the radar screen, which can be seen, since they fulfill the necessary conditions for being seen, namely to be illuminated. The point of this illustration (which certainly falters in some respects) is threefold: First, just as the unilluminated things cannot be seen, because they have no light, so things-in-themselves can never be known, because they are not in space.

40 ) KANT'S THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE Affirmative Negative Infinite In an affirmative judgment we assert that something is something or other; for example, that S is P. In other words we affirm that this S with its property P is a reality. In a negative judgment it is maintained, on the other hand, that something is not something or other, for example, that S is not P. In other words, what is denied is that this S with its property P is a reality. The categories corresponding to affirmative and negative judgments are therefore respectively reality and negation.

As Kant puts it, there must be recognition. ' These are but three aspects of one and the same process—aspects that must necessarily be present if intuiting an object consists in receiving a succession of sense impressions. That the intuition of an object consists in the receiving of such a succession, and therefore consists in the combining of a manifold, Kant thinks to be necessary, since the intuition necessarily takes place in time. 12 The synthesis is not empirical but a priori. It is a synthesis that expresses the unity of consciousness.

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