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    Transcendental deduction and imagination

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    Consider the following passage from Critique of Pure Reason B-143:

    "The manifold given in sensible intuition is necessary subject to the original synthetic unity of apperception, because in no other way is unity of intuition possible (17). But the act of understanding by which the manifold of given representations (be they intuitions or concepts) is brought under one apperception, is the logical function of judgment (cf 19). All the manifold, therefore, so far as it is given in a single empirical intuition, is determined in respect of one of the logical functions of judgment, in so far as they are employed in determination of the manifold of a given intuitions (cf13)."

    What is Kant trying to establish in the above passage? Does imagination have a role in establishing the above point? Briefly evaluate Kant's position.

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    Solution Preview

    Below I've given you the basic description of Kant's method as it applies to the above quote. As you notice, imagination has no real role, unless we begin to randomly assign categories to random sense impressions (this will make more sense when you read what I have).
    Imagination might be seen as the way we can willfully bring sense data under categories that do not normally go together.

    Let me make a few points that will help you understand the quote:
    1. Kant is claiming that formal properties (the categories such as causality), by themselves, do NOT give us useful knowledge of anything. Previous metaphysics failed because it tried to take the concepts of our mind and ground them in external reality. This is the cause of the failure.
    2. Kant is also claiming the opposite - that the "manifold," that is, the unorganized chaos of sensory impression, by itself, does NOT give us useful knowledge of anything. In this way, he has overcome the distinction between the older empirical and rational philosophers and created a new synthesis. But this is not all.
    3. Concepts without the manifold (sense impressions) are totally empty and useless.
    4. The categories serve to organize sense impressions. They work together.
    5. This means that the manifold and our concepts create what we call experience together. The categories create the formal principle and the manifold gives the content. There can be no form without content (empty words), and no content without form (chaos).
    6. Concepts ...

    Solution Summary

    The expert examines transcendental deduction and imaginations.