Kant and the problem of affection
Article [Accepted Manuscript]
Is part ofSymposium : Canadian journal of continental philosophy ; vol. 8, no 2, p. 275-297
Publisher(s)Philosophy Documentation Center
Starting with Vaihinger’s famous trilemma which presents the different possibilities for explaining the origin of affection, I critically assess the classical theses of Jacobi, Aenesidemus-Schulze, Adickes, Kemp Smith, Paton and Allison on this subject. I argue that Kant is entitled to claim that both the empirical object and the thing in itself are the source of affection. It depends on the point of view one adopts: empirical or transcendental. But in this last case we face the famous problem: How could Kant dare to depict the thing in itself as the “cause” of affection? I claim that his description complies mutatis mutandis with the conditions imposed upon the principle of causality. If this principle states that the cause and the effect are “heterogeneous” and that the necessary cause may be a mere “indeterminate” something, then the affecting thing in itself, at its own level, satisfies both conditions: The thing in itself and sensation are radically heterogeneous and the essence of this thing remains for Kant totally “problematic”, although its existence is declared certain. The Kantian use of the concept of causality is justified here by what must be called the self-referentiality of transcendental philosophy.