Self-referentiality in Kant's transcendental philosophy
Is part ofProceedings of the Eighth International Kant Congress ; vol. 1, Memphis (Tenn.), 1995, pp. 259-267.
Publisher(s)Marquette University Press
Inspired by the thesis of Rüdiger Bubner according to which Kant’s argumentation in the Transcendental Deduction is self-referential, I propose to extend the scope of this thesis to the transcendental Analytic as a whole. The question at stake is: What are the rules that guide transcendental critique if it is not to transgress the finiteness of its standpoint? I suggest that they are to be found in the dynamic Principles of the Analytic since these are also valid, mutatis mutandis, for the transcendental critique that describes them. In other words: these Principles are self-referential. For instance Kant claims that they are necessary for experience in general, but that their application is “contingent” (A 160/B 199). They are not necessary in themselves, no more than a necessary cause within experience is in itself necessary, but rather contingent, i.e.: dependent on another cause, as the principle of causality specifies. Now the dynamic principles are themselves contingent in their implementation, that is: dependent on the material conditions of experience in general. The transcendental conditions here are conditioned by the empirical conditions.