Critical Responsibility

  • John Llewelyn


Kantian critique distinguishes the faculties of mind and shows how the elements distinguished — sensibility, imagination, understanding, will, reason — should, but can fail, to cooperate with each other. Man is fully person, he tells us in Religion within the Bounds of Reason Alone, when he is fully rational, and that means fully responsible. In §13 of The Basic Problems of Phenomenology (1927) Heidegger’s rethinking of Kant (already underway in Being and Time, in lectures to be published in 1929 as Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, and continued meanwhile in the course on the first Critique) distinguishes moral personality, psychological personality and transcendental personality. Transcendental personality is man’s self-consciousness, his capacity to prefix ‘I think’ to any of his thoughts in the broad sense of thought which Descartes ascribes to cogitatio in one of his uses of that word. Hence among those thoughts of which man is conscious that he thinks them will be any thought he may have of his empirical nature, any thought of which the object is or is in his inner sense, the temporal flow of his stream of consciousness. The transcendental personality manifests itself too with those cogitationes that Descartes includes under the heading of will, thus in any action that is performed out of respect for the moral law. That is to say, the transcendental personality manifests itself in any action of the moral personality, in any act of practical reason.


Critical Responsibility Moral Personality Philosophical Faculty Middle Voice Pure Practical Reason 
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© John Llewelyn 1991

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  • John Llewelyn

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