Judgment and Austerity

  • Gary Banham


We can summarize the results of the first chapter now as follows: there are two fundamental problems in understanding Kant’s account of cognition. These problems are: (a) how is intuition itself synthesized such that it is available for cognition at all; (b) what relationship does the synthesized unity of intuition have to the unity of concepts that Kant consistently describes as “judgment”? The citation from the Metaphysical Deduction asserts what I will from now on refer to as the symmetry thesis: The symmetry thesis is that there is a basic relation between the forms of judgment and the content of empirical intuition. Our question concerning this thesis would be what enables us to suggest that this symmetry holds? What, in other words, are the grounds for it? The citation from B160-1n by contrast suggests the following: the claim that there is a basic intuitive unity and that this unity is not brought about by concepts. However since this is a unity of pure intuition what we have to think is how it is connected to the unity of apperception (the vehicle of judgments).


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  1. 1.
    Dieter Henrich (1976) “Identity and Objectivity: An Inquiry into Kant’s Transcendental Deduction” in D. Henrich (1994) The Unity of Reason: Essays on Kants Philosophy, Cambridge, Mass. and London: Harvard University Press, p. 130. The essay in question is translated here by Jeffrey Edwards. The suggestion of this “data sensualism” is akin to Sellars’ view as given in Science and Metaphysics Chapter 1 that intuition should, when considered in its immediacy, be construed on the model of Humean impressions.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    This fact about judgments is what in fact led to the dispute concerning Bolzano’s notion of “objectless presentations”. For a description of this in connection to mereology, see G. Banham (2005a) “Mereology, Intentional Contents and Intentional Objects” in G. Banham (ed.) (2005b) Husserl and the Logic of Experience, London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    P. F. Strawson (1974a) Subject and Predicate in Logic and Grammar, London: Methuen & Co.: Ltd, pp. 14–15. Strawson goes on to remark that the statement as literally given here is an “exaggeration” as the judgments in question would be corrigible but this simply relocates the force of the statement as asserting isomorphic relation.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    Wilfrid Sellars (1949) “The Logic of Complex Particulars”, Mind NS, Vol. 58, No. 231, p. 310.Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    This conclusion points, as Sellars notes, in the direction of the assumption that there is a further aspect to the judgment, namely that the ingredient in the judgment is a case or instance. This would support the view that such ingredients are instances of a certain sort of universal, a qualitative one. The argument to this effect requires a description of the nature of universals that would begin from the suggestion that particulars are indeed discreetly different in different instances and that qualitative universals are arrived at through a form of “distributive unity”. For arguments to this effect, see the following articles by G. F. Stout (1930) “The Nature of Universals and Propositions”, Proceedings of the British Academy; (1947) “Distributive Unity as a Category”, Australasian Journal of Philosophy. It is to forestall this argument that Strawson argues that the capacity of a judgment to be truth-bearing does not reside in a quality of exemplification (Strawson, 1974a, p. 22). It is however noteworthy that Strawson’s strictures here touch only on the “linguistic expression of the judgment” whereas Sellars’ use of an argument that is akin to that of Stout is precisely not concerned with this.Google Scholar
  6. 15.
    Despite the fact that Sellars adds here that each particular could be thought of also as an instance of one simple dyadic relation and that simple triadic relations can also be patterned on this notion (etc.). Carl Hempel seems to have missed this point and thought it possible to provide a riposte to Sellars’ whole discussion on the basis of pointing to the possibility of such simple relational universals. See Carl Hempel (1958) “Review” of Sellars (1949 and 1952) with Alston (1954) The Journal of Symbolic Logic, Vol. 23, No. 4, pp. 441–2.Google Scholar
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    Wilfrid Sellars (1952) “Particulars” in Sellars (ed.) (1963) Science, Perception and Reality, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul and New York: Humanities Press, p. 286.Google Scholar
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    William P. Alston (1954) “Particulars—Bare and Qualified”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 253–8.Google Scholar
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    It is worth specifying here what Strawson takes to fall under the general heading of such non-particulars: “non-particulars include qualities, properties, relations, species, numbers, sentences (types), etc.”. P. F. Strawson (1957a) “Logical Subjects and Physical Objects”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 17, No. 4, p. 444.Google Scholar
  10. 25.
    Wilfrid Sellars (1957) “Logical Subjects and Physical Objects”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 17, No. 4, p. 465.Google Scholar
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    P. F. Strawson (1957b) “A Reply to Mr. Sellars”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 17, No. 4, p. 474.Google Scholar
  12. 29.
    An interesting variation on this same point is of ten referred to as the “victory of particularity” as in J. P. Moreland’s statement: “When a particular exemplifies a universal, the resultant state of affairs—the particular having the universal—is itself particular.” J. P. Moreland (2001) Universals, Chesham: Acumen, p. 14.Google Scholar
  13. 30.
    P. F. Strawson (1959) Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics, London: Methuen, p. 77.Google Scholar
  14. 32.
    These formulations are taken from Paul Guyer (1982a) “Kant’s Tactics in the Transcendental Deduction” in J. N. Mohanty and Robert W. Shahan (eds) Essays on KantsCritique of Pure Reason”, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, pp. 162–3. It is worth comparing these formulations with those given in Paul Guyer (1987) Kant and the Claims of Knowledge, Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, p. 85. In the latter work the second formulation is made tighter with Guyer there stating that on this strategy judgments about empirical objects do not merely imply but “presuppose” a priori knowledge of the categories. Similarly the first claim is tightened up from a suggestion that judgments about empirical objects merely assume some synthetic a priori knowledge to the suggestion that they “actually contain” some. In both cases Guyer has significantly increased the burden of the arguments being discussed without indicating either the change in formulation or giving any justification for it.Google Scholar
  15. 37.
    Evidence to this effect is not hard to seek as both Locke and Hume make the suggestion that comparison is the basis of judgments that yield a notion of “experience”. For Locke, see the Essay Book IV, Chapter 1, §2 and Book II, Chapters 11 and 25. Even more important however is the case of Hume. Hume in Book 1, Part III, §2 of A Treatise of Human Nature writes the following: “All kinds of reasoning consist in nothing but a comparison, and a discovery of those relations, either constant or inconstant, which two or more objects bear to each other. This comparison we may make, either when both the objects are present to the senses, or when neither of them is present, or when only one. When both the perceptions are present to the sense along with the relation, we call this perception rather than reasoning.” David Hume (1739) A Treatise of Human Nature, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967 reprint, p. 73. Here we see that for Hume “perception” is not conceived as involving a judgment whereas it is for Kant but the nature of the former’s view that what is given in such perception is a relation between distinct objects requires a connection of conditions of identification of particulars according to relations of time and space but it is only when the further relation of causation is added to these that reasoning is said to take place. Hence Hume’s movement from perception to reasoning is in close parallel with Kant’s distinction between judgments of perception and judgments of experience with the significant difference that for Hume perception in itself is a purely passive process that does not require judgments, something that may make one wonder how for Hume conditions of identification can be thought to be given in a purely passive manifold.Google Scholar

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© Gary Banham 2005

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