Event Detail

Thu Dec 3, 2015
Howison Library, 4–6 PM
Philosophy Colloquium
Sean Kelly (Harvard University)
Heidegger, Kant, and Conceptualism

In contemporary systematic philosophy, the Kantian impulse finds one of its most powerful manifestations in John McDowell’s defense of conceptualism regarding the content of perceptual experience. But especially in light of recent essays on Kant and Hegel collected in his 2009 volume Having the World in View, it has become increasingly clear that the Kant who is most influential for McDowell’s claims about perception is one who is aiming at a Hegelian completion of his task. A radically different interpretation of Kant’s project in the First Critique is found in Martin Heidegger’s anti-Hegelian approach. In particular, Heidegger puts strong emphasis on the Kantian idea that space and time, as pure intuitions, have a pre-given unity that is non-discursive. The goal of this essay, therefore, is to approach the debate between conceptualists and non-conceptualists regarding the content of perception, through the debate between a Hegelian and a Heideggerean appropriation of Kant.

Space and time, on Heidegger’s interpretation of Kant, are the most general, already given forms of intuiting by means of which anything can be perceived as an object in the first place. As pure forms of intuition, they enable my perception of determinate entities. In this way, space and time are given to me as already figured constraints on my comportment in any of my intuitions of particulars. But the unity they have is precisely not a discursive unity, on Heidegger’s anti-Hegelian interpretation, and so undermines the McDowellian claim to full on conceptualism about perceptual experience.