[SydPhil] SHAPE philosophy talk USYD tomorrow 10.30am Melissa Merritt

David Macarthur david.macarthur at sydney.edu.au
Thu Jun 5 21:11:07 AEST 2014

REMINDER: This week’s SHAPE seminar will be presented by Melissa Merritt (UNSW).

Title: "Kant on the Requirement to Reflect"

My talk is about Kant’s claim — found both in the Critique of Pure Reason as well as in his lectures on logic — that “all judgments require reflection”.  There are two ways to read this claim.  On one reading, Kant is referring to a constitutive requirement of rationality: the reflection referred to is the basic awareness of oneself as the source of a point of view on how things are that is constitutively required in order to be able to judge that something is the case at all.  On another reading, the requirement is normative: reflection is required in order to judge well about things.  Both of these ideas are central to Kant’s conception of reflection; and I argue, first, for the importance of distinguishing clearly between them.  But the context of the particular claim in question clearly indicates that he has the normative requirement in mind.  This gives rise to a problem: the normative requirement appears to be overly demanding, leading one recent commentator to dismiss the remark as a slip of the pen.  I suggest that Kant developed his view about the requirement to reflect in later work — in the Critique of Judgment and the Anthropology — so that the requirement properly lodges not piecemeal, for each and every act of judgment, but globally, as a concern one ought to take for one’s own epistemic character.

Time: Fri June 6, 10.30am

Place: Muniment Room, S401 (under the central clock tower, level 1, Main Quad, USyd)


Dr. David Macarthur | Senior Lecturer & UG Coordinator
Philosophy Department, SOPHI | FASS
NSW, 2006 | Australia
Ph: +61 2 9351 3193

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