STUDIES IN KANT'S DOCTRINE OF AN INTUITIVE INTELLECT
Brewer, Kimberly Marie
This dissertation consists of three independent essays treating Kant’s notion of an intuitive intellect. I provide a brief description of each below: 1. In §76 of the third Critique, Kant characterizes an intuitive intellect as a mind that represents the world only as it is. Taken together with his commitment to a divine intuitive intellect, this gives rise to a problem: If God does not represent other ways the world could be, it would seem to follow that there is no other way the world could be, which would be an unwelcome implication for Kant given his commitment to a conception of human freedom that presupposes that our moral characters could be other than they are. The first essay of this dissertation explores the philosophical resources Kant has to reconcile these commitments. 2. According to a received view, Kant maintains that only God could possess an intuitive intellect, i.e., a mind with an ‘intellectual intuition’ or, equivalently, an ‘intuitive understanding’ of objects. Such a view finds support in the first Critique, for instance, where Kant writes, "intellectual intuition […] seems to pertain only to the original being" and in lecture transcripts where we read, "[o]nly the understanding of God is called intuition." However, such a view is also brought into question by neglected texts suggesting that it involves a considerable oversimplification of his position. The second essay of this dissertation examines these texts in an effort to illuminate Kant’s conceptions of the intuitive and human intellects. 3. Scribbled in the margins of Kant’s copy of Baumgarten’s Metaphysica, we read: "That is the divinity of our soul, that it is capable of ideas." This final essay pursues this description of our ideas as "the divinity of our soul" with the aim of correcting a popular but misleading narrative that the critical Kant flatly rejects a theocentric model on which human cognition is measured against the norm of the divine intuitive intellect. Along the way, it also suggests a significant and ultimately illuminating Platonic influence on Kant’s notion of an intuitive intellect and on the critical philosophy more broadly.
Chignell, Andrew; Kosch, Michelle
Ph. D., Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis