Tag Archives: intuition

The Complexity of Intuition

The reading for this week is very difficult to understand and interpret from a vocabulary standpoint as well as from a conceptual view. Kant poses many important and complex ideas in his “Critique of Pure Reason” that delve into the elements of knowledge and thinking, particularly, the unification of self-consciousness. One particular term of interest that sticks out to me is his explanation of intuition, or “pure apperception”(B132), and its role in completing the conscious of self.

I think my confusion with his terminological breakdown of intuition is the fact that intuition is defined as “prior to all thought” (B132) or without the presence of conscious thinking and is yet a part of one’s self-consciousness. Can intuitions be a part of one’s conscious without being necessary thought of in a conscious matter but rather already being known? It seems as though the intuitions are connected in some sense to the “empirical apperceptions” Kant mentioned in the fact that they both include the “presentations that comprise the transcendental unity of apperception”(B132). I just think it’s hard to comprehend how an unconscious state of mind can dually comprise a conscious being.

Composition of Identity

“Our understanding can only think, and must seek intuition in the senses. I am, then, conscious of the self as identical, as regards the manifold of the presentations given to me in an intuition, because I call them one and all my presentations that make up one presentation” (B 135).

I think this passage is fascinating for its description of the relationship between knowledge and intuition, and Kant’s declaration of the self as being based on identity. Here, he states that understanding allows for the processing of information taken in through perception of the environment. Such understanding is supported by evidence gained from the outside world through perception, and further substantiated by instinct. Therefore, identity, or the self, is founded upon the “manifold of presentations,” or information gained from the environment and from instinct, coming together to form one presentation through the analysis of such data. This culminates to form the identity of self, as understanding and intuition allow for consciousness of oneself and comprehension of one’s position in relation to one’s environment.

Therefore, the distinction between knowledge and intuition allows for a better understanding of the composition of identity. Understanding is based upon thinking, whereas intuition is based upon feeling or sensitivity. This means that the self is based upon a balance between the objective and subjective. Identity is based upon the culmination of knowledge and instinct, or the analysis of various forms of information retrieved by the senses into one presentation.

I am not 100% sure whether I interpreted this passage correctly. I am a bit confused about his statement that many presentations combine to make up one presentation. Does this mean that many presentations culminate to form one presentation? Furthermore, what exactly is he referring to when he uses the term presentation? Does he mean the way in which things in the environment are positioned or something else?