Tag Archives: Metaphysics

I Kant Understand This

Immanuel Kant’s writing is very difficult to understand, as many unfamiliar terms and stipulative definitions are made within the passage which is used throughout the piece. In “On The Original Synthetic Unity of Apperception”, new concepts or stipulative definitions are given in italics. From what I read, these seem to be the key concepts:

  • Intuition: Presentation that can be given prior to all thought(B132)
  • Pure Apperception: A spontaneous act of presentation  not belonging to sensibility(B132)
  • a priori: knowledge obtained without experience(introduction)


The passage itself is a foundational piece in which terms are defined and used in order to argue a higher claim.

This was a very hard read, although the introduction to the “Critique of Pure Reason” helped.

From what I read, Kant is influenced by the philosopher Hume(Introduction XIV), where Hume denies any sort of unity between the senses in the human mind, Kant disagrees, saying that, “…the unity of the mind is necessary, because without such unity there would be no cognition at all”(Introduction XIV). By knowing this, it could follow that he writes in support of the unity if senses, as he says that “All presentations given to me are subject to this unity, but they must also be brought under it through a synthesis” (B136). In this, Kant argues about the unity of senses, that they come together to synthesize, or create the things we know around us.

Conditions for the Pursuit of Knowledge

In Book One of his Metaphysics Aristotle gives a brief history lesson on the evolution of knowledge.

“Hence when all such inventions were already established, the sciences which do not aim at giving pleasure or at the necessities of life were discovered, and first in the places where men first began to have leisure. This is why the mathematical arts were founded in Egypt; for there the priestly caste was allowed to be at leisure.” (Metaphysics, Book I, p. 1553).

Here he describes a departure from the condition of the “practical,” a condition which he uses to qualify the rest of his intellectual virtues. Even to art Aristotle prescribes a practical pursuit: to bring “into being” or to give pleasure (Nicomachean Ethics p. 1800). In this short passage Aristotle mentions a sort of pointless knowledge, with no utility beyond that of knowing for the sake of knowing, and certain conditions for pursuing this sort of knowledge—leisure. Continue reading