Date of Submission

Spring 2018

Academic Programs and Concentrations


Project Advisor 1

Jay R. Elliott

Abstract/Artist's Statement

According to transcendental idealism, our experience of the empirical world is the result of our minds being causally affected by supersensible things in themselves; however, transcendental idealism also holds that things in themselves are unknowable by us. The seeming incompatibility of these two claims is known as legendary 'problem of noumenal affection.' This problem has led many scholars to conclude that Kant's theory is inconsistent. In this project I offer a new diagnosis of the problem by reexamining the supposedly incompatible components: The doctrines of noumenal affection and noumenal ignorance. I argue that there are philosophical and textual worries surrounding the way these two doctrines have been commonly understood which are responsible for making the problem appear impossible to resolve. In its place, I offer my own accounts of the doctrines and show a possible way out for Kant that was unavailable under the previous understanding of the problem. I conclude by discussing the implications of my account on a longstanding debate in Kant scholarship over the question whether transcendental idealism is committed to the existence of one or two worlds.

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Open Access

Creative Commons License

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