Kant and conceptual schemes.

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Kant tells us that reading hume "awoke him from his dogmatic slumbers". in other words he regarded Hume's empiricism as a particular challenge. the main problem that kant saw was that the passive recieving impressions from the senses is not going to explain human knowledge. Something has to be done with these impressions in order for us to have knowledge. 

we can illustrate this with a modern example.

imagine you have a blank tape that has holes of data stamped on it. the imprinting data will not become knowledge just through the imprinting. something has to be done with it. indeed it could be argued that the holes don't even become data untill something is done. When we say something is done we mean organisation, structure. this needs to be applied to the imprints in order for them to become data and knowledge. without the application of structure, the imprints would just be an undifferentiated mess that would not add up to any coherent whole. We saw the inadequacy of Hume's principles of association - the mechanical coming together of ideas. Hume had claimed that resemblance was a relation for bringing ideas together picture and original). We say that resemblance itself wont do the job, the mind has to recognize the ways resemblant objects resemble each other and bring them together as a result of what it recognizes.

The point here is that the mind is active, it does something rather than nothing. the mind possesses organisational features which it applies to the world. a system of concepts is in place and is applied to the world of experience in order for us to have knowledge, without this system of concepts, we would have no knowledge, just a sucsession of sense impressions.

Kant thought that empiricism could not explain our knowledge of the world as it made no provision fir an active disposition of the mind on empiricist accounts the mind is passive and a tabula rasa at birth. Kant thought that we have too apply concepts to experience in order to acquire knowledge. He gave a number of categories of thought. the most important of these are 1)space 2)time 3)number 4)cause and effect 5)identity and diversity.

these categories have to be applied to experience…


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