•  5180
    Kant's Argument that Existence is not a Determination
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (1): 583-626. 2015.
    In this paper, I examine Kant's famous objection to the ontological argument: existence is not a determination. Previous commentators have not adequately explained what this claim means, how it undermines the ontological argument, or how Kant argues for it. I argue that the claim that existence is not a determination means that it is not possible for there to be non-existent objects; necessarily, there are only existent objects. I argue further that Kant's target is not merely ontological argume…Read more
  •  2457
    I raise a problem about the possibility of metaphysics originally raised by Kant: what explains the fact that the terms in our metaphysical theories (e.g. “property”) refer to entities and structures (e.g. properties) in the world? I distinguish a meta-metaphysical view that can easily answer such questions (“deflationism”) from a meta-metaphysical view for which this explanatory task is more difficult (which I call the “substantive” view of metaphysics). I then canvass responses that the substa…Read more
  •  2237
    Who’s Afraid of Double Affection?
    Philosophers' Imprint 15. 2015.
    There is substantial textual evidence that Kant held the doctrine of double affection: subjects are causally affected both by things in themselves and by appearances. However, Kant commentators have been loath to attribute this view to him, for the doctrine of double affection is widely thought to face insuperable problems. I begin by explaining what I take to be the most serious problem faced by the doctrine of double affection: appearances cannot cause the very experience in virtue of which th…Read more
  •  1996
    In this essay I offer a partial rehabilitation of Cohen’s Kant interpretation. In particular, I will focus on the center of Cohen’s interpretation in KTE, reflected in the title itself: his interpretation of Kant’s concept of experience. “Kant hat einen neuen Begriff der Erfahrung entdeckt,”7 Cohen writes at the opening of the first edition of KTE (henceforth, KTE1), and while the exact nature of that new concept of experience is hard to pin down in the 1871 edition, he states it succinctly in t…Read more
  •  1757
    Kant's Schematism of the categories: An interpretation and defence
    European Journal of Philosophy 31 (1): 30-64. 2022.
    The aim of the Schematism chapter of the Critique of Pure Reason is to solve the problem posed by the “inhomogeneity” of intuitions and categories: the sensible properties of objects represented in intuition are of a different kind than the properties represented by categories. Kant's solution is to introduce what he calls “transcendental schemata,” which mediate the subsumption of objects under categories. I reconstruct Kant's solution in terms of two substantive premises, which I call Subsumpt…Read more
  •  1673
    A Guide to Ground in Kant's Lectures on Metaphysics
    In Courtney D. Fugate (ed.), Kant's Lectures on Metaphysics: A Critical Guide, Cambridge University Press. 2019.
    While scholars have extensively discussed Kant’s treatment of the Principle of Sufficient Ground in the Antinomies chapter of the Critique of Pure Reason, and, more recently, his relation to German rationalist debates about it, relatively little has been said about the exact notion of ground that figures in the PSG. My aim in this chapter is to explain Kant’s discussion of ground in the lectures and to relate it, where appropriate, to his published discussions of ground.
  •  1508
    Kant on Complete Determination and Infinite Judgement
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20 (6): 1117-1139. 2012.
    In the Transcendental Ideal Kant discusses the principle of complete determination: for every object and every predicate A, the object is either determinately A or not-A. He claims this principle is synthetic, but it appears to follow from the principle of excluded middle, which is analytic. He also makes a puzzling claim in support of its syntheticity: that it represents individual objects as deriving their possibility from the whole of possibility. This raises a puzzle about why Kant regarded …Read more
  •  1381
    Kant and the concept of an object
    European Journal of Philosophy 29 (2): 299-322. 2020.
    European Journal of Philosophy, EarlyView.
  •  1327
    Bodies, Matter, Monads and Things in Themselves
    In Brandon Look (ed.), Leibniz and Kant, Oxford University Press.. 2022.
    In this paper I address a structurally similar tension between phenomenalism and realism about matter in Leibniz and Kant. In both philosophers, some texts suggest a starkly phenomenalist view of the ontological status of matter, while other texts suggest a more robust realism. In the first part of the paper I address a recent paper by Don Rutherford that argues that Leibniz is more of a realist than previous commentators have allowed. I argue that Rutherford fails to show that Leibniz is any…Read more
  •  1209
    According to the ‘One Object’ reading of Kant's transcendental idealism, the distinction between the appearance and the thing in itself is not a distinction between two objects, but between two ways of considering one and the same object. On the ‘Metaphysical’ version of the One Object reading, it is a distinction between two kinds of properties possessed by one and the same object. Consequently, the Metaphysical One Object view holds that a given appearance, an empirical object, is numerically …Read more
  •  1160
    Freedom, Knowledge and Affection: Reply to Hogan
    Kantian Review 18 (1): 99-106. 2013.
    In a recent paper, Desmond Hogan aims to explain how Kant could have consistently held that noumenal affection is not only compatible with noumenal ignorance but also with the claim that experience requires causal affection of human cognitive agents by things in themselves. Hogan's argument includes the premise that human cognitive agents have empirical knowledge of one another's actions. Hogan's argument fails because the premise that we have empirical knowledge of one another's actions is ambi…Read more
  •  885
    Artworks Are Not Valuable for Their Own Sake
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 70 (3): 271-280. 2012.
  •  855
    Transcendental Idealism Without Tears
    In K. Pearce & T. Goldschmidt (eds.), Idealism: New Essays in Metaphysics, Oxford University Press. pp. 82-103. 2017.
    This essay is an attempt to explain Kantian transcendental idealism to contemporary metaphysicians and make clear its relevance to contemporary debates in what is now called ‘meta-metaphysics.’ It is not primarily an exegetical essay, but an attempt to translate some Kantian ideas into a contemporary idiom.
  •  765
    One of Bolzano’s objections to Kant’s way of drawing the analytic-synthetic distinction is that it only applies to judgments within a narrow range of syntactic forms, namely, universal affirmative judgments. According to Bolzano, Kant cannot account for judgments of other syntactic forms that, intuitively, are analytic. A recent paper by Ian Proops also attributes to Kant the view that analytic judgments beyond a limited range of syntactic forms are impossible. I argue that, correctly underst…Read more
  •  656
    Kant, Bolzano, and the Formality of Logic
    In Sandra Lapointe & Clinton Tolley (eds.), The New Anti-Kant, . 2014.
    In §12 of his 1837 magnum opus, the Wissenschaftslehre, Bolzano remarks that “In the new logic textbooks one reads almost constantly that ‘in logic one must consider not the material of thought but the mere form of thought, for which reason logic deserves the title of a purely formal science’” (WL §12, 46).1 The sentence Bolzano quotes is his own summary of others’ philosophical views; he goes on to cite Jakob, Hoffbauer, Metz, and Krug as examples of thinkers who held that logic abstracts from …Read more
  •  461
    In the section “Validity and Existence in Logik, Book III,” I explain Lotze’s famous distinction between existence and validity in Book III of Logik. In the following section, “Lotze’s Platonism,” I put this famous distinction in the context of Lotze’s attempt to distinguish his own position from hypostatic Platonism and consider one way of drawing the distinction: the hypostatic Platonist accepts that there are propositions, whereas Lotze rejects this. In the section “Two Perspectives on …Read more
  •  420
    Self-Consciousness and Objectivity, by Sebastian Rödl
    Mind 131 (524): 1339-1347. 2021.
    In his recent book, Self-Consciousness and Objectivity: An Introduction to Absolute Idealism, Sebastian Rödl aims to transform our understanding, not only of th.
  •  353
    Did Kant Conflate the Necessary and the A Priori?
    Noûs 45 (3): 443-471. 2011.
    It is commonly accepted by Kant scholars that Kant held that all necessary truths are a priori, and all a priori knowledge is knowledge of necessary truths. Against the prevailing interpretation, I argue that Kant was agnostic as to whether necessity and a priority are co-extensive. I focus on three kinds of modality Kant implicitly distinguishes: formal possibility and necessity, empirical possibility and necessity, and noumenal possibility and necessity. Formal possibility is compatibility wit…Read more
  •  281
    Kant's Metaphysical Deduction of the Categories: Towards a Systematic Reconstruction
    In Andrew Stephenson & Anil Gomes (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Kant, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
  •  245
    The other chapters in this volume discuss the important, but neglected, topic of systematicity in metaphysics. In this chapter I begin by taking a step back and asking: why is systematicity important in metaphysics? Assuming that metaphysics should be systematic, why is this the case? I canvas some answers that emerge naturally within contemporary philosophy and argue that none of them adequately explains why metaphysics should be systematic. I then turn to Kant’s account of systematicity for hi…Read more
  •  212
    I begin by considering a question that has driven much scholarship on transcendental idealism: are appearances numerically identical to the things in themselves that appear, or numerically distinct? I point out that much of the debate on this question has assumed that this is equivalent to the question of whether they are the same objects, but go on to provide textual, historical, and philosophical evidence that “object” (Gegenstand) and “thing” (Ding) have different meanings for Kant. A thing i…Read more
  •  122
    Alexander Nehemas: On the Philosophical Life
    The Harvard Review of Philosophy 8 (1): 24-38. 2000.