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Kant, Animal Minds and Conceptualism

Hutton, J; (2020) Kant, Animal Minds and Conceptualism. Canadian Journal of Philosophy , 50 (8) pp. 981-998. 10.1017/can.2020.50.

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Kant holds that some nonhuman animals “are acquainted with” objects, despite lacking conceptual capacities (“understanding”). What does this tell us about his theory of human cognition? Numerous authors have argued that this is a significant point in favour of Nonconceptualism—the claim that, for Kant, sensible representations of objects do not depend on the understanding. Against this, I argue that Kant’s views about animal minds can readily be accommodated by a certain kind of Conceptualism. It remains viable to think that, for Kant, (i) humans’ sensible representations necessarily represent objects as temporally structured in ways that allow us to have thoughts about them, and (ii) such representations are produced, and could only be produced, by the understanding. This allows Conceptualists to maintain that humans’ sensible representations depend on the understanding, while accepting that animals have sensible representations of objects too. We must, therefore, reassess both the warrant for Nonconceptualism and the shape Conceptualist readings must take.

Type: Article
Title: Kant, Animal Minds and Conceptualism
DOI: 10.1017/can.2020.50
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/can.2020.50
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Kant, nonconceptualism, intuition, synthesis, animal minds
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10115752
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