5 - INTUITIONS OF SPACE AND TIME  pp. 61-68

INTUITIONS OF SPACE AND TIME

By Jonathan Bennett

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A priori concepts and a priori intuitions

In both Aesthetic and Analytic, Kant seeks to prove synthetic a priori truths about all experience. Between these two sets of results there are, he thinks, two radical differences.

Firstly, ‘the concepts of space and time…must necessarily relate to objects…Only by means of such pure forms of sensibility can an object appear to us, and so be an object of empirical intuition’; while the concepts treated in the Analytic ‘do not represent the conditions under which objects are given in intuition’ but only those under which objects can be brought under concepts, i.e. thought about, classified, generalized over. Here, as in the next quotation, ‘object’ does not mean ‘objective particular’ but has the very general sense of ‘datum’ or ‘something given’. The Aesthetic, then, tells us what all our intuitions must be like, while the Analytic tells us what our intuitions must be like to be intellectually manageable.

This suggests that the Aesthetic's conditions might be met although the Analytic's were not, i.e. that there might be unconceptualizable intuitions. Kant does indeed say:

Everything might be in such confusion that, for instance, in the series of appearances nothing presented itself which might…answer to the concept of cause and effect [which, according to the Analytic, must apply to our intuitions if they are to be thinkable at all]. This concept would then be empty, null, and meaningless. […]