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The Project, The Intuitivity Thesis


Intuitive Reason in Kant's Critical Transcendental Philosophy?

Kant is generally considered as the champion of a theory of discursive reason. Scholarly opinion unequivocally regards Kant as postulating human reason as a discursive faculty. Kant's critical philosophy only allowed for divine knowledge as an intuitive rationality, principally inaccessible for man as a finite being. And indeed, Kant repeatedly takes an explicit stance against the notion of an intuitive intellectuality in human knowledge.

The Intuitivity Thesis

In my research project I intend to show that, surprisingly perhaps, Kant's concept of pure reason does not only rest on discursive moments, but that intuitive moments also play a significant role. Here, my intuitivity thesis does not refer to the sphere of knowledge of objects in the narrowest sense [Gegenstandserkenntnis], but to Kant's transcendental philosophy, which he also categorised as the "self-knowledge" [Selbsterkenntnis] of pure reason. I intend to demonstrate that Kant conceived of pure reason as an intuitive faculty in the transcendental analytic and in the transcendental doctrine of method of the Critique of Pure Reason, in the Critique of Practical Reason, in the Prolegomena and other writings and show how an intuitive mode of rational cognition plays a central systematic role in his critical transcendental philosophy. Even though Kant does not explicitly support this notion and, indeed, in many instances appears to argue the contrary, transcendental philosophy is, according to Kant, only possible on the basis of an intuitive self-knowledge [Selbsterkenntnis] of pure reason.


It goes without saying that this research finding raises a series of questions and presents contemporary Kant scholarship with a new set of tasks. Especially in connection with my doctoral thesis which offers a proof of the identity of God and pure practical reason and the identifiability of God and the rational being in the doctrine of postulates in the Critique of Practical Reason [> ], this finding leads to new questions on Kant's concept of reason and new perspectives on understanding Kant's philosophy as a whole.