Kantian Humility: Our Ignorance of Things in Themselves

Paperback | January 15, 2001

byRae Langton

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Rae Langton offers a new interpretation and defence of Kant's doctrine of things in themselves. Kant distinguishes things in themselves from phenomena, and in so doing he makes a metaphysical distinction between intrinsic and relational properties of substances. Kant says thatphenomena--things as we know them--consist 'entirely of relations'. His claim that we have no knowledge of things in themselves is not idealism, but epistemic humility: we have no knowledge of the intrinsic properties of substances. This humility has its roots in some plausible philosophicalbeliefs: an empiricist belief in the receptivity of human knowledge and a metaphysical belief in the irreducibility of relational properties. Langton's interpretation vindicates Kant's scientific realism, and shows his primary/secondary quality distinction to be superior even to modern-daycompetitors. And it answers the famous charge that Kant's tale of things in themselves is one that makes itself untellable.

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Rae Langton offers a new interpretation and defence of Kant's doctrine of things in themselves. Kant distinguishes things in themselves from phenomena, and in so doing he makes a metaphysical distinction between intrinsic and relational properties of substances. Kant says thatphenomena--things as we know them--consist 'entirely of re...

Rae Langton is Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh.

other books by Rae Langton

Format:PaperbackDimensions:246 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.55 inPublished:January 15, 2001Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199243174

ISBN - 13:9780199243174

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. An Old Problem2. Three Kantian Theses3. Substance and Phenomenal Substance4. Leibniz and Kant5. Kant's Rejection of Reducibility6. Fitting the Pieces Together7. A Comparison with Locke8. Kant's 'Primary' Qualities9. The Unobservable and the Supersensible10. Realism or Idealism?Bibliography, Index

Editorial Reviews

`contains shrewd discussions of the many issues surrounding [the] central theme: reducibility and supervenience, primary and secondary qualities and the unobservable and supersensible are all carefully examined.'Graham Bird, The Philosophical Quarterly, Vol 50, No 198