Watkins, E., & Willaschek, M. (2017): Kant's account of cognition

PDF Link

Two Conditions on Cognition

cognition of an object requires both an intuition and a corresponding concept (A51/B76f.; cf. 24:752). That is, cognition in this sense must satisfy two conditions: (i) a givenness-condition, according to which an object must be given to the mind and (ii) a thought-condition, according to which the given object must be conceptually determined (cf. A50/B74; A92/B125; B137; B146). (6/8; first number corresponds to docx, second to PDF)

1. The ‘Givenness-Condition’

An existing object must be given to the mind. What does that mean?

an object is given if and only if the object is present to mind so as to guarantee that one’s representation refers to it, and to make it possible to present that particular object and (some of) its non-general features. [@watkins2017, 89]

W & W also argue that the “givenness of an object implies that the object exists” [@watkins2017, 90].

This condition is problematic for mathematical cognition, since its objects don’t obviously exist, and for intellectual intuition of God, since “givenness” seems the wrong way of describing what is going one with respect to God. One might also think that there should be some mention of passivity with respect to givenness, but there is no such discussion in W&W.

2. The ‘Thought-Condition’

The given object must be “conceptually determined”

Different Senses of Cognition

1. Cognition as conscious representation of an object

This comes from the Stufenleiter passage

2. Acquaintance with consciousness

  • Jäche Logik ladder passage

3. Conscious representation of an object and of its general features

(Narrow/Proper sense)

:CUSTOM_ID: conscious-representation-of-an-object-and-of-its-general-features-narrowproper-sense

This is construed as cognition in the narrow or proper sense.

Distinguishing Cognition from Knowledge

Kant understands knowledge as a mode of assent, or “taking to be true” (Fürwahrhalten), that is based on an objectively sufficient ground, that is, an objective justification that is sufficient for certainty (A822/B850) and truth (Jäsche, 9:66). Kant’s conception of knowledge is closely related to the traditional tripartite definition of knowledge as justified true belief since belief (in our current sense) is an instance of “taking something to be true” and an objectively sufficient ground is a kind of justification that secures truth. But knowledge in this sense is clearly fundamentally different from cognition. Since cognition is a conscious representation of a given object and its general features, it requires neither an act of assent nor an objective justification. ([@watkins2017, 87])

  • Conscious representation requires neither assent nor justification so it can’t be knowledge
  • Knowledge doesn’t require a given object

Conceptual representation

W&W take conceptual generality as being repeatability.

the same rule that allows me to represent this ball as a body also allows me to represent that racket as a body. The generality of concepts is thus a consequence of their being essentially types of representations, that is, representations that can contribute the same content on different occasions, 66 which in turn is a consequence of the spontaneity and discursivity of the understanding. Specifically, since concept-use is a rule-governed activity, the same rule can be used to synthesize different manifolds on different occasions in such a way that different objects can fall under the same concept. [@watkins2017, 99]

So this would be another view to target if I want to continue pushing my generality constraint line. Repeatability isn’t enough. There has to be systematicity present as well.

Two Models of Singular Cognition

Judgmental Model
Singular cognition occurs when a singular judgment is connected (?) with an intuition that (i) renders the concepts of the judgment objectively real; (ii) is such that the subject concept of the judgment refers to the object of intuition and the predicate concept applies to (predicates?) some property of that object
Perceptual Model
singular cognition consists in a single representation that satisfies both the givenness and the thought condition (unlike the judgment model, which has one representation, judgment, satisfying the thought condition and another, intuition, satisfying the givenness condition)

I find both of these models quite obscure.

Icon by Nun from The Noun Project. Website built with Org-mode, Hugo, and Netlify.