Kant on the faculty of feeling

Kant, German Idealism
See also
Kant on substance and power, Kant’s map of the mind

(This is a slight modification of (Wuerth 2014)): Representations in the faculty of pleasure and displeasure, by contrast with those of the faculty of cognition, do not relate to independent actualities, but merely to how an object affects the subject, and in particular whether the object causes a feeling in the subject of the advancement of or hindrance to the subject’s “life” (AF, 25:559 [1775/6]; R 3855, 17:313 [1764–8]; Me, 25:1068 [1781/2]; ML 1 , 28:246–7 [1777–80]; R 1021 15:457 [1773–9]; cf. OFBS, 2:299 [1764]; R 651, 15:288 [1769–70]), i.e., the advancement of or hindrance to the subject’s “inner principle of self–activity,” or their desire (ML 1 , 28:247 [1777–80]; MMr, 29:894 [1782–3]; CPrR, 5:23 [1788]; ML 2 28:587 [1790–1]). These representations can also be understood in terms of their effects, insofar as they can serve as efficient causes of a subjective sort, for producing or maintaining themselves as pleasures (MD, 28:675 [1792–3] and MK 2 , 28:741 [early 1790s]; CPJ, First Introduction, 20:206 [1789]; ML 2 , 28:586 [1790–1]).

(Again from Wuerth) Whereas the representations of the faculty of pleasure and displeasure have subjective causality, the representations of the faculty of desire have objective causality (AC, 25:206 [1772/3]; MD, 28:675 [1792–3]; MK 2 , 28:737, 741 [early 1790s]; CPJ, First Introduction, 20:206; CPrR, 9n [1788]; MM, 6:211–14 [1797]). That is, the representations of the faculty of desire do not merely act to reproduce themselves as representations but instead can serve to cause the objects of these representations in accordance with the satisfaction taken in the object (ML 2 , 28:587 [1790–1]). Despite the similarity of desire and feeling insofar as both serve as causes of something, desire is similar to cognition (and dissimilar to feeling) in relating to an object, though to produce this object rather than know it.



Wuerth, Julian. 2014. Kant on Mind, Action, and Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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