Monday, 10 March 2008

Kant and Concepts

Kant is often misinterpreted because of the notion of a concept that he had was definitely different to that of the rationalists and the empiricists before him.

So when Berkeley criticises Locke by arguing that you cannot have an idea of dog without thinking of a particular one, such as a Labrador or Golden Retriever, Kant sidestepped the issue entirely by claiming that concepts are not images, but rules.

From A141 of his Critique of Pure Reason:
The concept 'dog' signifies a rule according to which my imagination can delineate the figure of a four-footed animal in a general manner, without limitation to any single determinate figure such as experience, or any possible image that I can represent in concreto, actually presents.

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