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Kant's Theory of Self-Consciousness$
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C. Thomas Powell

Print publication date: 1990

Print ISBN-13: 9780198244486

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198244486.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Kant's Theory of Self-Consciousness

C. Thomas Powell

Oxford University Press

The self as experiencing subject has presented a recurring problem for philosophers, from Rene Descartes to David Hume, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, and Immanuel Kant. In the Paralogisms of Pure Reason, Kant examines the nature of the self and the problem of apperceptive consciousness as inherited from the ‘rational psychologists’. Kant realized that the elusiveness of the ‘I’ of the ‘I think’ has import not only for epistemology but for our view of persons, and thus for moral philosophy as well. The value of Kant's treatment of the self lies not only in the wealth of his philosophical insights about self-knowledge proper (of which the Paralogisms can claim not a few) but also in the awareness he had of the relevance of this problem for widely disparate areas of philosophy. This book explores the consequences of Kant's view of the self and his contributions to our own understanding of the character (and limits) of self-knowledge. Salient aspects of Kant's positive theory of the self as it is presented in the Transcendental Deduction are discussed.

Keywords:   Immanuel Kant, self, philosophy, self-knowledge, Paralogisms of Pure Reason, apperceptive consciousness, positive theory, Transcendental Deduction

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