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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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2 The Subjects of the First Paralogism

2 The Subjects of the First Paralogism

(p.65) 2 The Subjects of the First Paralogism
Kant's Theory of Self-Consciousness

C. Thomas Powell

Oxford University Press

In the Paralogisms of Pure Reason, Immanuel Kant undertakes a thorough and painstaking critique of several arguments which purport to deduce certain a priori truths concerning the actual properties of the self. Here, Kant forces each of the main arguments into the form of a fallacious syllogism, or paralogism, and presents them not merely as deductive fallacies but as deductive fallacies of a very specific kind, a sophisma figurae dictionis, a syllogism which fails because of an ambiguous middle term. This chapter considers Jonathan Bennett's reading of the First Paralogism, focusing on the four main claims he makes against Kant: that he is mistaken in saying that the First Paralogism is a fallacious argument resting on an ambiguity; that he conflates two senses of ‘subject’; that he does not show how the transition is made from the soul as substance to the soul as sempiternal; and that he accords empirical legitimacy to the judgment ‘I am sempiternal’.

Keywords:   Immanuel Kant, Jonathan Bennett, paralogism, fallacious syllogism, self, rational psychology, First Paralogism, soul

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