I have a basic understanding of Kant's philosophy which revolves mostly around how human mind synthesizes valid knowledge, that is, the forms of understanding unifying perceptions, and forms of sensibility conditioning sense data, etc.

But from what I have read, it appears to me that Kant has totally ignored questions about the nature of the mind. Well, maybe I have missed the point of Kant's philosophy because he actually argues how any purely rational ontology, including that of mind, consists in "transcendental application of the categories" hence an invalid intellectual business. But I still can't see why the following questions may be invalid: how do pure concepts come to be in the first place and what do they tell us about the nature of mind?

A question about the genesis of those concepts may be directed to Kant's stuff on how they are deduced from forms of judgement, but my question is deeper: how can there be any pure concepts considering they are unlike anything in the sensible world? Are we born with them? Or do they magically appear in our mind once we form our first judgements during infancy? What do the fact that such concepts occur in our mind at all tell us about the nature of our mind?

  • In one sense, "how do pure concepts come to be?", sounds like asking to apply empirical category of causality to inscrutable noumena, a category error. In another sense, how we master our mind's inherent faculties, historically and developmentally, is a matter for empirical science and not Kant's business. "What do they tell us about the nature of mind?" Quite a lot, that we possess discursive intellect split into sensibility and understanding, transcendental unity of apperception, etc. But we simply infer the "nature" from how mind ideally functions, that is orthogonal to its "genesis".
    – Conifold
    Aug 19 at 11:21
  • @Conifold Thanks but are pure concepts an instance of noumena in Kant? I can't see why they must be considered inscrutable. If mind has a developmental origin and not inherent inborn qualities which must sound obvious, that alone can and must raise interesting metaphysical possibilities like there being some mysterious supernatural origin for consciousness that inspires the mind with the said categories somewhere along the development process.
    – infatuated
    Aug 19 at 12:36
  • They are not, but the noumenal self that they "come from" is. You misunderstood. Mind, as in Kant's "transcendental subject", does not have developmental origin, evolutionary conceptions of this sort do not appear until Hegel. It is what it is, all that happens historically and developmentally is mastering what is always there. This mastering is a contingent empirical appearance with zero metaphysical import, it cannot answer "how" in your sense. There are no metaphysical possibilities and supernatural mysteries, all of that is illusory, a misapplication of categories to noumena.
    – Conifold
    Aug 19 at 13:12
  • @Conifold Thank you again for the reply. Yes, evolutionary thinking emerges after Kant. But I was not critiquing Kant only on his own terms, but on what we may know about mind from other sources/periods. You mention that the historical evolution can only "master what is always there". If I have understood you correctly, I can still ask what was the thing that has always been there? I guess you'd say it's mind as the noumena. But you (following Kant, it appears) do not to allow any further inference ("scrutiny"), like why do you or Kant just assume that the noumenal mind has always been there?
    – infatuated
    Aug 19 at 13:27
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    Though sourcing from the free-floating imagination, it by no means the fundamental form of Kantian time as a thinking thing could be arbitrary idiosyncratically otherwise there's really nothing to measure and philosophize about human mind, and never ever would Yogis be possible at all. OTOH its corresponding physical time (duration) needed to complete a thought is an empirical matter due to evolution and other contingencies. But more or less for a same species they're similar, and the ancient yogis Vasubandhu described all hungry ghosts saw water as fire and a moment as almost eternity... Aug 20 at 21:23


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