Is it a common misunderstanding to claim that Kant considered time and space to be illusion? People don't seem to agree on this and some people claim that he considers it to be an illusion while other point out that he also said that our intuition of space and time is based on physiology.

  • among who? really, i suppose it may be in some subset of people who have read kant (which i have not)
    – andrós
    Apr 12 at 1:57
  • The word "illusion" is vague enough for people to 'disagree' endlessly because each means by it what they wish. If "illusion" simply means "not what you think" then yes, Kant considered time and space not to be physical or metaphysical entities that people naively take them for. They are forms of our intuition to him. All of nature is also an "illusion" as it is not the thing in itself but appearance framed by our understanding. Kant used expression "transcendental illusion" for conflating appearances with things in themselves, but it is far from colloquial meaning of "illusion".
    – Conifold
    Apr 12 at 3:54

1 Answer 1


Kant did not claim that time and space are illusions. That would be a misunderstanding. But I do not consider this opinion a common misunderstanding. I did not hear about it before.

  1. Kant deals in his Critique of Pure Reason with time and space. He names them the two forms of human intuition. Kant’s point was to emphasize: Our experience does not only depend on the external objects and phenomena. It also depends on the way we humans process our sensual input. The latter is the subjective component of our experience.

    In simple words: Time and space are the frame. We employ these tools to preprocess our sensual input. Subsequently is the processing by the categories of the mind.

  2. If you state the precise point in the linked video, one could discuss in more detail how the impression arises of time and space as illusion.

  • It's not a new idea of Kant's that our mind contributes something to our representations. It was quite common among his contemporaries, as it is now. That's too a misunderstanding. But I generally agree with your post, although it's an oversimplication, since space and time for Kant aren't just forms of human intuition. They're also determined causally. Apr 13 at 14:28
  • So is Kant saying that some of the time and space we perceive are "intuitive illusions" while space and time are still somehow partly grounded in reality?
    – Sayaman
    Apr 13 at 19:24

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