Following this question; given that Kantian Categories are required to sythesise Concepts and for the conditions of experience; does this mean that we are born with them?
Some categories, like the notion of quantity that underlies space and time, have to be inborn, or the remainder could not possibly gain traction.
We do not learn that time passes, we have already experienced it doing so before we leave the womb. An unborn child shifts in its sleep in response to its mother's posture, so it is already dealing with space and time and thus the category of quantity.
A baby cries when you scare the breath into it, (to the extent that people still do that) so it has a notion of (pain, and therefore pleasure and therefore) beauty and the underlying category of quality.
Something has to exist as a seed for meaning to accumulate around, and Kant has attempted to isolate the most minimal kernel for that seed. So the categories, and quite a bit of instinctive correlation around them clearly enter the mind before birth.
I do not mean to beg the question here, or to misleadingly affirm the consequent. Clearly that we are born with these things can be established without establishing that that phenomenon proceeds from our premise in any way.
And I am only saying that a few of the categories Kant believes in need to exist for the very young.
A category is that which can be asserted of any thing, regardless of what it is, regardless of what you are. From that definition, for me, the question hinges on the necessity of asserting things, when you are a foetus, or a baby.
I am saying that things like 'I have fallen on my arm, and I would be more comfortable if it moved.' are in fact asserted by foetuses, if only unconsciously, as they do move their arms. And given that very minimalistic example, I am challenging whether anyone can imagine beginning to acquire knowledge from a position where nothing would ever need to be asserted in this sense.
Truth (the idea causing correspondence between words and what words portray), which relates to categories, is certainly a priori knowledge, otherwise children would not be able to learn to speak.
No. We are born into a priori circumstances and operative conditions (Kant's 1st Critique is sitting on the shelf), but we are not born with these understandings at birth. Rational thought and understanding require language, which we acquire later. Agree that infants begin to learn some of the basics of causality very quickly, but it is through experience, in conflict with the a priori definition.
[Wittgenstein reference added]
My philosophy of language bias shows in my answer, underscored by Wittgenstein: "The limits of my language mean the limits of my world" Tractatus, 5.6 (1921). Prior to any means for recording or understanding concepts as made possible by language, the fetus and newborns mentioned have fairly limited room for rational introspection. Moreover, I think any insight gained is a posteriori, i.e., after they have experienced something (a fallen arm, etc.). At the earliest of developmental stages, prior to any language, all they truly have to go on is experience.
[Phil.SE re: Chomsky reference added]
Here is a related 2014 site post by some of the same participants in this thread: Is Chomskys universal grammar synthetic a priori?.
Based on these inputs, but in line with my previous arguments, I'll argue further that it seems grammar can be used to represent an analytic judgement (X is Y, or X means Y, or X inheres in Y) representing Kant's form of understanding, whereas an associated synthetic judgement (X relates to Y, or X causes Y) are instances of the realization of knowledge itself, converting analytic understanding to synthetic knowledge. This process I believe can be called synthesis (as used by Descartes, Fichte, Kant).
As we unpack this, I see the role(s) of grammar emerge from Kant's 4x3 categorical framework, with an ability to describe both analytic and synthentic judgements. Like grammar, Kant's classes play similar roles as adjectives, nouns and verbs. If it is done prior to any experience (as with math/geometry), it is a priori, or pure. If not, no harm, it is simply an empirical pursuit.
I may not have this fully sorted out as yet. I am still learning Kant and Chomsky. But I truly think these arguments move us closer to Kant's epistemic intention, with some modern day semantic/analytic support ("role of grammar") from Chomsky's UG.
Is this question about Kant or about innate capacities?
I have absolutely no idea how Kant might deal with an idea like "being born," and I do not see an answer here, though I personally would be very interested to see one.
My own naive understanding is that Kant was setting out the preconditions of any "rational being." We might even add, whether "born" or not.
It is unclear, at least to me, whether "birth" is to be considered "experience" or perhaps an amphibian a-priori-posteriori transition. One can image Hegel dealing with this, but not Kant.
This is very interesting, I believe, from a feminist perspective, in that philosophy does a very poor job of sorting out universal human conditions like "in utero" or "being born."
I would like to hear more on this. The great challenge posed by Kant is that we cannot, I believe, simply turn the categories into "instincts" or Chomsky's presumably embodied categories.
To me, "being born" with "Kantian categories" really mixes or "materializes" incommensurable perspectives, effectively discrediting idealism. And it would be good to settle this incommensurability in some way.