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Kant argues for a separation between the noumenal world and the phenomenal world, for good reason. Kant does not, however, seem to believe the mind is noumenal. If we operate on a brain and we remove a segment which permits the smell of roses, completely, so the thought of the smell of roses could no longer be perceived, how would Kant say this occurred? Would he describe this as a removal of a priori structures permitting the smell of roses?

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    Kant, besides some passages in CPR, most prominently speaks about a noumenal self in his moral philosophy, see e.g. plato.stanford.edu/entries/kant-hume-morality . You should definitely be careful with identifying noumenal as some substantial thing e.g. a brain-substance the concious mind emerges from, like Aristotle's causa materialis/formalis. This would be wrong as from Plato and Aristotle to the Leibniz-Wolff tradition these causa or substances have been tried to grasp with the help of intuitions, which for Kant is a major error in classic metaphysics. – Philip Klöcking Apr 26 '16 at 22:18
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On the contrary, Kant does make a phenomenal-noumenal distinction with respect to the mind. In the following, for example, he speaks of us knowing ourselves only as we appear to ourselves:

"We have now arrived at the proper place for explaining the paradox which must have struck every one in our exposition of the internal sense, namely—how this sense represents us to our own consciousness, only as we appear to ourselves, not as we are in ourselves, because, to wit, we intuit ourselves only as we are inwardly affected." (Critique of Pure Reason, B151)

Elsewhere, he says the following:

"[A]lthough my own existence is certainly not mere phenomenon (much less mere illusion), the determination of my existence can only take place conformably to the form of the internal sense, according to the particular mode in which the manifold which I conjoin is given in internal intuition, and I have therefore no knowledge of myself as I am, but merely as I appear to myself. The consciousness of self is thus very far from a knowledge of self, in which I do not use the categories, whereby I cogitate an object, by means of the conjunction of the manifold in one apperception." (Critique of Pure Reason, B157)

As far as the smell of roses, Kant did, in fact, refer to the conditions of sensibility as a priori as you said:

"For that objects of sensuous intuition must correspond to the formal conditions of sensibility existing a priori in the mind is quite evident, from the fact that without these they could not be objects for us;" (Critique of Pure Reason, A89/B122)

If I'm understanding your question correctly, you seem to be associating the idea of the brain with the noumena. However our knowledge of the brain is only by means of phenomenal evidence. Furthermore, anything which may affect the noumena shouldn't be confused with the noumena itself. Removing a part of the brain has effects on how we perceive the world, but we can only investigate the causal chain of physiology phenomenally and cannot assume that there are no unseen factors at work beyond our perception.

  • So you would say the explaination I gave for brain damage is sufficient, for a kantian, namely it removed the a priori structures sufficient to experience the perception? – NationWidePants Apr 27 '16 at 12:48
  • @NationWidePants. No, I wouldn't agree with the word "sufficient", because it assumes that the conditions for sensibility are completely reducible to brain states. Not only would that be an unfounded assumption, but physical science knows of no quantifiable properties which even remotely resemble the smell of a rose. – user3017 Apr 27 '16 at 12:49
  • How would you say a kantian would explain this phenonmena? – NationWidePants Apr 27 '16 at 12:51
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    @NationWidePants. I have no reason to believe that anyone would try explain it from a kantian perspective. Kant's purpose for writing the Critique of Pure Reason was to establish an apodictic basis for a priori knowledge, so the nature of sensibility was for the most part beyond its scope. However, even with respect to a priori knowledge in general, he didn't explain why we have it, but only that, without it, knowledge wouldn't be possible. Bertrand Russell criticized Kant because of that, but it simply wasn't Kant's intention to do so. – user3017 Apr 27 '16 at 13:15

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