(1) I see a tree.

(2) Therefore the tree is the object of my perception.

(3) So I see the object of my perception.

(4) Hence, without grasping the concept of object in general and subsuming the diversity of sense impressions under this concept, I could not perceive the tree.

(5) Hence, the concept of an object in general in an a priori condition of my knowledge of the external world.

2 questions:

(1) Is this reasoning a reasonable reconstruction of Kant's argument in the Transcendantal Logic part of the Critique of Pure Reason?

(2) In case it is, isn't there a fallacy in the inference from (1) to (3) , a fallacy consisting in a confusion between direct knowledge and the reflective description of knowledge?

My argument to assert Kant is committing this fallacy is that one need not identify a tree as an " object" to actually see a tree.

Children do not grasp the concept of " object" ( which is a higher-order concept); notwithstanding, a child is perfectly able to see a tree.

  • 1
    All objects are forms, any reflection of forms still is the reflection fallacy.
    – Eodnhoj7
    Nov 29 '19 at 8:52
  • 3
    This is a typical argument against "the Myth of the Given". Sellars, who coined the term, makes the point by contrasting seeing red apple vs seeing apple as red. But I do not think Kant can be charged with it, unlike sense data theorists. His point is not that the "undifferentiated manifold of sensibility" is not there without concepts, but rather that we do actually differentiate it according to concepts. We do perceive trees as trees (objects), and apples as red, that is the basis of our knowledge. As the "undifferentiated manifold" does not supply the concepts, something else must.
    – Conifold
    Nov 29 '19 at 9:09
  • 1
    Just a reference- On Academia, Robert Hanna is has been and continues to do some great work on all aspects of Kant's Opera. No specific work, but his work including over 25 books and hundreds of papers make for a quality Kant resource. CMS
    – user37981
    Nov 29 '19 at 13:12
  • 1
    "a child is perfectly able to see a tree." Are we sure ? Maybe the child starts seeing light and colors and then he/she evolves and learn to see a tree. This is exactly Kant's point : we see through concepts. Nov 29 '19 at 13:55
  • 1
    I'm not sure (1)-(5) is a correct reconstruction of the argument. Kant argues that we must have a mental faculty for synthesizing mental representations by a priori concepts. It's not clear that one must have reflectively grasped these concepts to deploy this mental faculty. In the Refutation of Idealism he argues that persisting objects in space and time are the condition of possibility for my use of my synthesizing faculties. Dec 2 '19 at 2:31

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