I have a few interconnected questions related to Kant's terminology. I think I understand the basic idea of Kant's dichotomy between intuitions and concepts, but the details are very confusing. My understanding is that this dichotomy differs from the Leibniz/Wolff view that there are only concepts, and am I guessing this differs from Hume's view that there are only intuitions (is this right?). Some other questions I have are:

Why are concepts not abstract ideas for Kant? Concepts, being representations, are types of mental states, so isn't the concept of a tiger an abstract idea? Why do we need "schema" in order to talk about abstract ideas?

What does it mean to apply a concept to a form of intuition? (Examples?) Concepts are themselves cognitions, so it isn't necessary to apply them to anything, right?

What are "forms" of intuitions and do forms differ from intuitions? Are space and time, being pure forms of intuition, themselves cognitions?

  • This is basically the first part (Transcendental Analytic) of the first Critique that answers all this. And your only point seems to be that all of them were "mental states". But "mental states" are not the same as "conscious episodes". Kant's question here is how knowledge about the empirical world can be possible, ie. representations that represent knowledge about things in this world. And he argues this needs an interplay of sensual input and cognitive categories and processing.
    – Philip Klöcking
    Jun 18, 2022 at 23:16
  • Are you saying that concepts (mental states) only rise to the level of conscious episode (sensibility?) by being applied to intuitions ? Jun 19, 2022 at 0:22
  • 1
    Kant argues that intuitions and concepts both apply to objects. An intuition of an object must be of the fundamental spatiotemporal form. A concept of an object must conform to the schematic categories of understanding such as having a quantity, quality and relations to other objects. Only when both are present we cognize things. Thus space and time are cognitions themselves... Re your posited "mental states", some may outright reject their ontic existence as state of affairs such as Churchland, so Kant's cognition is not meant through some psychological mental states to explain emotions... Jun 19, 2022 at 3:06
  • In a way, yes, arguably Kant does indeed split up the necessary conditions for building a cognition in the sense of a representation of an object different from us (thing/ Ding) as we know it. Think about it, try to think about a dog or a chair as a mere concept, without any image
    – Philip Klöcking
    Jun 19, 2022 at 8:26


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