Schopenhauer's criticism of Kant's schemata


Schopenhauer's criticism of Kant's schemata

Schopenhauer's criticism of Kant's schemata is part of Schopenhauer's criticism of the Kantian philosophy which was published in 1819. In the appendix to the first volume of his main work, Arthur Schopenhauer attempted to assign the psychological cause of Kant's doctrines of the categories and their schemata.

From pure intuitions to pure concepts

Schopenhauer claimed that Kant had made an important discovery. This was his realization that time and space are known by the human mind (Gemüth) apart from any worldly experience. In fact, they are merely the ways that the mind organizes sensations. Succession is time. Position, shape, and size are space. ["Critique of Pure Reason", A22] The pure forms of time and space are the basis of the perceptions that constitute experience of objects in the external world.

According to Schopenhauer's psychological hypothesis, Kant "… aimed at finding for every empirical function of the faculty of knowledge an analogous "a priori" function … ." ["The World as Will and Representation", Volume I, Appendix, p. 449] Kant's tacit reasoning was similar to the following: "If pure intuition is the foundation of empirical intuition, then pure concepts are the foundation of empirical concepts." From this symmetrical analogy, Kant claimed that the human mind has a pure understanding, just as he had previously claimed that the mind has a pure sensibility. This pure understanding, according to Kant, consists of pure concepts or categories which allow the mind to discursively think about the objects that are intuitively perceived as being arranged in time and space. ["Critique of Pure Reason", A80]

Using intuitions to substantiate concepts

Kant wrote that "In order to demonstrate the reality of our concepts, intuitions are required." ["Critique of Judgment", § 59] Since empirical concepts are derived from perceptions, examples of the intuitive perceptions can be used to verify the concept. Kant asserted that pure concepts, or categories of the understanding, can also be verified by inspecting their intuitions or schemata. "If the concepts are empirical, the intuitions are called examples: if they are pure concepts of the understanding, the intuitions are called schemata." ["Ibid"., § 59] Schopenhauer described the use of examples in the following way:

Pure concepts and the pure intuitional form of time

Kant preferred to create arrangements in symmetrical, analogous tables or lists. For Kant, the symmetrical analogues of empirical examples are the "a priori" schemata. But, in the case of pure concepts and their schemata, how could a reference be made to intuitive perceptions? Schopenhauer declares that concepts "a priori" "… have not sprung from perception, but come to it from within, in order first to receive a content from it. Therefore they have as yet nothing on which they could look back [for verification] . ["Ibid"., p. 450] The only intuition that "a priori" concepts can be referred to is the pure intuitional form of time, according to Kant. Time, the mind's ability to know succession, is the only content of a pure, "a priori" concept of the understanding, or category. "The schemata," he wrote, "therefore are nothing but determinations of time "a priori" according to rules … ." ["Critique of Pure Reason", A145] .

Kant's use of symmetrical analogy

Schopenhauer's criticism of Kant's schemata was done, according to him, in order to help solve the mystery of Kant's way of philosophizing. He tried to show that "… after the happy discovery of the two forms of intuition or perception "a priori" (space and time), Kant attempts, under the guidance of analogy, to demonstrate for every determination of our empirical knowledge an analogue "a priori", and this finally extends in the schemata even to a mere psychological fact. Here the apparent depth of thought and the difficulty of the discussion merely serve to conceal from the reader the fact that its content remains an entirely undemonstrable and merely arbitrary assumption." [Ibid., p. 450 f. ] Quotation|…here more than anywhere else do the intentional nature of Kant's method of procedure and the resolve, arrived at beforehand, to find what would correspond to the analogy, and what might assist the architectonic symmetry, clearly come to light. … By assuming schemata of the pure ("void of content") concepts "a priori" of the understanding (categories) analogous to the empirical schemata (or representatives of our actual concepts through the imagination), he overlooks the fact that the purpose of such schemata is here entirely wanting. The purpose of the schemata in the case of empirical (actual) thinking is related solely to the "material content" of such concepts. Since these concepts are drawn from empirical perception, we assist ourselves and see where we are, in the case of abstract thinking, by casting now and then a fleeting, retrospective glance at perception from which the concepts are taken, in order to assure ourselves that our thinking still has real content. This, however, necessarily presupposes that the concepts which occupy us have sprung from perception…. But with concepts "a priori", which have no content at all, obviously this is of necessity omitted because these have not sprung from perception, but come to it from within, in order first to receive a content from it.|"The World as Will and Representation", Volume I, Appendix, p. 450Empirical concepts are ultimately based on empirical perceptions. Kant, however, tried to claim that, analogously, pure concepts (Categories) also have a basis. This pure basis is supposed to be a kind of pure perception, which he called a schema. But such an empiricist analogy contradicts his previous rationalist assertion that pure concepts (Categories) simply exist in the human mind without having been derived from perceptions. Therefore they are not based on pure, schematic perceptions.

Notes

References

* Schopenhauer, Arthur, "The World as Will and Representation", Vol. I, Appendix, "Criticism of the Kantian Philosophy", 1969, Dover, ISBN 0-486-21761-2

* Kant, Immanuel, "Critique of Pure Reason"

* Kant, Immanuel, "Critique of Judgment"

ee also

*Schema (Kant)
*Category (Kant)
*Critique of Pure Reason


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