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By Immanuel Kant

Eighteenth century philosophy was once in a challenge, the schism among rationalism and empiricism complicating the dispute over the prestige of faith and the specter of technology. dedicated both to cause and adventure, technological know-how and morality, Kant's objective used to be to put those matters on a safe foundation whereas restricting their declare to unqualified fact: the result's the Critique of natural cause (1781), a decisively influential and extensively unique paintings.

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INTRODUCTION xxxix preting sensory data. He has also argued that we can have no cognition at all of objects unless we interpret the data of our senses in spatial and tem­ poral tenns. So these a priori aspects of presentations are also necessary for cognition, and this is our first piece of transcendental knowledge. By Kant's lights, we now understand the a priori origin of the spatial and tem­ poral aspects of presentations, and so we understand why those aspects are a priori in the sense of being universal and necessary aspects of the world we encounter in perception (A 56/B 8 1 ).

It is a familiar idea in contemporary cognitive science that the perceptual system, for example, must have some means of sorting out movements in objects from the move­ ments of the perceiver. Kant, however, went further than most cognitive scientists are willing to venture, at least for the present. He claimed that because of the ways in which our minds must operate in order to achieve basic cognition, certain principles are universally and necessarily true of all the objects and events of which we can have any cognition at all.

This method of "isolating" the a priori contributions of the faculty of perception is both more and less difficult than it may appear. As already noted, since it is not clear exactly what the perception/conception distinc­ tion involves, it is not obvious how to subtract away the conceptual ele­ ments. Oddly, the second subtraction, of the elements contributed by the senses, is more straightforward. Kant could take advantage of the work of his predecessors, who had noticed that the retina of the eye that receives visual stimulation could not contain any information about depth.

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