Kant’s Views about Space and Time
Kant’s views about time and space are that he rebuts both Leibniz and Newton’s conception of space. Kant conceptualizes space and time as priori forms of perception meaning that these two exist devoid of any appeal to earlier experience. Kant goes to an extent of even asserting that individuals can not build a conception of either space or time without referring to experience of objects because they assume the individualization of objects within time and/or space, and even though there is a possibility of representing space as being without objects, it is impossible for representation of any objects devoid of space or time representation (Janiak, 1).
According to Kant, individuals can only perceive the world temporarily and spatially just like their sensory perceptions’ experience demand of all information they get has to be situated spatially and temporarily relative to them. Consequently, Kant differentiates two different kinds of sense. The first one he states that it is the “inner sense” and he explains it as the conception individuals have concerning their own selves, that is temporal. Secondly, the “outer sense,” where he explains that is our conception concerning our surrounding world and is situated both temporarily and spatially (Zweig, 5).
Kant argues that anything one experience depends on the way they experience it. This is because, according to him, anything experienced by a person has to be filtered via their temporal and spatial framework; hence space and time are situated in them as opposed to being within the physical world out there.
In Kant’s numerous arguments, he has the general perception of both time and space being Priori intuitions. He argues that space and time are most importantly subjective in the sense that, separately, they cannot apply to things. From this position alone, Kant introduces the concepts of ‘transcendental idealism’ and that of ‘empirical realism’. In his effort to try and these two concepts, Kant gave five conclusions concerning the idea of time and space.
In his first conclusion, he stated that space and time don’t share any properties with things. This is in the sense that the concepts of time and space do not reveal anything when subjected under the conditions of intuition. He further argues that since space and time are a priori intuitions they cannot therefore be attached to objects themselves. In the defense of his claim he says that if time was to be looked at independently as a substance, it would turn out to be an actuality rather than an object. On the other hand, if either space or time were to be viewed as orders that actually inhered in things on their own, they would cease to be prior to the idea of cognition of things. There is however the issue of whether Kant derived the non- spatiotemporality of things within themselves from the idea of their subjectivity or chose to derive the idea of subjectivity of both space and time from that of the non-spatiotemporality of these things themselves (Banham, 1).
Kant declares that space is nothing but just the for of every appearances of the outer sense while time forms the inner sense in his second conclusion. He goes on to explain time lacks anything to do with shape and position and therefore can not be represented in any other form rather than analogies. Space on the other hand is seen as being receptivity of the main subject is given priority under actual perceptions. Owing to the fact that analogies are derived from space, time can therefore be represented spatially alone and this is done by intuition means which further supports the claims of time being an intuition.
In his third conclusion, Kant goes on to mention that of every appearance, time is in fact the formal a priori state. Here it can be understood that Kant means that space represents conditions that only regard to outer appearances. He says that any representation, without regard to whether they concern outer things or not, belong to the inner state which is in fact under the inner intuition condition. It can be mentioned that time represents the condition of our own state.
In Kant’s view, both space and time are empirically real but they also are transcendentally ideal. In his claims that the two concepts are empirically real, he brings out clearly the point that for anything, they are conditions that appear to each one of us and therefore offer criteria that is basic for the reality of any object. These sentiments can also be derived from experience.
In his implication that space and time are transcendentally ideal, he restricts the conditions under which we can look at both concepts in reality and also restricts the deniability of this fact.
“The true correlate of sensibility, the thing in itself, is not known, and cannot be known, through these representations; and in experience no question is ever asked inn regard to it” (Banham, 7)
Kant is quick to note the specific objection brought forward about his claims of time being transcendentally ideal. The objection is in regard to the idea that such kind of alteration only becomes possible in time therefore making time real. In his defense, Kant grants this argument but goes further to say that it only implies that time is thus empirically real. In the event that any change in various forms of our representations are to be intuited in other means rather than that of time, it would mean that we would have no business making any reference to it. This leads to the idea of the empirical reality of the concept time being safeguarded without denying its being transcendental ideal. It should be noted that objection was only made in regard to time and not space in terms of idealism. In his response to this objection, Kant denies the existence of any type of dissymmetry between both time and space.
In the conclusion of the topic about transcendental aesthetic, Kant presents four observations. He first brings to our attention that there is a major distinction between the means by which we intuit things and what the things being intuited are. This means that intuition only belongs to subject constitution. He points out in his second conclusion that everything that can be intuited describes only relations and that we cannot gain full knowledge about it depending on relations alone.
In his third conclusion, Kant confirms the claims that objects which appear as distinct to us are not just illusions. The only contradiction may arise when we start assuming that reality needs objects that are real in a transcendental sense and therefore seek to understand reality in this regard just as Isaac Newton did. In his final conclusion, he says that all finite objects and beings, which include humans, due to their requirement for concepts will have their cognitive ability consequently becoming limited (Banham, 9).
Zweig (6) asserts that the claim of Kant that the mind of the one who knows contributes actively to the objects’ experience in front of us brings us to a better point of comprehending transcendental idealism. His arguments are meant to illustrate our knowledge’s limitations. The belief of the Rationalists was that individuals may well posses metaphysical knowledge of souls, substance, God, among others hence they according to them this knowledge was transcendentally real (Janiak, 1). On the contrary Kant argues that no one can posses knowledge of realm further than empirical. This means that for our minds, transcendental knowledge is ideal as opposed to being real. For these constraints, Kant explains by pointing out two priori sources. They are the mind has the sensibility (receptive capacity) and understanding (has a conceptual capacity).
Kant presents his argument in Transcendental Aesthetic claiming that sensibility is the understanding’s way of evaluating objects.
He goes ahead to argue that in geometry, the reason why it is possible for judgment of synthetic a priori is that space sensibility’s a priori kind. This means that individuals can only figure out geometry’s with a priori assurance (which they do) on condition that they are experiencing objects devoid of ability to spatially represent them (Zweig, 20). As a result it is not possible to grapple an object as object except delineating the area of space occupied by it. Devoid of spatial representation, individuals’ sensations are undistinguished and it is impossible to assign properties to given objects. Similarly, it is not possible to gather the concept of time itself from, experience due to simultaneity and succession of objects, the phenomenon that would point out the time passage, would not be possible to be represented without possession of the capacity to symbolize objects in time.
In other words, Kant’s idea can be interpreted to mean that there is a possibility of being with any experience concerning an object which in space and time. Additionally, time and space themselves cannot be professed in a direct manner; hence they have to be the kind by which objects’ experience is had. A consciousness that captures objects directly, the way they are in themselves but not through the means of time and space, is possible (Janiak, 1). This is God, and Kant affirms that he has entirely intuitive consciousness; however individuals objects, apprehension is constantly mediated by sensibility conditions. To this effect, all discursive ideas using consciousness for example our minds have to apprehend objects as inhabiting an area of space and persevering for a given time period.
In conclusion, the whole argument about transcendental aesthetics implies that individuals can only signify to themselves one space. No one could know more than a single space due to a situation of knowing things as being out of other things is that they be spatially related to it, hence they have to able to be tracked spatially. Consequently there is an implication that the logical possibility’s world is much expansive than the epistemic possibility’s world. Kant makes his distinction by saying that individuals can think of a lot of things they cannot know. Space is said to transcendentally ideal, meaning that it is a condition of for the chance of appearances as opposed to being a thing in itself. It obviously follows that for us to experience as appearance of anything it has to appear in space first hence we understand appearances and not objects in themselves.