Kant's Metaphysics of the SelfSkip other details (including permanent urls, DOI, citation information)
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I argue that Kant's Critique of Pure Reason offers a positive metaphysical account of the thinking self. Previous interpreters have overlooked this account, I believe, because they have held that any metaphysical view of the self would be incompatible with both Kant's insistence on the limitations of cognition and with his project in the Paralogisms. Closer examination, however, shows that neither of those aspects of the Critique precludes a metaphysical account of the self, and that other aspects (namely, the structure of Kant's overall project and the commitments of his claims in the Transcendental Deduction) require such an account. Drawing on a principle of 'effect-relative composition,' I argue that Kant's self is neither an activity, a form, nor a representation, but instead an individual constituted by the thing or things that bring about the unity of a course of experience.