From Descartes to Hume, philosophers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries developed a dialectic of radically conflicting claims about the nature of the self. In the Paralogisms of The Critique of Pure Reason, Kant comes to terms with this dialectic, and with the character of the experiencing self. Powell seeks to elucidate these difficult texts, in part by applying to the Paralogisms insights drawn from Kant's Transcendental Deduction. His reading shows that the structure of the Paralogisms provides an essential key to understanding both Kant's critique of 'rational psychology' and his theory of self-consciousness. As Kant realized, the ways in which we must represent ourselves to ourselves have import not only for epistemology, but for our view of persons and of our own immortality, and for moral philosophy as well. Kant's theory of self-consciousness is also shown to have implications for contemporary discussions of the problem of other minds, functionalism, and the problem of indexical self-reference.
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- ID: 9780198244486
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