I have a question, if

all we are aware are representations of physical objects. how do we know there are physical objects?


if Objects → Representation → our perception

how do we know there are Objects?

If you’re asking “why doesn’t Kant accept Cogito” which seems to be atleast part of your question you can find the answer on pages 158-160 of his Critique.(If you don’t have a copy, I’d be happy to quote it for you here") If you’re asking why does Kant demand that there is a noumenal sphere then I think we can find the answer in the fact that he see’s space and time as intuition by which representations are given. The answer can be found in your quesiton.

awareness preceeds space and time. kant is incorrect in saying if we take the chair away we are left with space and time. if you take everything away, you are left with nothing, how can you be aware of nothing unless you are unaware? time is observed change, if there is no change, there is no time.

ok, why Kant demands there to be a ‘nomenal sphere’?

For Kant awareness is connected with space and time, i’m not sure if “awareness preceeds space and time” makes sense within transcendental idealism as all awareness according to Kant is of objects in space and time. You take the space and time away you must also take away the objects and you have nothing left to be aware of.


I’m not sure Kant argues for the opposite, perhaps this is why he denies the vacuum

That would indeed seem to be the case.

Because the way he formulates space and time, and the following implications.


I may have been thrown of the meaning of your questions with the implications you drew from it so if I was I offer this. When Kant says “if you take the chair away you still have space and time” he simply means to say that space and time are not something that can be explained in terms of the object. They are not properties of the object.

according to kant: “space and time are innate ordering structures of the human mind” -they can’t be taken away

review the antimonies…


Kant believes in the subjectivity of space and time. Space and time are formal attributes of the perceiving object, and they give a temporal structure to the experience. Things-in-themselves, or things independent of the mind (which are the causes of our sensations), do exist. However, we do not know what they are because they are not substances, nor do they exist in space and time.

Seems like he has created an autonomous world within which the mind and experience dwell. Well, almost autonomous. There are still the unknowable things-in-themselves (which explain sensations).

Clarify what “everything” is and what “nothing” is or is not? This us where you are going wrong i think.

Try this on for size:

For us to perceive anything there must be something, right? Something must exist, we can’t be mistaking nothing for something, though we might be mistake some particular thing for something else (Socrates for Alcibiades, for example). Now, because our perceptions can be wrong there must be a difference between what we perceive (the perception of the thing) and the thing itself. The easiest explanation is that we perceive an imperfect (therefore error-prone) representation, rather than the real thing, but that there must be a real thing in order that it may be misrepresented or its representation be misunderstood.

Now of course if you ask a Derridan they’ll tell you each representation only represents another representation, that images only refer to other images. That there is no ‘presence’ ‘thing in itself’, certainly not one that can be expressed in language. I think Derridans would also argue this is true of perception, that it isn’t simply a case of not having a language in which to describe the thing in itself, we can’t even perceive it, but that’s a different argument I don’t really get.

which argument is that?


Doesn’t the chair create space? Since the chair is supposedly “in” space. As for “time”, is it not just awareness or thought that creates time? Wouldn’t you need to be dead not to experience “passage”/time?

no, for kant, time and space are constructs of the mind of the perceiver, the things in themselves can never be known…


exactly what i said right? Time is an illusion of thought and so too is space, but to experience space the object must exist and so too must the perciever.

no, you said the chair creates space. kant claims that space and time are creations of the perceiver… kant argues that Space is not an empirical concept derived from outer experience. Space is an a priori representation which underlies all outer intuitions. external objects always exist a posterori for kant… Also space is not a relation of things in general but an intuition. Finally, space is an infinite manifold – a certain given. Kant also says the same thing about time.



Keep in mind that Kant was born in the 1750s, before the time of relativity and space exploration. His idea concerning the physics of time and space is comparable to a caveman attempting an explanation at the complex structures of a computer.

On space, Kant is basically saying if you take all of something away, you are left with nothing. you can’t take nothing away from nothing, so nothing is eternal, or intuitive, the orgininal thought.

On time, Kant is basically saying if you take all of something away, you will still have awareness. Imagine closing your eyes, you’d still be aware of time (because you have thoughts) ← but kant didn’t think of that.

In totality, Kant is saying if you take everything away, you would still be left with a continuous awareness of nothing.


hahahhaha, your “something” means exactly my ‘objects’ just different signifiers signifying the same thing.


gee, did Kant really say THAT? I used to have a higher regards for him… but after that explanation…

A common misconception when, philosophically, people talk about space and time. PHILOSOPHICALLY SPEAKING, Pinnacle of, philosophers have been talking about the concept of spacetime, even before relativity. Their conception of it is that of prephilosophical view, not the scientific conception. We have in our language words to indicate exactly that----here, there, out there, over here, now, before, tomorrow. Don’t confuse the physico-conception with the philosophical conception.

I wasn’t offering this as a reasonable argument, just as one I’ve heard that tries to support the notions Pinnacle of Reason was asking about. I share the same reservations as you.

Would you not say there is one thing ‘perception’ there are simply perceptions of whatever happens to be being perceived at that moment. That we cannot describe perception per se, we can simply describe (however imprecisely) whatever perceptions we happen to have perceived?

When I said ‘Derridans would argue the same of perception’ I meant that they’d argue perception is an abstraction, an invention within language, just like presence.

I meant that the concerns over what can be perceived and what can explained/shown/described are different (albeit related) concerns, and that I understand the argument about the limits of language whereas I don’t really get the argument as to why we can’t perceive the thing-in-itself. I know you’ve run me through it a few times but it’s still not sitting comfortably. Still, I’ll keep trying to get it, it’s not like I’ve got much else to do.


as simply as possible…

posit (for the sake of argument) the existence of the (individual human’s)mind…

there is a perception of a thing external (again, for the sake of argument)of that mind…

the only thing the mind has to “work” with is the perception of said thing…

regardless of the existence or actual ontology of external said thing (which can not be completely proven- it could be completely other than one perceives), the only “tool” the mind has at its disposal is the perception and never the thing-in-itself (which is that- if anything- which underlies the “external” perception)