Idealism and the Illusion of the Soul
The topic of Kant’s Fourth Paralogism, the ideality of external objects, is not a topic of rational psychology. Yet, as is contended in this chapter, Kant’s purpose in locating a discussion of idealism in the context of his criticism of rational psychology is to draw attention to the psychological ground for this philosophical position. Accordingly, Kant claims that it is the metaphysician’s assumption that (the I of) the I think is actually in time that leads him to ask whether the objects of outer sense are actually in space, and he consequently commits himself to idealism insofar as he finds reason to doubt the latter. At the root of this mistaken belief is the illusory appearance of the soul which Kant characterizes in terms of confusing the I think with the I am, a misidentification famously captured in, and apparently warranted by, Descartes’ cogito, ergo sum.
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