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IdealismNew Essays in Metaphysics$
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Tyron Goldschmidt and Kenneth L. Pearce

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198746973

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198746973.001.0001

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Signaling Systems and the Transcendental Deduction

Signaling Systems and the Transcendental Deduction

(p.104) 7 Signaling Systems and the Transcendental Deduction

Arif Ahmed

Oxford University Press

The central claim of Kant’s Transcendental Deduction is that unity of consciousness entails objectivity of experience. This chapter defends an interpretation of that claim that has nothing especially to do with imagination, thought, language, or ‘categories.’ It is a general truth about signaling systems. More specifically, there is a precise sense in which (i) a signaling system may detect properties of objects as opposed to merely reflecting how it is being affected by external reality taken as a lump. And there is a precise sense in which (ii) a signaling system may exhibit a unity as opposed to being equivalent to a mere bundle of more specialized signaling systems. The chapter argues that (i) is a consequence of (ii): any signaling system that exhibits unity in this sense has experience of objects in that one. That truth, and the argument for it, cast light on (a) Kant and (b) idealism.

Keywords:   Berkeley, idealism, Kant, objectivity, transcendental deduction, unity of consciousness

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