Kantian Humility: Our Ignorance of Things in Themselves

Kantian Humility: Our Ignorance of Things in Themselves

by Rae Langton
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In this refreshing and exceptional work, Rae Langton offers a new interpretation and defense of Kant's doctrine of "things in themselves." Kant distinguishes things in themselves from phenomena, thus making a metaphysical distinction between intrinsic and relational properties of substances. Langton argues that his claim that we have no knowledge of

…  See more details below

Overview

In this refreshing and exceptional work, Rae Langton offers a new interpretation and defense of Kant's doctrine of "things in themselves." Kant distinguishes things in themselves from phenomena, thus making a metaphysical distinction between intrinsic and relational properties of substances. Langton argues that his claim that we have no knowledge of things in themselves is not idealism, but epistemic humility; we have no knowledge of the intrinsic properties of substances. This interpretation vindicates Kant's scientific realism and shows his primary/secondary quality distinction to be superior even to modern day competitors. And it answers the famous charge that Kant's tale of things in themselves is one that makes itself untellable.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Langton's book is a significant contribution to the recent literature on Kant's idealism, and will be widely discussed."—Times Literary Supplement

"A novel attempt to elucidate and defend a central Kantian thesis....A most interesting, impressive, and scholarly exercise in Kantian interpretation"—P. F. Strawson

"This is one of the most original and thought-provoking books books on Kant to have appeared for quite some time. Its scholarship and its philosophical insight are equally impressive, and it raises philosophical questions of considerable interest for the present day. . .. . There is much to be learnt from it, and it gives us all much to think about."—Ralph C. S. Walker, Mind

"admirably clear, tightly argued... an extremely engaging and thought-provoking book."—A.W. Moore, Philosophical Review

"Unlike most recent commentators, Rae Langton argues that Kant's distinction between appearances and things in themselves is based on his metaphysical denial of the reducibility of relations rather than on his epistemological conception of a priori knowledge. She situates this controversial claim in Kant's historical context and defends it with analytical rigor. Anyone interested in the perennially fascinating subject of Kant's transcendental idealism must reckon with this distinctive and challenging work."—Paul Guyer

"I leave it to others more qualified than I am to argue about whether Langton's Kant is the historical Kant. Whether he is or not, the case he makes for our irremediable ignorance of the intrinsic properties of substances is extremely interesting and, in my opinion, something very like his conclusion is true. Langton's book makes a major contribution not only to historical scholarship but also to metaphysics and epistemology."—David Lewis

"Langton offers a fresh interpretation of Kant, the main tenets of which she states in a few bold propositions and then goes on to elaborate with great clarity and care. She supports her interpretation with a wealth of citations accompanied by insightful commentary. . . . This is a marvelous book."—Philosophy and Phenomenological Research

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199243174
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
03/29/2001
Pages:
248
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author

Rae Langton is Professor of Philosophy at MIT. She has been affiliated with Monash University, the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University, Sheffield University, and the University of Edinburgh.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >