Kant and Husserl on bringing perception to judgment


There is today much debate about the contents of perceptual experience relative to our capacity to make them figure in judgments. There is considerably less interest, however, in how we subsume perceptual contents in judgments, that is, what judging about a perception is like for us. For Kant and Husserl, this second question is as important as the first. Whereas Kant tries to answer it in the schematism section of the first Critique, Husserl addresses it at length in Experience and Judgment. This paper draws new attention to this ‘forgotten’ transcendental problem by comparing both accounts of it. I will first discuss Kantian conceptualism in section two and schematization in section three. In section four I then turn to the Husserlian notion of type, which is today often juxtaposed to Kant’s schema. After rejecting one commonly held view that they are functionally identical, I turn to Husserl’s work on active synthesis, where I distinguish three different acts of judgment and their respective contents.

Keywords: Husserl, Kant, perception, judgment, knowledge, schematism, passive synthesis, conceptual content

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