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Space time and plurality

The transcendental aesthetic concerns itself with aesthetics as


sensibility from the German meaning of the word as sentient. Kant begins by
showing the differences between form and matter. What he is concerned with
here in this section is the matter or sensations, which is non-relational leaving
all relations a product of the mind. He then goes on to discuss these
sensations that provide the conditions for the possibility of knowledge of which
we have no control over. These sensations are space and time. Kant makes
an argument for space as a synthetic apriori truth and then creates a mirror
argument concerning time.

Leibniz believed that space was an internal imaginative projection of


our own state as monads. However unfortunately for Leibniz he could not
answer questions on how two or more similar object could be located in
different places. For Kant this was not an issue. Space, Kant tries to show, is
what is outside our mind. If an object is not a product of our mind such as a
hallucination then it’s in space. Contrary to Leibniz’s notion on distinguishing
objects through their qualitative identity, objects are different because of their
location in space not because of any qualitative differences. What Kant
claims is that you’d have to be aware of the differences to undergo any
qualitative investigation. There is a similar argument that applies to time
however time is different in that it constituted inside me.

Kant then goes on to the second argument, which states that you can
have space without objects but you can’t have objects without space. He
asks the epistemic question of whether we can have space without objects
and then answers it with geometry. Geometry is an example of space without
objects. Objects however cannot be differentiated unless they are in space
and so we cannot have objects without space. From the previous two
arguments we can conclude that what makes space apriori is that it has to
exist for there to be anything outside us, and that we cannot have objects
without space. If space were not apriori then it would be empirical and
obtained from experience of outer objects. However any experience of outer
objects is impossible without the representation of space. So space must be
apriori.

After showing how space is apriori Kant goes on to explain how space
is a pure intuition. This is where his criticism of Newton’s ideas on space as
God’s sensory apparatus begins. This lead to theological determinism and so
Kant wanted to change the question from the metaphysical questions to what
role does space play in our formation of knowledge. Kant does not deny that
we have a concept of space but what he is trying to say is that all our
concepts of space underlie our intuition of space. He asserts there is only
one space of which there may exist some diverse parts but essentially they
are all parts of one whole unique space. Through our intuition of this whole
space we locate a certain part in relation to another part. This is why space is
a pre-intuited. If we didn’t have this pre-awareness of space as a whole we
would not be able to consider its parts. Lastly Kant claims that space is
infinite and this is why I don’t have an idea of space. It’s infinitely divisible and
extended. The question becomes how can I intuit something that is infinite?

Space and time are forms of intuition and not objects of intuition (formal
intuition). So when we don’t intuit it as a whole object but rather as
“successive syntheses”. We can say that geometry is the act of turning forms
of intuition into formal intuition. But you can’t do geometry with concepts
alone. Geometry is a body of synthetic apriori truths. We cannot derive its
proofs from the axioms alone. So Geometry is contingent on our nature and if
the conditions of the possibility of our experience such as Space and time
were to change then geometry would change as well. This leads us to the
final point under discussion, which is that space and time are appearances
and not things in themselves. Space is transcendentally ideal. We cannot
detach it from the conditions of the possibility of knowledge and therefore it
belongs to appearances and not things in themselves. We cannot conceive of
things in themselves as existing in space and time because they are our own
contingent conditions of possibility and to do so would mean to examine
space and time empirically and not transcendentally.