Béatrice Longuenesse and Ned Block vide Kant

On a Novel Kantian Approach to the Philosophy of Mind


  • Ekin Erkan


Understanding, for Kant, does not intuit, and intuition—which involves empirical information, i.e., sense-data—does not entail thinking. What is crucial to Kant’s famous claim that intuitions without concepts are blind and concepts without intuitions are empty is the idea that we have no knowledge unless we combine concepts with intuition. Although concepts and intuition are radically separated mental powers, without a way of bringing them together (i.e., synthesis) there is no knowledge for Kant. Thus Kant’s metaphysical-scientific dualism: (scientific) knowledge is limited to the world of phenomena—the world of appearance—while the thing-in-itself is unknowable because there is no intuition that can correspond to the it. This paper sets to cull Béatrice Longuenesse’s recent work on the first-person ‘I’ and put forth a novel Kantian approach to the first-person reference of mental states, working in the tradition of P.F. Strawson, Rudolf Carnap, and Wilfrid Sellars, while offering an empirical study of deafferentation to ground the thesis that the binding of representations is separate from phenomenal consciousness. Accordingly, we stake a kind of self-consciousness vis-à-vis the Fundamental Reference-Rule qua apperception that, while intimately connected to consciousness of one’s own body, apperception is nevertheless distinct from it and is, moreover, the condition for any use of ‘I’. We compliment neuroscientist Oliver Sacks’ research with Ned Block’s recent work on “no-post‐perceptual cognition” and attentional variation to couch Kant’s schema in perceptual psychology. We navigate Kant’s work on intuitions (viz. sensation, perception, and the empirical side of the cognitive faculties) and indirect realism/weak representationism first via Sellars’ naturalization of Kant’s inaccessible thing-in-itself, before challenging Sellars’ functionalist and inferentialist conception of perception and discursive intentionality. We ultimately endeavor to conceptualize the limit-conditions regarding our having reportable knowledge about our access to percepts and concepts.

Author Biography

Ekin Erkan

Ekin Erkan is a Turkish writer in science, technology and philosophy living in New York City, notable for researching with and developing Reza Negarestani's research on artificial general intelligence. Erkan's work originally concerned Bernard Stiegler's work on psychopolitics as well as secondary literature on François Laruelle's non-standard philosophy but has more recently (given their analytic return) been working on Catarina Dutilh Novaes' concept of de-semantification and Robert Brandom's inferentialism. Background Erkan's work examines the collective closure between neural networks, predictive processing, and perceptual faculties as they relate to machine intelligence and algorithmic governmentality. Erkan has a background in both analytic and continental philosophy, supplemented by graduate research in medialogy, media archaeology and film philosophy. Despite originally working within the continental tradition of philosophy of art, aesthetics and media, Erkan's more recent work has been associated with the post-continental school of thinkers, influenced by philosophers such as Carl Sachs, Ray Brassier, Reza Negarestani and Thomas Moynihan. Erkan is currently pursuing post-graduate study in Critical Philosophy at The New Centre for Research & Practice, researching under the tutelage of Iranian theory fiction pioneer Reza Negarestani while working on Bayesian neuro-inference and AGI. Erkan also is a columnist and critic at the art and literature journal AEQAI, publishing monthly contributions on contemporary art and intermedia. In addition to Erkan's work on Stiegler and Rouvroy, Erkan has published writing on Andy Clark and David Chalmers' ''extended mind'', Ned Block's ''non-iconic memory'' and ''phenomenology of perception and mental paint'', François Laruelle's ''non-ethics'' and ''non-aesthetics'', Robert Brandom's inferentialism, Negarestani's neo-rationalist turn, Catherine Malabou's "neuroplasticity" and "creative non-calculation," and post-Deleuzian film philosophy in publications including Radical Philosophy, Theory & Event, Identities: Journal for Politics, Gender and Culture, Cosmos & History, Alphaville, Cultural Studies, New Review of Film and Television Studies, Chiasma, Rhizomes, Labyrinth, Cultural Logic: A Journal of Marxist Theory & Practice, Media Theory, Philosophy East and West, and The Cincinnati Romance Review.


30-07-2021 — Updated on 06-12-2021

How to Cite

Erkan, E. (2021). Béatrice Longuenesse and Ned Block vide Kant: On a Novel Kantian Approach to the Philosophy of Mind. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 17(1), 405–452. Retrieved from https://cosmosandhistory.org/index.php/journal/article/view/922