Transparency and Apperception

Ryerson University, Toronto

May 11-12, 2018

Transparency is the idea that one can sometimes settle questions about one's own beliefs by simply considering questions about their content. Richard Moran says that in such cases, questions about one's belief are "transparent to" questions about their content. This idea serves three closely related roles. First, it highlights the phenomenological fact that we can know that we are in a mental state without being aware of anything other than its content. Second, it differentiates the first-person perspective on one's current mental states from a third-person perspective. Third, transparency marks the normative responsibility that a person has for certain of their own mental states. More research is needed to clarify these roles and to understand the connections between them.

The roots of the idea of transparency reach back to Kant's idea of apperception. It is the idea that, as he famously put it, "the 'I think' must be able to accompany all my representations" (Critique of Pure Reason, B131). On the face of it, this suggests that whenever one is in a position to know that one represents p, one is necessarily also in a position to know that one thinks that one represents p. This doctrine of apperception plays a central role in Kant's general theory of knowledge, yet both the content of this doctrine and its precise role in the theory remain issues of controversy among Kant commentators.

One aim of our workshop is to clarify these matters by exploring connections between apperception and transparency.

Friday, May 11th

9:30-11:00Houston SmitKant on Unity of Apperception and the Spontaneity of Cognition
11:30-1:00Sarah PaulRationality and Self-Blindness
2:30-4:00Eric MarcusAssertion and Transparent Self-Knowledge
4:30-6:00Yoon ChoiTBA

Saturday, May 12th

9:30-11:00Jonathan WayMight All Reasons be Reasons for Attitudes?
11:30-1:00Wolfgang BarzThinking About p Without Reflecting on Evidence
2:30-4:00Sasha NewtonKant and the Transparency of Mind
4:30-6:00Thomas KhuranaBecoming One's Own Object: Kant and Fichte on the Objectivity of Self-Consciousness


Oakham House, 63 Gould St. Toronto ON M5B 1E9