King PHL 100 • 2013-2014
A BRIEF KANT-LEXICON
Intution: Kant calls intuition “knowledge that is in immediate relation to its object.” By ‘im-
mediate’ Kant means that the object, e.g. something with which we become acquainted in sense-
perception, is given to the mind without the mind imposing any concept on it or judging it in any
way. An example: ‘white-cube-here-now’—contrasted with the judgment “Here, now, there is a
white cube.” The latter judgment involves distinguishing a subject and a predicate, and performing
a judgment (or predication) upon the subject; such judgments Kant calls the synthesis of intuition,
and involve not just the ability to receive intuitions (which Kant calls the faculty of sensibility) but
what he calls the faculty of understanding as well.
Forms of Intution: The general principles that determine how the material that is given to
the mind by intuition will be given, what form it will take, in what general way it will be given.
According to Kant there are two forms of intuition: space and time, that is, any intuition (any
perception) will always be an intuition of something given in time, and, if it is an intuition of an
outer ‘external’ object, both in time and in space as well.
Sensibility: The faculty of intuition (see above entries), i.e. the receptive or passive faculty of
receiving intuition; contrast this with understanding, which is not passive but active—in Kant’s
Understanding: The active faculty of conceptual judgment. Understanding (to be vivid) takes
the intuitions of sensibility and synthesizes them, that is, classiﬁes (or ‘subsumes’) them under
general concepts. For example, sensibility feeds in an unsynthesized intuition like ‘white-cube-
here-now,’ and the understanding converts this into a correct sentence or a ‘synthetic judgment’:
“Here, now, there is a white cube.” Beware: sometimes Kant also says that sensibility supplies the
intuitions, understanding supplies the concepts, and imagination performs the synthesis.
Categories of the U