Kant’s Moral Philosophy

Kant stated that it is true that all our knowledge is based on raw sensory data that we receive through senses. But intellect is needed to analyze and process that raw sensory data. The intuition relates to the object directly and is particular in nature while an empirical concept relates to several objects (or perceptions) indirectly and is general in nature. The ‘form’ is based on intellect (concept) which is independent of all experience and the ‘matter’ (intuition) is based on sensory impressions or experience we receive through our senses. Kant argued that the mind is not like ‘empty slate’ but it comes filled with certain ‘a priori’ concepts and categories. Mind analyses the raw sensory data according to those concepts and categories (pure concepts such as space, time, etc.).

The cognition is not possible with a single faculty. The cognition occurs only when there are both intuitions and conceptual thoughts and both are interdependent. A sensible intuition does not provide determinate knowledge of objects. Sensibility receives the impressions and understanding (concepts) analyses that information. Both are essential to gain knowledge of an object. Intuitions do not contain any meaning and cannot lead to an object unless these are processed by mental machinery of understanding. Kant argued that we cannot know anything until the raw sensory experience is brought under the ‘concept’ which is provided by reason alone. He maintained that to experience an object, the sensual perceptions or intuitions must be conceptualized or in other words, intuitions must be brought under concepts or categories. Concepts arise from the understanding and they perform the act of unification of different representations into a single representation. ‘A posteriori’ or empirical concepts are based on experience. Any empirical concept is a general representation and can be true to many perceptions. A number of empirical concepts (such as number, quality, etc) as well as specific concepts are required to recognize an object.