Benkyo Eight Kantian Donuts


Spring 2002

Jackson, Jr.

Benkyo Eight: On Karatani and Murakami Part Three



Tim Powers writes:
I just finished reading two articles by Kojin Karatani
and now thinking 

about Murakami, one of [Karatani’s]
phrases has stuck.  In one part he says that 

intellectual intuition is in the gap between sensibility
and understanding. 

I think this point Murakami toys about with throughout
much of his work, and 

these stories are excellent concise examples of it. 
Although I may not be 

using these terms in the way [Karatani]
understands them, I think there common 

meaning is substantial. 
Which „meaning“ is common between Tim and Karatani in their respective
uses of the terms „sensibility“ and „understanding“?  First of all,
the first term has lost any stable meaning in English it might have had,
and therefore is only confusing if used non-technically. Secondly, it is
clear from Karatani’s texts, that Karatani is using these terms the way
that Kant did. So let’s set it up to be able to do just that. 

You will recall, in Study
Guides Three
and Four, I
provide some resources to contextualize Karatani’s essays in terms of Descartes
and Kant. One of the resources I list is a Kant
written by Professor Stephen
.  For the sake of simple demonstration, I used Professor
Palmquist’s very helpful Kant Glossary to lay out the minimum number of
terms whose technical meanings must be known and activated in order for
Karatani’s statements to be intelligible and for them to be springboards
for further inquiry along these. Thus, „sensibility“ and „understanding“
are terms that we cannot afford in this context to assume a „common meaning.“
In the table below I situate those terms in their relation to other significant
Kantian terms. I also give a link to an online Concordance for all three
of Kant’s critique. At this site you can chose among those three works,
enter any word, and have every occurrence of that word brought up – and
the you can have as much of the surrounding text retrieved for each result.
That means you can become Kant scholars at the touch of a fingertip. Ok
so this Benkyo exercise demonstrates terminological caution but also conceptual
adventure. And finally I suggest that we take Tim’s suggestion seriously.
But one of the options would be to take his suggestion but imput 
Kantian meanings for the terms. I’ve given the basics here for you to be
able to do it. Sounds like a great final paper if you ask me.



reason: the highest faculty
of the human
subject, to which all other faculties are subordinated.
It abstracts completely from the conditions of sensibility
sensibility: the faculty
concerned with passively receiving objects. This is accomplished
primarily in the form of physical and mental sensations (via ‚outer sense‘
and ‚inner sense‘, respectively). However, such sensations are possible
only if the objects are intuited, and intuition depends on space
and time
existing in their pure form as well. 
imagination: the faculty
responsible for forming concepts out of the ‚manifold of intuition
and for synthesizing intuitions with concepts to form objects which
are ready to be judged


understanding: the faculty
concerned with actively producing knowledge by means of concepts.
This is quite similar to what is normally called the mind. It gives rise
to the
logical perspective, which enables us to compare concepts
with each other, and to the empirical perspective (where it is also
judgment), which enables us to combine concepts with intuitions
in order to produce empirical knowledge. 
object: a general term for any
‚thing‘ which is conditioned by the subject’s representation, and
so is capable of being known. 


representation: the most general
word for an
object at any stage in its determination by the subject,
or for the subjective act of forming the object at that level. The
main types of representations are intuitions, concepts and
intuition: the passive species
of representation, by means of which our sensibility enables
to have sensations. By requiring appearances to be given in space
and time
, intuitions allow us to perceive particular relations between
representations, thereby limiting empirical knowledge to
the sensible realm. 
concept: the active species of
representation, by means of which our understanding enables
us to think. By requiring perceptions to conform to the categories,
concepts serve as ‚rules‘ allowing us to perceive general relations be?tween


ideas: the species of representation
which gives rise to metaphysical beliefs. Ideas are special concepts
which arise out of our knowledge of the empirical world,
yet seem to point beyond nature to some transcendent realm. The
three most important metaphysical ideas are God, freedom and immortality. 

Searchable Kant Texts – Concordances

and Transcendence in Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics
. Brian
Hansford Bowles

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