Philosophisches Seminar



Vortrag: " Against the interpretation of Kant's notion of existence as a second order concept"

Einladung zum Vortrag von Tiago de Castro Alves (Universität Tübingen)

Termin: Dienstag 16. Dezember, 18 Uhr c.t.

Ort: Forum Scientiarum, Doblerstr. 33, Seminarraum 2.3

The main aim of this talk is to make an attempt at avoiding what I consider a
misunderstanding regarding Kant's notion of existence, namely, that this
author somehow anticipates Frege's conception of existence as a second order
concept. This shall be done by shedding some light on some of his most
significant statements concerning the subject. The main bibliographical
background of this effort is the pre-critical opuscule "Der einzig mögliche
Beweisgrund zu einer Demonstration des Daseins Gottes", but some passages of
the KrV were also considered. I shall argue that Kant gives two different
explanations on existence, which I shall call on the one side a) epistemic,
and on the other side b) semantic/metaphysical. In a), Kant characterizes
existence as a predicate which applies to thoughts we have of the things to
which we ascribe existence in common language; and in b), as the "absolute
position" of a thing. It will be argued that these two explanations do not
imply that Kant had two different notions of existence; they merely describe
two different aspects of one same and univocal conception of existence. I
shall also point out that the proper understanding of the first aspect is
dependent on the second, and that there's no textual support to hold any of
them as yielding a conception of existence as a second order concept.