The Doctrine of Transcendental Schematism as Clarification of Kant’s I think

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The opening sentence of § 16 in the Transcendental Deduction of the Critique of Pure Reason states that «das Ich denke, muß alle meine Vorstellungen begleiten können» (KrV, B 131). It can be regarded as one of the most significant statements in the history of philosophy because it is concerned with the unity of consciousness, i.e. the semantic relationship between consciousness and subjectivity, and the possibility of experience. The I think consists in the subjective self-consciousness manifesting itself within the categorical synthesis. Thus, by analyzing the forms of this manifestation, we should understand how a representation can be recognized by the subject as its own, and be known by it. At the same time we need to distinguish those representations, which do not belong to the subject, because it cannot accompany them. Firstly, this paper analyses the Kantian concept of experience and its main components. Particular attention is paid to the role played by imagination within the process of knowledge, insofar as imagination is placed between understanding and sensibility. This lets us appreciate the relevance of time, as the form of the inner sense. Indeed, by means of time, the transcendental apperception expresses its synthetic function in the categorical synthesis of experience, in accordance with the rules of judgement. Finally we show the effectiveness of transcendental schematism, in order to grasp the relationship that connects I think, imagination and knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-444
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Transcendental philosophy, Schematism, Imagination, Consciousness, "I think"

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