Might I be Many? Kant on the Second Paralogism


In the ‘Second Paralogism' of the Critique of Pure Reason Kant critically scrutinizes the claims of rational psychology to be able to demonstrate that the soul, or ‘thinking I,’ is simple. Kant maintains that no such knowledge can be attained by human beings, but he also claims that the attempt to arrive at such knowledge is the result of ‘transcendental illusion’: an abiding and (for human beings) universal intellectual illusion that tempts us to see the Principle of Sufficient Reason as unrestrictedly valid. I discuss how transcendental illusion is supposed to tempt us to commit the fallacy that constitutes the second paralogism, and I endeavour also to explain in what exactly that fallacy consists.


There will be a reception after the talk in D700.



Professor Ian Proops (homepage) joined the Philosophy Department at University of Texas at Austin in 2009. He is affiliated with the Center for European Studies. He works on Kant's theoretical philosophy (especially, the first Critique) and on History of Analytic Philosophy (especially, Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein).