Transparency and Apperception

Ryerson University, Toronto

May 11-12, 2018

Transparency is the idea that one can sometimes settle questions about one's own beliefs by simply considering questions about their content. Richard Moran says that in such cases, questions about one's belief are "transparent to" questions about their content. This idea serves three closely related roles. First, it highlights the phenomenological fact that we can know that we are in a mental state without being aware of anything other than its content. Second, it differentiates the first-person perspective on one's current mental states from a third-person perspective. Third, transparency marks the normative responsibility that a person has for certain of their own mental states. More research is needed to clarify these roles and to understand the connections between them.

The roots of the idea of transparency reach back to Kant's idea of apperception. It is the idea that, as he famously put it, "the 'I think' must be able to accompany all my representations" (Critique of Pure Reason, B131). On the face of it, this suggests that whenever one is in a position to know that one represents p, one is necessarily also in a position to know that one thinks that one represents p. This doctrine of apperception plays a central role in Kant's general theory of knowledge, yet both the content of this doctrine and its precise role in the theory remain issues of controversy among Kant commentators.

One aim of our workshop is to clarify these matters by exploring connections between apperception and transparency.

Friday, May 11th

9:30-11:00Houston Smit
Chair: Thomas Land
Kant on Unity of Apperception and the Spontaneity of Cognition
11:30-1:00Sarah Paul
Chair: Ulf Hlobil
Rationality and Self-Blindness
2:30-4:00Eric Marcus
Chair: Sergio Tenenbaum
Assertion and Transparent Self-Knowledge
4:30-6:00Yoon Choi
Chair: Mark McCullagh
Apperception and Spontaneity
6:00-7:00ReceptionOakham Lounge

Saturday, May 12th

9:30-11:00Jonathan Way
Chair: David Hunter
Might All Reasons be Reasons for Attitudes?
11:30-1:00Wolfgang Barz
Chair: David Barnett
The Puzzle of Transparency and How to Solve It
2:30-4:00Sasha Newton
Chair: Claudine Verheggen
Kant and the Transparency of Mind
4:30-6:00Thomas Khurana
Chair: Boris Hennig
Becoming One's Own Object: Kant and Fichte on the Objectivity of Self-Consciousness


Some papers should be read in advance. They will be available in a password protected section of this website. (Ask us if you need access.)


Oakham House, 63 Gould St. Toronto ON M5B 1E9