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Co-seeing and seeing through : reimagining Kant’s subtraction argument with Stumpf and Husserl.

Mac Cumhaill, Clare (2020) 'Co-seeing and seeing through : reimagining Kant’s subtraction argument with Stumpf and Husserl.', British journal for the history of philosophy., 28 (6). 1217-1239 .

Abstract

I draw on Carl Stumpf’s essay “Psychologie und Erkenntnistheorie” (1891), and his precocious On the Psychological Origin of the Idea of Space (1873), to set out a charge he raises against Kant’s form/matter distinction. The charge rests, I propose, on the supposition that colourless extension, or empty space, cannot be seen. I consider an objection that Stumpf raises against Kant’s notorious ‘subtraction’ argument. Kant supposes that we can ‘take away’ from the representation of a body all that the understanding thinks in relation to it and extension would yet remain (Remainder), separate from all sensation (Separateness). Stumpf denies both claims but I suggest he needn’t. I outline a way of defending Remainder without Separateness, extrapolating from some neglected descriptive phenomenology in Husserl’s 1907 “Thing and Space” lectures: we see empty regions insofar as we see things through them. Finally, by appeal to so-called ‘structural’ features of visual experience, I detail a distinctive approach to making the subtraction argument intelligible.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
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Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
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(1775Kb)
Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1080/09608788.2019.1695579
Publisher statement:© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Date accepted:16 November 2019
Date deposited:25 March 2020
Date of first online publication:10 March 2020
Date first made open access:25 March 2020

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