2024_17_3_9 - XLinguae

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Open access Issues > Issue n_3_2024 > Section_n_3_2024
Epistemological and socio-cultural modalities of self-consciousness in Kant

Andrey I. Shutenko – Elena N. Shutenko

DOI: 10.18355/XL.2024.17.03.09

The article deals with conceptual-methodological and cultural representations of the sphere of self-consciousness by Kant. The authors reconstruct the conceptual repertoire used by Kant to develop the problem of self-consciousness; in particular, they compile interpretations of the term ‘consciousness of self’ as the central category in the critical cycle of his philosophy. Reviewing Kant’s legacy as a whole, the authors consider the conjugate dimensions of self-consciousness – these being transcendental, ethical, and imperative dimensions. In the transcendental dimension, self-consciousness appears as a kind of initial logical principle from which all cognitive actions and logical constructs are built. Self-consciousness acts here as a ‘pure apperception’, connecting two opposite lines of knowledge: sensuality and reason. In addition, they are united through consciousness that feelings and thoughts belong to a single cognitive act of the subject, who considers this action as his activity. The ethical dimension arises in Kant when he unfolds the moral side of self-consciousness as a guide for practical reason. This dimension reveals the essence of the self-consciousness of man as a subject of the socio-cultural process. Full-fledged self-consciousness is triggered by moral insight; a person recognizes the self-worth of moral principles and is guided by a unique internal instance – autonomous good will. The imperative dimension of self-consciousness directly follows from the ethical one, and it is set by Kant to solve the practical issues of everyday human life. It is self-consciousness (and not daily experience) that serves as the source of morality, i.e., when a moral deed is dictated by an inner conviction arising from an unconditionally accepted imperative that is based on duty. At the same time, a person should always treat himself and others as an end. In revealing Kant's structure of self-consciousness, the authors mentioned that he was the first to apply the dilemma of the object and the subject and also expanded the interpretation of self-consciousness from simple self-reflection to spontaneous creative activity (as self-construction). The authors discuss the antinomian structure of self-consciousness and the collision of integrity in self-consciousness in Kant’s transcendental logic, which arise from the separation of the ideal and actual domains of self-consciousness. It is also noted that, in line with transcendental idealism, Kant thought of the true essence of man and his self-consciousness only within the framework of the speculative-noumenal dimension, downplaying the importance of sensual experience and everyday practical reality. In addition, Kant's universalism resulted in the fact that in his development of the problem of self-consciousness, the plan of the internal sensual life of a particular, single individual remained unrequested. Summing up, the authors note that by building a new rationalistic construct of philosophical reflection, Kant developed a multidimensional scientific foundation for the representation of the process of self-consciousness, proposing the concept of a transcendental subject in cognition (as pure reason) and in culture (as practical reason). It is concluded that there is a tendency in Kant’s teaching of overcoming, overstepping the boundaries of ‘Self’ as a methodological premise for resolving the issue of self-consciousness in its epistemological and social comprehension.

Key words: Kant, the consciousness of self, dimensions of self-consciousness, pure apperception, reason, transcendental subject, moral duty

Pages: 107-121

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