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A translation problem: The thing-at-itself in light of kant's pragmatism

Ruthrof, H. (2013) A translation problem: The thing-at-itself in light of kant's pragmatism. Analysis and Metaphysics, 12 . pp. 47-67.


Taking its starting point from remarks by Peirce and Rescher on Kant’s pragmatism, the paper attempts to answer two questions. (1) Whether the Ding an sich plays any role in Kant’s pragmatics; and (2) whether the English rendering of the thing-in-itself has perhaps encouraged P. F. Strawson and his successors to burden Kant’s “problematic” term with an emphasis on its alleged essential features. The paper retraces some well-trodden ground to emphasize Kant’s perspectival realism, which never doubts the objective reality of the phenomenal world, in order to ward off idealist as well as transcendental realist readings. The paper then proposes the ‘thing-at-itself’ as a less misleading, even if unidiomatic, rendering in English. A brief summary concludes the paper with Kant’s pragmatics as philosophical praxis in which the Ding as sich functions only negatively as cognitive limit but can play no role in the consideration of the consequences of our ideas, their possible utility, and their degree of attunement with sensus communis.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Health Professions
Publisher: Addleton Academic Publishers
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