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Grant number like: FT-59618-12

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David Landy
San Francisco State University (San Francisco, CA 94132-1722)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2012 – 8/31/2012

Kant's Inferentialism: the Case Against Hume's Theory of Mental Representation

I am seeking support for research that will contribute to the book I am writing on the theories of mental representation of Hume and Kant. Hume and Kant are two of the most important figures in the history of philosophy. Unfortunately, they have also been two of the most difficult philosophers to understand. Scholars have debated about what Kant's arguments are against Hume, whether these arguments are successful, and whether Hume has a satisfactory response to them. Each philosopher has been interpreted in turn as a metaphysician, epistemologist, cognitive scientist, and philosopher of science. I will show that none of these interpretations has been successful because both Hume's and Kant's philosophical systems begin with a question that is prior to any of these pursuits. They each begin with the question of how it is that a mental representation comes to be about whatever it is about. How is it that we form thoughts that are representations of whatever they are representations of?