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Time's Dependence on Space: Kant's Statements and Their Misconstrual by Heidegger


KANT AND PHENOMENOLOGY, edited by Thomas M. Seebohm and Joseph J. Kockelmans, Copyright 1984, The Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology, Inc. and co-published by arrangement with the University Press of America. Inc.

I am indebted to David Brent for an unpublished manuscript, "Heidegger on Kant," dealing with Heidegger's reduction of intuition and thought to a single root, and to Robert Scharff for a long helpful discussion of my first draft.

Heidegger's PHENOMENOLOGICAL INTERPRETATION OF KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON[1] reveals an unavowed difference with Kant concerning time, which has major implications. It also turns out that in a very important way Heidegger preferred the Second Edition of the CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON,[2] even in 1928, contrary to what has always been thought. These lectures are a beautiful running commentary on the Aesthetic and the Analytic. It is a great privilege for us to sit, so to speak, in Heidegger's Kant class. Heidegger's step-by-step commentary is lovely, yet there are more distinctions in Kant--differences that matter a great deal to Kant--that are lost in Heidegger's treatment. Only if we first grasp certain specifics that are very important in Kant's basic view can we pinpoint the differences between the two views.

Therefore I will first discuss Kant alone.


For some years now I have been tracing the reasons for a brutal change Kant made in the Second Edition. Where he had five arguments for space, and five for time, neatly parallel each to each, in the Second Edition he removes one of the arguments for space. lie sets that argument up in a separate, longer new section just after the numbered arguments. But for time he leaves all five as they were. The result could not be more lacking in elegance, and it is quite clear that something important is being achieved at this cost.

Later, in parallel with the new section on space Kant writes a new section on time as well, just as if he had taken out the time argument. In this new section Kant says that this argument which he left in its original place "properly belongs" in this new section, but he left it there (these are his words) "for the sake of brevity [um kurz zu sein]."

The new sections are called "Transcendental Exposition of the, Concept of Space" and "Time," respectively. He has also given the old sections, now the four arguments for space and the five for time, a new title: they are "Metaphysical Expositions." What he means in the new sections by "Transcendental Exposition" is showing how space and time give rise to other synthetic a priori knowledge. For space this is geometry, he says, an a priori science of the properties of space. For time he first gives this puzzling reference to having left the argument under "Metaphysical" for the sake of brevity, and then adds in the same short paragraph that alteration is only possible in time, and thus the a priori doctrine of motion is the a priori knowledge which fits here.

Why it was briefer to leave the argument there does not appear at all.

The argument which was left there says that time has only one dimension, and that different times are not simultaneous but successive, as examples of apodictic principles concerning time relations or axioms of time. These cannot come from experience, since they are necessary.

Evidently Kant, in the Second Edition, did not consider that these axioms quite make up "other a priori synthetic knowledge" which could be cited under "transcendental." And yet he says in that later section that this argument is "properly transcendental." So they must be something in between.

Whatever the explanation is, the matter was of sufficient importance to Kant to disfigure his usual neat array, as well as to be deliberately puzzling. For the sake of brevity, he says, he is placing an argument in a different place than where it "properly belongs."

I looked this up some years ago in Norman Kemp Smith's Commentary--if you will forgive me this provincialism. Kemp Smith says that "Kant left the argument where it was for the sake of brevity." I no longer own that commentary.

My excitement was great when I discovered that Gesamtausgabe Band 25 is a commentary that follows the CRITIQUE's outline. Of course Heidegger deals with what I have said so far. He attributes it to the fact that motion, for Kant, involves concepts, i.e., belongs in the Analytic. But Heidegger comes to conclusions about Kant which we can understand and evaluate only if we trace our way through the CRITIQUE along the theme with which Kant is so very concerned here.

Kant's view is that time does not have its own science as space does. Heidegger does not say this, but while time is indeed presupposed in the science of motion, motion is alteration in space. The science of motion is not a science of time alone.

Now, as I thought about this, if geometry is the a priori science of space, I would have expected the a priori science of time to be arithmetic. But obviously, here, for Kant it is not. Is not geometry both quantitative and spatial, whereas numbers are ordered in a time-series only? Tracing through the CRITIQUE where you would expect to find arithmetic mentioned gives odd and interesting results. Kant does not mention arithmetic--it is usually algebra he cites. Under Axioms of Intuition, where the mathematics of extension is called "geometry," he also discusses "numerical relations" and manages never to say the word arithmetic. He says here that there are no axioms of numerical relations. An axiom, for him, is one general rule covering may different constructions. But 7 + 5 = 12 is "only [a] numerical formula," although synthetic and a priori. Each number is single and made always the same way, differently from every other. Therefore there are no axioms, only an infinite number of different single formulae. On the other hand, rules like "if equals are added to equals, the wholes are equal" are analytic, merely conceptual! No new whole is actually made, the same thing is said twice.

In the Introduction--significantly in a section added in the Second Edition--Kant shows why "7 + 5 = 12" is synthetic. He says:

We have to go outside these concepts (7 and 5) and call in the aid of intuition which corresponds to one of them, our five fingers for instance, or ... five points...(B 15)

There are no time relations without spatial points.

And, near the end of the Analytic, again in a section added in the Second Edition, he says:

...the possibility of things as quantities ... can be exhibited only in outer intuition, and ... only through the mediation of outer intuition can it be applied also to inner sense. But, to avoid prolixity (um Weitläufigkeit zu vermeiden) I must leave the reader to supply his own examples of this. (B 293)

Now we are near the end of the Analytic on page 293. Why is Kant always so concerned with brevity when this topic comes up?

Before supplying our own examples, recall: he has already mentioned fingers and dots. A little past the last quote, he says:

the concept of magnitude seeks its support and sensible meaning in number, and this in turn in the fingers, in the beads of the abacus, or in strokes and points which can be placed before the eyes. (A 240, B 299)

The number series for Kant is impossible without outer intuition, dots, slots, beads, points, marks. If you want to check your memory that 5 + 7 is indeed 12, how would you?

||||| + ||||||| = ||||||||||||

That is our example he asked us to supply--however you did it, it involved some spaced out slots.

In his Preface to the Second Edition Kant says that all the parts of the CRITIQUE hold organically together and that he has not changed any of it. Only in the manner of his exposition has he tried to deal with certain misunderstandings. What we are tracing is not at all a change in his system, but an effort to avoid a misunderstanding. And in a footnote to this spot he lists the Refutation of Psychological Idealism as "the only addition" he has made. Even this, he says here, was only a new method of proof.

Here we are looking at the footnote to the Preface to the Second Edition. Kant has added the Refutation of Idealism to the body of the CRITIQUE and has made the changes in the spots we cited (and in others) on this specific theme. lie has also made the change in the numbered arguments on space. Now he has written the new Preface and with all that done, here he is, adding a footnote to - the Preface of the new edition--arid he is still worrying over the same issue! He says:

The empirical consciousness of my existence... is determinable only through relation to something which, while bound up with my existence, is outside me ... For outer sense is already In itself a relation of intuition to something actual outside me, and the reality of outer sense, in its distinctness from imagination, rests simply on... its being inseparably bound up with inner experience as the condition of its possibility...The determination, however, and therefore the inner experience, depends upon something permanent which is not in me, and consequently can be only something outside me, to which I must regard myself as standing in relation. The reality of outer sense is thus necessarily bound up with inner sense, that is I am just as certainly conscious that there are things outside me...as...that I myself exist as determined in time... (B XII; my italics)


Please note, in the above, that Kant has said that outer sense is a relation to something actual outside me, something that is not me. He has thought about what "outer" can mean, and finds its basic meaning as outside me, i.e., not me. And Kant says that any determination of time involves something outer.

So we see Kant drastically emphasizing the dependence of time-determination on spatial and outer intuition. There is no determined inner sense without outer. "Determined" means "of something."

In time alone nothing can be constructed. Let us understand this.

We can bring it home to ourselves if we grasp that there is always only one intuitional given, not two. Space and time are not two realms of different givens. They are two manifolds, which means two multiplicities, two ways of variation. You can get one multiplicity in space by looking around you. You can get another multiplicity by holding to one spot in space, and getting successive givens there, in different times. But anything given is always both in space and in time. Otherwise there would always he two intuitional givens.

Therefore time does riot have its own realm, as space does. There is only one realm, the outer one. Without it inner time is pure flow, not successive takes of any this.

For Kant an imaginary line is also outer intuition, even though the event occurs entirely in inner sense. An event that occurs only in inner sense is purely imaginary. We know, and Heidegger emphasized, that Kant gave time priority over space in this regard. All appearances occur in time--some of them are only imaginary, only inner. But we see that Kant emphasizes that these too require something outer.

  space, outer, existing space, outer, existing
time in inner and outer sense dreams
imaginary line
only in inner sense

We are inclined to want to call it "quasi-outer," or at least to put the word "outer" in quotation marks in the case of the right-hand section, which occurs only in inner sense. But he insists that even when we do what is called "imagining only," there has to be something outer intuitionally present, and existing. Therefore this outer and existing is not in quotes on the right side of our diagram. It is not "quasi."

For Kant the phrase "only in inner sense" could be meant in two different ways: If it means without outer determination, then nothing determinate can be there, it is not inner experience. It would be mere flow, chaos (B 291). But we can also mean that the outer is there, but merely imagined. Then, of course, there is outer determination, and in that case Kant insists that something existing affects me. But what is this outer existing in that instance?

In the Second Edition's Deduction, paragraph 24, he says:

Inner sense contains the mere form of intuition, but without combination of the manifold in it, and therefore so far contains no determinate intuition, which is possible only through ... the transcendental act of the imagination (synthetic influence of the understanding upon inner sense) which I have entitled the figurative synthesis. (B 154)

Please note that by "figurative" Kant means spatial, outer. He says:

Even time itself we cannot represent, save in so far as we attend in the drawing of a straight line (which has to serve as the outer figurative representation of time) merely to the act of synthesis whereby we successively determine inner sense. (B 154)

Thus the understanding, under the title of a transcendental synthesis of the imagination, performs this act upon the passive subject whose faculty it is, arid we are therefore justified in saying that inner sense is affected thereby.

Kant carefully distinguishes between our activity and our being passive, even in the same event.

Imagination, he says, is that hyphenated event, the understanding-determining-intuition. And in regard to intuition we are always passive.

The figurative synthesis involves something outer and active.

Without the figurative synthesis there is no determinate something there, in inner sense.

In relation to it, I must be passively determined.

As he said earlier, I can know this affecting only through being affected; therefore I know myself as an empirical existence only just as certainly, riot more certainly, than any other empirical existence.

Heidegger calls it "self-affecting," but not Kant. Kant does not use that term. For Kant it cannot be a singleness affecting itself. Something outer is always given through my being passively affected, even if this outer, as an event, occurs in inner sense only. Even then inner sense can be experience, that is to say determined, only via outer and via being passive.

Now why is this so important?

We can Imagine Kant with the 856 pages of the First Edition before him on the table. He must have tiredly thought: "I cannot revise it all. I have to limit myself to clarifying the main misunderstanding." And we see him, in almost every clarification he inserts, concerned with this theme. The importance of this seemingly very technical demotion of time lies in the misunderstanding Kant struggled to correct.

In many places other than those cited, Kant adds something in the Second Edition that relates to our theme there.

Why this emphasis on the outer as capable of giving rise to a priori knowledge, while time does so only via the outer? Why this fear that time will be considered as though it could be determined alone?

Let us now go to that Refutation of Idealism, which the Preface said was his "only addition, strictly so-called" (rather than mere revision). There he is again, emphasizing:

...outer experience is really immediate, and ... only by means of it is inner experience--not indeed the consciousness of my own existence, but the determination of it in time--possible. (B 276-7)

But here the vital import of this point becomes quite clear. He says:

Idealism assumed that the only immediate experience is inner experience, and that from it we can only infer outer things...(B 276) Certainly the representation 'I am' ...immediately includes in itself the existence of the subject; but it does not so include any knowledge of that subject, and therefore also no ... experience of it. For this we require in addition to the thought of something existing also intuition, and in this case inner intuition, in respect of which, that is, of time, the subject must be determined. But in order to so determine it, outer objects are quite indispensable ... (B 277)

Finally, in a footnote to this Refutation he discusses "the question ... whether we have an inner sense only, but no outer sense, only an outer imagination ... For, should we merely be imagining an outer sense, the faculty of intuition, which is to be determined by the faculty of imagination, would itself be annulled." (B 276-7)

Of course, he says, "whether this or that supposed experience be imaginary must be ascertained from its special determinations." (B 279)

In either case Kant requires not only imagination to figuratively structure an outer, or quasi-outer, but always also a being affected passively by something we can know only in its results. Even if the imagination is what affects us, it does so as something existing apart from the "I" that can know.

In so far as imagination is also what affects us we are passive and cannot see its active working, any more than we can see any other thing doing the affecting. We have the result of being affected only. That is why Kant so often stresses that we cannot see the imagination at work. It is

a blind...function of the soul...of which we are scarcely ever conscious. (A 78, B 103)


This schematism...is an art concealed in the depths of the human soul whose real modes of activity nature is hardly likely ever to allow us to discover, and to have open to our gaze. (A 141, B 180)

When something outside is imaginary, the duality is maintained; we cannot see that which affects us, even though it is our own psyche as an empirically existing thing. Kant says we will fall into idealism if we do not maintain within the subject also that distinction between being affected by an existing thing, and the determining of that being affected which we then see. There is always something existing when we see something spatial (even if it be the psyche) that immediately affects us. Intuition is immediate; being affected means nothing between. We know our psyche only through the determinate outer picturing which affects us. Only on those conditions cat, there be an inner sense of something, in time.

We are embedded, inwardly as well as outwardly, in something existing that we can only know through being affected. That division is also within the subject itself, not only between it and the world.

Idealism would result if it were not so, because we could then have determinate inner experience without outer. There would then be no need to have any existing thing, not even we ourselves as existing, affecting our intuition. Imagination would be enough, rather than being only the determining of what is basically an outer receptivity called intuition.

But why is the outer the immediate one? Kant says we are

unable to perceive any determination of time save through change in outer relations. (B 277/8)

What is spatially there is immediate, and only through its change, mediately, do we perceive time-relations.

The extreme nonsubstantiality of time is brought home--it simply is not anything but an aspect of changing outer givens. Time must not be thought of as a kind of plane that exists, upon which determinations are made. Anything we can look at bears no time aspects on its face. Time relations are only between it and some other given which again has no time aspects of its own.

Furthermore, we need a fixed spot, so that there can be change at that spot. Time is then the differences of this same. Inner sense is not by itself a location in which change can be.

Time is therefore an ordering grid that is perfectly ideal, pure form. It is not in itself anything at all. I generate it in the act of apprehending something external, something not me, and only then. Without something external we do not apprehend anything. As we saw in an earlier quotation, number requires something external to be apprehended. Without that it is only a concept of the understanding, as Kant says:

Number is therefore simply the unity of the synthesis of the manifold of a homogeneous intuition in general, a unity due to my generating time itself in the apprehension of the intuition. (A 142, B 182)

We generate time in apprehending, and must have something outward if there is to be apprehension. That is why arithmetic is not a science of time alone. It goes to the very nature of time.


Heidegger, in 1927-28, lauds the Second Edition:

Only in the Second Edition did Kant explicitly come upon this basic structure of time as pure self-affecting, and he made use of it in the central pieces of his CRITIQUE ...With it, Kant won the most radical understanding of time reached before or after him. To be sure, with Kant it is only first glimpses... (151; my italics)

Since Heidegger says that Kant used this insight "in the central pieces of his CRITIQUE" that certainly includes the Second Deduction, which most people think he rejects. Just there is where the self-affecting seems to be explicitly stated.

In 1962 the later Heidegger moved toward a space-time unity, and Sherover[3] has already remarked that Heidegger was moved by this closer to the Second Edition. But we did not know until the publication of these lectures that Heidegger viewed the Second Edition as especially and explicitly moving more toward Heidegger's own analysis of time.

In the first Kant book, [4] Heidegger blames the Second Edition because in it Kant makes the imagination a function of the understanding, and he also condemns that in these lectures. But he did not tell us in the first Kant book, that in other respects he found support, especially in the Second Edition, for his view on time.

However, there is a large difference between what Kant says arid how Heidegger takes him.

There are two differences, and Heidegger seems aware only of one. Heidegger wants one stem-function, imagination, not two or three as Kant has. That issue alone seems not really very important, since Kant means his various faculties as functionings anyway--and as functioning with each other.

Taken superficially, therefore, the difference could seem minor. The first Kant book leaves the impression that there is no basic reason Kant could not emphasize the unity of the functioning, rather than the difference in the elements he separates. And Heidegger speaks that way also in these lectures. Heidegger attributes the difference to "the traditional teaching of faculties of the soul ... their division ... into intuition and thought which begins ... with...aesthesis and noesis" (280). This is to say that there is no internal reason why Kant maintains the distinction.

For Kant the imaged outer is always the being passively affected by something existing, even when it is an unknowable aspect of us. Otherwise what intuition is will be abolished. Intuition is the passive element, it is fundamentally geared to something other than we actively make, something outside, i.e. spatial. Only this is "a faculty as intuition." Otherwise it will he imagination, Kant said--and that is just what Heidegger calls it.

For Heidegger we are "self-affecting." He downplays Kant's distinctions both between intuition and imagination, and between inner sense and time. Heidegger, at the end of the commentary section on the Analytic summarizes as though summarizing Kant:

A pure intuition was sought for,... one that determines... what it intuits. And we found this universal pure intuition to he time.(162)

Heidegger has chosen to emphasize time as the form of all determined experience, including imaginary ones that occur only in inner sense, but he ignores Kant's insistence that these must also be outer both as figurative and as affectedness from something existing.

Of the line gotten by self-affecting, Heidegger says:

The self is here purely affected by time ... Time is therefore original pure self-affecting. (151)

Of this view Heidegger says that Kant came upon the basic structure of time only in the Second Edition (151) and calls it the "groundpiece of the Kantian view of time" and "the key to the core problem of the CRITIQUE" (152). To interpret Kant this way is to read him just as he feared to be read. To avoid this he made most of the few changes he did make in the Second Edition.

For Kant, if determined inner experience can ever walk away from outer, if we can interpret the imaginary line as inner only and immediate, then the basic meaning of intuition is eliminated. If self-affecting is made to mean the opposite of what Kant meant, if it means an independence of inner over outer, then indeed there is basically no intuition.

Heidegger quotes Kant (again it is a passage added in the Second Edition) and stops the quote too soon. Kant says:

...the form of intuition ... can be nothing but the mode in which the mind is affected through its own activity (namely through the positing of its representation), and so is affected by itself, in other words inner sense in respect of the form.

Heidegger concludes:

Here it is said clearly: Time as pure intuition is pure ...transcendental self-affection. (392-3)

But Kant had continued:

The subject ... can be represented through it only as appearance, not as that subject would judge of itself if its intuition were self-activity only... in humans this consciousness demands inner perception of the manifold which is antecedentally given ... and ... must, as nonspontaneous, be entitled sensibility ... it intuits itself not as it would represent itself if immediately selfactive, but as it is affected by itself, and therefore as it appears to itself, not as it is.... (B 68-69)

Heidegger speaks as if Kant had said that there can be determined experience that is in time only. "Only external appearances are spatial (147) ... [whereas] all determinations of the Gemümt fall into time" [148]. But for Kant there cannot be determined appearances in time only. As we saw, Kant is at great pains to show us why there can be no experience in time alone.

Heidegger corrects his view of time in 1962, in TIME AND BEING.[5] tie speaks of space-time. He says that the derivation of space from time in Section 70 of BEING AND TIME is incorrect. While he does not go into it, this must have had major consequences within his work, and for much that is said about time.

For Kant, time, the successive form, cannot be determinate at all except as an aspect of how we apprehend something that affects us from a source which is utterly unknowable in its activity.

In the first Kant book, as here, Heidegger discusses Kant's view of our finitude, with which he says he agrees. We have no intuitus originarus, no faculty that gives itself existing things. . But Kant insures this finitude by the utter division between intuition as affectedness, and understanding as determinative only of such affectedness. In that book Heidegger does not explain how he reconciles this finitude with his own assertion that there is one self-giving root. These Marburg lectures make it clear: Heidegger does not accept finitude in Kant's sense. This root,

the original capacity...does not apply to...what exists, which would be ontically creative. The exhibitio originaria of the imagination is only ontologically creative, in that it freely pictures the universal time horizon... (417)

Up to this point I have followed the texts painstakingly. Please notice how close I have stayed to the quotations. Let me now go a little afield.

Kant said idealism will result if this inherent otherness of the subject's affecting is destroyed. Inner experience will be determinable without outer.

The idealism Kant feared does not result in Heidegger, because like Kant Heidegger views all this as constituting the possibility, into which then something other comes, with which an existing object is made. Heidegger has not omitted Kant's utterly other with which we are affected and together determine something. Heidegger has omitted the utterly other only within the subject, within our own being.

With Kant we know ourselves, albeit only as our being affected by an otherwise unknowable aspect of ourselves. What becomes of this internal empirical otherness in our own being?

When later German idealism lopped off the noumenal aspect, it lost not only the otherness of things but also our own nature. Heidegger, of course, restores the otherness of the things we live among. But the aspect of our own being which actively affects us was forgotten.

Heidegger's horizoner of BEING AND TIME is a nothingness, which exists only in the constituting of other beings. When the later Heidegger expands this view, the context, Being, Ereignis, become far richer, but our own being that affects us remains forgotten.

Heidegger's humans are not themselves part of the nature they confront and live with. They stand' over against everything else as a nothingness, an originative projecting. Nature is only in front of us, nothing is behind us, in us.

Technology is, for Heidegger, the problem of our age. It is seen as a problem of regaining our belongingness, our in-dwelling in nature. He searches for and calls for a rediscovery of our original embeddedness. The problem has not been overcome in his later work, nor has it been rightly seen.

Time and temporalizing cannot be free-standing, nor basic to experiencing, rather only lifted out from it.[6]

[1] Heidegger, M., PHANOMENOLOGISCHE INTERPRETATION VON KANTS KRITIK DER REINEN VERNUNFT, Gesamtausgabe Band 25, Klostermann, Frankfurt, 1917. All Heidegger quotations are from this text.

[2] Kant, I., KRITIK DER REINEN VERNUNFT, Raymund Schmit, ed., Meiner, Leipzig, 1944. Translation: Norman Kemp Smith, St. Martin, New York, 1965.

[3] Sherover, C. M., HEIDEGGER, KANT AND TIME. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1971, p. 280.

[4] Heidegger, KANT AND THE PROBLEM OF METAPHYSICS. Churchill, J. S., translator, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1962, p. 144 and p. 226.

[5] Heidegger, M. "Zeit and Sein," in ZUR SACHE DES DENKENS. Niemeyer, Tübingen, 1969, p.24.

[6] See Gendlin, E. T., "Analysis," in Heidegger, M., WHAT IS A THING? Regnery, Chicago, 1967, "Experiential Phenomenology," in Natanson, M., PHENOMENOLOGY AND THE SOCIAL SCIENCES, Northwestern University Press, Evanston, 1973, and "Befindlichkeit," in REVIEW Of EXISTENTIAL PSYCHOLOGY AND PSYCHIATRY, Vol. XVI, Nos. 1, 2, & 3, 1978-79.)

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