Document Type


Publication Date



In this paper I discuss the development of Kant’s Critical project in the pre-critical writings. I am particularly focusing upon the problems that Kant encounters in developing the idea of a transcendental subject. This helps us to understand the radical nature of Kant’s project in which he not merely turns around the relationship between subject and object, but also has to redefine the nature of the subject. The development of the subject starts with Kant’s idea of an observer who actively determines qualities in the object (instead of passively taking it in). Ultimately the spectator becomes a subject that is constituted a priori independent of experience. In order to get to this idea of a subject Kant needs to overcome the tradition that in many ways still determines his thinking.


Pre-print. Article originally published in Idealistic Studies, Volume 40, 1-2 (Spring/Summer 2010).

Included in

Philosophy Commons