The “I Think” as Subject and Substance (On the Kantian critique of Descartes' paralogism)

Balibar Étienne
Language of the article : French
DOI: 10.3406/intel.2012.1131
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In the center of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason we find a well-known discussion of the Cartesian cogito, which crucially affects the construction of the idea of a “transcendental subject” and the Copernican Revolution itself. While acknowledging that Descartes deserves recognition for identifying the “I think” as a pure condition of possibility of experience in general, he objects to Descartes’ mistaken transformation of what, in fact, is a mere function into a metaphysical substance. The commentary proposed here focusses on the relation between the “transcendental deduction” and the “paralogism of pure reason” in the two successive editions of the Critique, arguing that Kant (and the whole tradition of transcendental philosophy after him) misread Descartes’ text, but also used this misunderstanding to reveal one of the most provocative elements of his own doctrine, namely the idea that there is an element of misrecognition which is an intrinsic part of the “subjective” conditions of possibility of cognition itself.

Pour citer cet article :

Balibar Étienne (2012/1). The “I Think” as Subject and Substance (On the Kantian critique of Descartes' paralogism). In Gillot Pascale & Garreta Guillaume (Eds), The Mind and its Places, Intellectica, 57, (pp.21-34), DOI: 10.3406/intel.2012.1131.