Immanuel Kant, like any good philosopher, was unsatisfied with the standard nomenclature of the day and enjoyed creating new phrases which made reading his works much more difficult than they needed to be. Transcendental Unity of Apperception happens to be a favorite of mine. So as not to keep you in suspense, it boils down to "soul" or "spirit;" you may even get away with "essence." However, he created this fumbly phrase for a reason, and being who he was, he had a good one.

The TUA can be likened to a few things. In German it's more accurately referred to as the "das ich," or "the I." When I say "The I," I (*snicker*) mean the self. Once again describing it as Kant would have, the "das ich," or soul or apperception or what have you, consisted of three parts, often referred to as the tripartite conception of the soul. The first being sensibility, that is the power or faculty of the self by which is exhibits various forms of concrete/sensuous mental life (e.g. the "intuitions" of waking visions and voluntary visual imagery). The second being understanding, that is the power or faculty of the self by which it exhibits the purely conceptual contents of consciousness, i.e. ideas or thoughts, insofar as this conceptual content has applicability to the sphere of sensory appearances. The third being reason, that is the power of the self by which it exhibits purely conceptual concepts which have applicability BEYOND the sphere of sensory appearances, i.e. ideas (not Ideas), of which Kant most frequently used the examples God, Freedom, and Immortality.

If you're looking for a better way to keep track of the philosophical rambling you've just endured, try this: Sensibility dealt with a priori forms, such as space, time, etc. Understanding dealt with a priori concepts or categories, such as quality, quantity, relations, etc. Reason dealt with purely abstract ideas, with examples mentioned above. This is a bit of a simplification, but it should make you look good at Starbucks (although hopefully you'll endeavor to read further on the subject before spouting your mouth off).

All this jibber jabber allowed Kant to use the idea of "soul" or "self," but to also set his own definitions of the term, so his readers would be very clear as to what he was talking about. Philosophers enjoy that as well; if you generally like an idea, but one facet doesn't quite jive with the rest of your belief system, make up a new word for the altered idea. It makes you look smart.

Transcendental Unity of Apperception makes sense once you've familiarized yourself with the above, and one little extra tidbit. Kant liked to use "transcendental" to mean a priori and pure, again, referring back to the abstract ideas I mentioned earlier. Apperception is simple: the prefix -ap means "to," ergo "apperception" is "to perceive." Kant usually used this, however (there's always a catch somewhere), to mean self-awareness, that is, the perception of the ability to perceive. It's dangerous to simplify things too much (I've perhaps already crossed that line), but no one here will be making any life-changing decisions on this writeup (hopefully), and those of us who study this sort of thing all the time know the nitty gritty.

Philosophy for the masses.


I can poke fun at Kant and his mannerisms because I have to wade through his bullshit almost everyday. Important philosopher, and I respect his work, but he's terribly boring.

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