Kant’s “I think” and the agential approach to self-knowledge

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This paper relates Kant’s account of pure apperception to the agential approach to self-knowledge. It argues that his famous claim ‘The I think must be able to accompany all of my representations’ (B131) does not concern the possibility of self-ascribing beliefs. Kant does advance this claim in the service of identifying an a priori warrant we have as psychological persons, that is, subjects of acts of thinking that are imputable to us. But this warrant is not one to self-knowledge that we have as critical reasoners. It is, rather, an a priori warrant we have, as thinkers, to prescribe to given representations their conformity to principles of thinking inherent in our capacity of understanding itself.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)980-1011
Number of pages32
JournalCanadian Journal of Philosophy
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 3 2019


  • apperception
  • person
  • principles of thinking
  • self-consciousness
  • Self-knowledge
  • transcendental deduction of the categories
  • understanding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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