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Which clippings match 'Semantic Construct' keyword pg.1 of 1
03 MARCH 2013

The trouble with Kant's spatial metaphor

"In consequence of this revolutionary assertion Kant states that: 'Space is not an empirical concept which has been derived from outer experiences.' (B/38) On the contrary: '…it is the subjective condition of sensibility, under which alone outer intuition is possible for us.' (A/26; B/42)

In other words, Kant asserts that space (and time) are not objective, self–subsisting realities, but subjective requirements of our human sensory–cognitive faculties to which all things must conform. Space and time serve as indispensable tools that arrange and systemize the images of the objects imported by our sensory organs. The raw data supplied by our eyes and ears would be useless if our minds didn't have space and time to make sense of it all. ...

Kant's view of space (and time) is the groundwork of his Critique [of Pure Reason], However the inseparable bond he claimed between geometry and the nature of space serves to undermine his case rather than support it. ...

When Kant refers to geometry, he must mean Euclidean geometry, since Non–Euclidean geometry, the brainchild of the 19th Century, was unknown to him. Hence space, in Kant's philosophical system must conform to Euclidean geometry. Norman Kemp Smith, in his Commentary on the Critique, remarked that for Kant '…space in order to be space at all, must be Euclidean.'

Space, in Euclidean Geometry, is a concept which is independent of the attributes of our human minds and senses. The word Geometry is derived from Greek – geo 'earth', and metron 'to measure', namely 'earth measurement'. With such semantic–conceptual roots its hardly conceivable that Euclid regarded Geometry as divorced from an objective independent space."

(Pinhas Ben–Zvi, 2005, Philosophy Now)

Ben–Zvi, P. (2005). "Kant on Space." Philosophy Now, January/February 2005(49).


cartographic metaphor • Critique of Pure Reason • empirical concept • Euclidean geometryeyes and earsgeometryGottfried Leibniz • human minds • human perception • human senses • human sensory-cognitive faculties • Immanuel KantIsaac Newtonlogical-analytical paradigmmetaphors of reality • nature of space • Non-Euclidean geometry • Norman Kemp Smith • noumena • noumenon • objective independent space • objective knowledgeobjective realityobjective world • outer experiences • philosophical system • self-subsisting realities • semantic construct • sensory organs • space and timespatial metaphorsubjective conditiontime


Simon Perkins

The Metaphor of Time as Space

"Many students of language are astounded by the fact that there are languages which lack tense. This confusion results from the fact that they do not realize that time is a semantic construct and tense is a linguistic one. All languages have ways of speaking about time, a semantic construct. Not all languages have linguistic markers of time, tense. Languages that lack tense, use time words to signal events that take place in the past, present, or future. With the passage of time, these time words become attached to verbs and the resulting conflation is known as tense. English has only two tenses: the present and the past. The future occurs as a time construct, but not as a linguistic one. In order to talk about the future in English, one must use a construction that employs the model will."

(Robert N. St. Clair, University of Louisville)



cultural construct • futurelanguagelanguages • linguistic construct • linguistic marker • metaphororderingpassage of timepastpresentsemantic construct • signal events • social construction of knowledgespace • tense • timetime as space • time words • transition


Simon Perkins

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