4. Some Unsettling Kantian News as Delivered by Boltzmann (An Excursion Into Time)


Space only offers us relations without relata, and a confused phenomenal mélange in which we can only problematically disentangle the substantial agencies operative in the latter. And time only offers us sequences infected with vanishingness, which cannot best suggest the presence of permanent underlying agencies.1

Freezing the Flux

In this digressive section, we will examine a case study that underlines the significance of the question of transcendental structure in exploring the meaning of agency and general intelligence as outlined in the second chapter. Our excursion into the problem of transcendental structures or types will take us down the road of that most enigmatic aspect of the world and our experience of it: time.

Let us begin our investigation into the question of time not only from the perspective of the automaton’s ur-temporal awareness1 but from the standpoint of the more advanced sense of time specific to a language-user in possession of tensed sentences and modal vocabularies, the ordinary time-conscious subject. From what we saw above, the automaton’s ur-awareness of the past, present, and future appears to be a contingent construct of its structural-behavioural organization: its mode of responsiveness to the impingement of items in the world on its senses, its constructive-anticipatory model of memory, and the structuring of its meta-awarenesses on such a model. And finally, on higher levels belonging to the apperceptive subject of experience, ordinary time-consciousness is the fruit of that troubling marriage, the messy entanglement between the objective sense of time and the categories of causality (alteration) and community (simultaneity) that is already present in Kant and in which the temporal and the causal serve reciprocally in each other’s definition, without either being satisfactorily defined as such…

  1. J.N. Findlay, Kant and the Transcendental Object: A Hermeneutic Study (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981), 131.