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Reading: Saving the Substratum: Interpreting Kant’s First Analogy


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Saving the Substratum: Interpreting Kant’s First Analogy


Kevin Harriman

Lewis & Clark College, US
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Kant’s transcendental idealism requires that experience be both spatial and temporal. In the First Analogy of Experience, he argues that in order for experience in time to be possible, there must be something permanent in our experience. This something permanent is substance: a bearer of properties that persists and conserves its quantity throughout any empirical change. The trajectory of Kant’s argument in the First Analogy is not entirely clear and this has left room for multiple interpretations. In this paper, I introduce the First Analogy and three suggested interpretations of its argument. I defend the so-called substratum interpretation, associated with Henry Allison and Andrew Ward, from philosophical objections raised by Paul Guyer. In order to unify all of experience within a singular time-frame, we must presuppose a persistent substratum through which all experiences can be related to one another.

How to Cite: Harriman, K., 2014. Saving the Substratum: Interpreting Kant’s First Analogy. International Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities, 6(2), pp.20 (152–161). DOI:
Published on 04 Jun 2014.
Peer Reviewed


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