Transcendental aesthetics as failed apodictic aesthetics: Kant, Deleuze and the being of the sensible


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In Difference and Repetition, Deleuze defines his transcendental empiricism as an “apodictic” aesthetics, by which he means a science not simply of the sensible, but of the being of the sensible. Yet, to the extent that the sensibility which is at stake in the Transcendental Aesthetics is a sensibility without sensation, Kantian aesthetics is not apodictic. Sensation is the only contact we have with the being of the sensible, namely that which is exterior with respect to the interior of representation. But transcendental idealism is a subjectivism. Indeed, if one connects what Heidegger considers to be the greatest achievement of Kant’s Copernican revolution (the possibility of feeling “something”) with the achievement that Kant held highest in this regard (the reduction of the outside to spatiality), then the two main precepts of Kant’s subjective phenomenalism fall into place. The first is that we cannot feel outside of us – this amounts to non-sensuous sensibility as transcendental idealism; the second is that we can feel inside – this amounts to non-sensuous sensibility as empirical realism. The aim of this article is to show how Kant's treatment of sensation (and of the degree of sensation according to the principle of the Anticipations of Perception) prevented him from refuting Berkeley’s idealism.