Centre for Advanced Study

at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters

Houston Smit

Title Professor
Academic Institution University of Arizona
Academic department Department of Philosophy
Country United States of America
Contact Information

About fellow

Houston Smit is a philosopher at the University of Arizona.  He works primarily on early modern philosophy, especially Kant's theoretical philosophy, but is also interested in medieval philosophy.  During his stay at CAS he is working on a book manuscript with the working title Kant's Transcendental Theory of Cognition.  This book contends that the central positions and arguments of Kant's critical philosophy can be understood only if one recognizes the striking extent to which this philosophy is, in conception and execution, continuous with that of traditional transcendental philosophy.  Crudely put, Kant’s critical philosophy takes the role of making cognition possible that traditional transcendental philosophy assigned to the divine intellect, and reassigns it to the human intellect.  In doing so, it applies a rich Aristotelian conception of the real to things in themselves.  The cognition of the possibility of our cognition that this theory thereby advances is consistent with its famous restriction of our cognition to things as they appear.  For this cognition is not cognition of any thing.  It is cognition merely of how things in themselves would have to underlie the active and the passive operations of our capacity of cognition, if these operations are to give rise to experience.