Quantifying Inner Experience?—Kant's Mathematical Principles in the Context of Empirical Psychology



This paper shows why Kant's critique of empirical psychology should not be read as a scathing criticism of quantitative scientific psychology, but has valuable lessons to teach in support of it. By analysing Kant's alleged objections in the light of his critical theory of cognition, it provides a fresh look at the problem of quantifying first-person experiences, such as emotions and sense-perceptions. An in-depth discussion of applying the mathematical principles, which are defined in the Critique of Pure Reason as the constitutive conditions for mathematical-numerical experience in general, to inner sense will demonstrate why it is in principle possible to justify a quantitative structure of psychological judgments on the grounds of Kant's critical thinking. In conclusion, it will propose how Kant's critique could be used in a constructive way to develop first steps towards a transcendental foundation of psychological knowledge.