Kant on the Experience of Time and Pure Imagination

Yaron Senderowicz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Kant officially argues that the role of the representation of time in the synthetic a priori judgments of arithmetic and the general theory of motion implies that time must be an a priori condition of intuition. In this paper, I claim that the ideality of the representation of time is independently supported also by Kant’s explanation of the possibility of temporal experience. I show that two suppositions motivate Kant’s claim that time cannot be a determination of outer appearances and that it must rather belong to inners sense. According to Kant, sensations are momentary states, and parts of time exist in succession. I demonstrate that similar suppositions underlie Locke’s account of the empirical acquisition of the ideas of succession and duration that influenced Kant’s discussion. I then single out the flaws in Locke’s theory. I clarify why given Locke and Kant’s suppositions, the representation of time cannot originate from perceiving in inner sense a stream of motionless ideas, as Locke supposed. Locke’s account does not involve memory. Nevertheless, in the final section I clarify why given the aforementioned suppositions, the representation of time cannot originate also from memory. It must originate from pure imagination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-161
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Philosophical Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022


  • Kant
  • locke
  • pure imagination
  • temporal experience
  • time consciousness
  • transcendental idealism


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