CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON A 320/B 377 

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Kinds of Representations 

As explained in the Critique of Pure Reason A 320/B 377

Perception: A representation with consciousness.

Sensation: A perception that relates only to the knowing subject as a modification of its own state (e.g., pain) and without reference to any other object.

Cognition: Objective perception.

Intuition: Cognition relating immediately to an object, which is single.

Empirical Intuition: Wholly contingent sense perception of a single object.

Pure Intuition: Object necessarily joined to all empirical intuitions in advance of any particular perceptions. There are two pure intuitions: space and time.

Concept: A cognition relating mediately to an object by means of some feature that several things have in common.

Empirical Concept: A concept of what several objects of sense perception have in common.

Pure Concept: A concept of what objects must have in common.

Notion: A pure concept having its origins in the understanding alone.

Idea: A concept of reason (not understanding), transcending the possibility of all experience. As with other concepts, these may be pure or empirical.


Here is the relevant text from the Kemp Smith translation:

There is no lack of terms suitable for each kind of representation, that we should thus needlessly encroach upon the province of any one of them. Their serial arrangement is as follows. The genus is representation in general (repraesentatio). Subordinate to it stands representation with consciousness (perceptio). A perception which relates solely to the subject as the modification of its state is sensation (sensatio), an objective perception is knowledge (cognitio). This is either intuition or concept (intuitus vel conceptus). The former relates immediately to the object and is single, the latter refers to it immediately by means of a feature which several things may have in common. The concept is either an empirical or a pure concept. The pure concept, in so far as it has its origin in the understanding alone (not in the pure image of sensibility), is called a notion. A concept formed from notions and transcending the possibility of experience is an idea or concept of reason. Anyone who has familiarised himself with these distinctions must find it intolerable to hear the representation of the colour, red, called an idea. It ought not even to be called a concept of understanding, a notion.

Oddly missing is judgment, the other crucial type of Kantian representation. This omission is probably due to the fact that a judgment is a unified act of understanding that brings at least two representations together "under one common representation." Kant regards judgments as higher representations, in which judgment brings together an intuition and a concept (e.g., "This thing before me is a dog") or a concept and another concept (e.g., "All bodies are divisible").  At A 68/B 93, Kant says: "Judgment is therefore the mediate cognition of an object, that is, the representation of a representation of it. In every judgment there is a concept which holds of many representations . . ."