Disgression: On the Issue of Imposition.
My main problem with the language of imposition is that it presents Kant’s insight into the workings of perception, understanding and reason as a simple reversal of passive mind model – before Kant: mind is passive, after Kant: mind is active. Braver seems to be falling into this trap, but in fact he does not as his careful discussion of that Kant means by “active mind” reveals. I still wonder if for the sake of clarity/subtlety, we should adopt a distintion not between R5 Passive Knower and A5 Active Knower, but between R5 Negative Activity (because mind is active, but it’s a bad thing before Kant) and A5 Positive Activity (because mind is active, but it’s a good thing). In any case, let me say a bit about my issue with “imposition,” which is not an issue with Braver only, but with a large chuck of discussion of this aspect of Kant. I admit that I might be in the minority here, as my debates about this same topic with Levi showed in the past.
It seems to me that Kant rejects both models of mind – passive and active – if passive mind is empiricism and active mind is rationalism. His own project, I think it is fair to say, is of an active-passive mind in that mind does have necessary forms that make knowledge possible (truth possible), but it is useless without the matter of perception. In fact, one might argue that without the matter of perception, as Braver points out as well (using an image of the world being a mirror for mind and such), there are no identifiable forms of intution (space/time) or categories.
In this case, is it absolutely wrong to talk about mind imposing forms on matter? Of course not, but it’s the details that get us in all sorts of trouble. For example, I have in the past objected to a phrase such as “mind imposes space/time on reality” not because it is absolutely incorrect to put it this way, but because we lose the difference between “space/time” as forms of intuition and, say, causality as a category – does mind “impose” causality of two events that I am observing the same way that it “imposes” space/time that allow me to differentiate between the two discussed events? The answer is “no” as far as I am concerned and I’d be willing to argue my point til I’m blue in the face (and I have done so in the past). Why? Because “space/time” are forms of intuition, we cannot think without them, we cannot perceive without them and so on, while the language of “imposition” implies active intentional work of the mind, work that I am aware of in the same what that I am aware of connecting two events in some causal fashion (as in extreme case of, say, paranoia when I see two unrelated – for most people – events as causing each other and so on, sane people will tell me I am paranoid, but the concept of causality is a form/category I use anyway, it does not concern itself with my content which can be, say, a strange man outside of my windon and my computer working slower than usual and so on).
Allow me an example of Kant’s own very careful way of talking about the matter – this is from §18 of Prolegomena (I’m dealing a bit more with §19 in my main post on Chapter Two):
We must therefore first of all note: that, although all judgments of experience are empirical, i.e., have their basis in the immediate perception of the senses, nonetheless the reverse is not the case, that therefore all empirical judgments are judgments of experience; rather, beyond the empirical and in general beyond what is given is sensory intuition, special concepts must be added, which have their origin completely a priori in the pure understanding, under which every perception can first be subsumed and then, by means of the same concepts transformed into experience.
Notice the use of words like “subsumption” and “transformation” – perceptions are subsumed [subsumieren] under concepts, mind does not impose concepts/forms onto perceptions thus molding them here into a beer, there into a magazine. Kant does use the language of imposition, but as far as I can tell, it’s almost always willful imposition, active action of person imposing rules etc etc. I would be glad is I was corrected here, if you have a good example of Kant actually using “imposition” type of language as that might help me put this matter to rest.
Part of the problem is, I think, apart from other issues is that although Kant really doesn’t use the language of “imposition” in this context, it’s pretty much how Guyer/Wood, among many many others, phrase it in their Introdution to the first critique in Cambridge edition (page 21 or 54, for example), so it might be just a peculiar English idiom at work here. In any case, excuse the digression, it is primarly caused by page 37 of Braver that uses the word “imposition” in a way that makes me a bit uncomfortable. Again I think Braver avoids most of the problems that I would yell at him about (were we on yelling-at-each-other terms) in the following discussion of R1-R3.