Patricia Kitcher

Patricia Kitcher

Research Interest

Roberta and William Campbell Professor Emerita of the Humanities

B.A., Wellesley (1970)

Ph.D, Princeton (1974)

Before coming to Columbia, I taught at the University of Vermont, the University of Minnesota and the University of California, San Diego. In 2007-2008, I was a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin. Although I have worked in both philosophy of psychology and Kant, in recent years, my work has focused on the cognitive psychology of the Critique of Pure Reason. After publishing Kant’s Transcendental Psychology (Oxford) in 1990, and a number of preliminary studies, I have just completed a book-length study of Kant’s account of the subject of cognition, Kant’s Thinker (Oxford, 2011). It opens by situating Kant’s theories in the then contemporary debates about ‘apperception,’ personal identity and the relations between object cognition and self-consciousness. After laying out in considerable detail Kant’s argument that the distinctive kind of knowledge that humans have requires a unified self- consciousness, I consider the implications of his theory for current problems in the philosophy of mind. If Kant is right that rational cognition requires acts of thought that are at least implicitly conscious, then theories of consciousness face a second ‘hard problem’ beyond the familiar difficulties with the qualities of sensations. How is conscious reasoning to be understood? I also argue that current accounts of the self-ascription of belief have great trouble in explaining the case where subjects know their reasons for the belief and offer a ‘new’ Kantian approach to handling this problem. In 1992, I published Freud’s Dream: A Complete Interdisciplinary Cognitive Science. My aim was to explain the strengths and weaknesses of psychoanalysis in part by reference to its inter-disciplinary character. Besides trying to offer a clearer picture of Freud’s achievements and shortcomings, it was also intended as something of a caveat about the dangers of interdisciplinary work in cognitive science. My next project is a sustained discussion of Kant’s ethics, either a book or a series of articles.

Upcoming Publishing

“Kant’s Spontaneous Thinker and (More) Spontaneous Agent.” Cultivating Personhood. Stephen R. Palmquist, ed., Walter deGruyter. Forthcoming.

Kant-Lexikon, edited by Georg Mohr, Jürgen Stolzenberg, and Marcus Willaschek, Walter de Gruyter, forthcoming.
a. ‘Consciousness’
b. ‘Unity of Consciousness’
c. ‘I think’
d. ‘Empirical Consciousness’ (with Ellen Fridland)
e. ‘Pure Consciousness’
f. ‘Consciousness in general’
g. ‘Science (or Knowledge)’ [Wissen]
h. ‘Faculties of Mind’
i. ‘Focus Imaginarius’ (with David May) 

A Kantian Critique of Current Approaches to Self-Knowledge (draft).

Selected Publications

“Kant on Constructing Causal Representations.” Hugh Clapin, Phillip Staines, and Peter Slezak, eds., Representation in Mind: New Approaches to Mental Representation. Elsevier, 2004, 217-36.

“Kant’s Argument for the Categorical Imperative.” Noûs XXXVIII, December, 2004, 555-84.

“Two Normative Roles for Self-Consciousness in Modern Philosophy.” H. Terrace and J. Metcalfe (eds.), The Missing Link in Cognition; Origins of Self-Knowing Consciousness. Oxford University Press, 2005, 174-187.

“What is a Maxim?” Philosophical Topics, vol. 31, nos. 1&2, Spring and Fall 2003 (appeared, April 2005).

“Kant’s Philosophy of the Cognitive Mind,” The Cambridge Companion to Kant and Modern Philosophy, Paul Guyer, ed., Cambridge University Press, 2006: 169-202.

“Freud’s Interdisciplinary Fiasco” in Andrew Brook, ed., The Prehistory of Cognitive Science,” Palgrave: Macmillan, 2007: 230-249.

“Kant’s I think,” Recht und Freiden in der Philosophie Kants: Akten des X Kant-Kongress, Rohden, Valerio et. al., eds., New York, deGruyter, 2008.

Kant’s Transcendental Psychology, New York: Oxford University Press, 1990. Paper edition, 1992.

Freud’s Dream: A Complete Interdisciplinary Science of Mind, Cambridge, Mass.: Bradford Books/M.I.T. Press, 1992. Paper edition, 1995.

Kant’s Thinker, New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. Chapter 9 (in ms. form)