This year’s winner of the Markus Herz prize, awarded to the best graduate student paper presented at the group meetings of NAKS, is Daniel Smyth.


Daniel’s paper, “Infinity and Givenness: Kant on the Intuitive Roots of Spatial Representation,” was presented at the second Biennial NAKS conference at Cornell University in May, 2013.  The paper advances a novel interpretation of the penultimate section of the Metaphysical Exposition of the Concept of Space in the Critique of Pure Reason.  On this interpretation, it is the infinitary structure of spatial representation which secures its intuitive status.  This inference turns on Kant’s functional conception of intuitive representation as what must be given to the mind in order to be thought at all.  Infinitary manifolds meet this criterion, for conceptual representation, as modeled on the specific division of a highest genus into exclusive and exhaustive species, cannot account for non-denumerable complexity.  Thus, since we do represent space as infinitely complex (namely, as continuous and open-ended) and since such complexity cannot be a product of spontaneous, conceptual thought, the infinitely complex manifold of space must be given to the mind and is, ipso facto, represented in sensible intuition.


Daniel has a BA from the University of Chicago, where he is also currently a PhD. candidate.  His paper presents a key step in the argument of his dissertation, which maintains that Kant’s critical conception of intuition should be understood as part of an attempt to reconcile paradoxes of the infinite and the possibility of infinitary mathematical knowledge with the finitude – and, in particular, the dependency – of human cognition.


The paper is available in the members-only section of our website inside the “Markus Herz” folder. 

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