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To provide undoubtable, indubitable proof for the existence of objects in space outside of us is no easy task. In a five-step proof, which Immanuel Kant calls the Refutation of Idealism, he sets out to accomplish just that. If successful, the Refutation of Idealism is the proof, and necessary defense, of objects existing in space outside of our representations of them. The implications of disproving the Refutation of Idealism is vastly important to Kant’s Critiques and other works. Without the Refutation of Idealism, the Fourth Paralogism can then also be proved false, as well as the Postulates and any other synthetic a priori principles of the understanding would become irrelevant and the categories of the understanding would therefore be stripped of their objective reality.Kant’s transcendental argument of the Refutation of Idealism looks to argue with the Cartesian Skepticism, and not Humean skepticism, about the external world. More specifically, Kant wants to disprove what he calls “problematic idealism” which is “the existence of objects in space outside us to be either merely doubtful and indemonstrable” (B274). In this paper, I will seek to improve upon Kant’s arguments and statements by explaining the background information for them, more than they were explained in the Refutation of Idealism, in a way that would make it more difficult for a skeptic to argue against. I will also set out what Kant would have said to certain objections to this Refutation of Idealism that Kant himself was not able to answer. This does not mean necessarily changing Kant’s premises and argument but improving upon them in a way that expands and unpacks them, while also covering what the Skeptics, who are the main opposition I will be focusing upon in this paper, may have overlooked.  Other theories that attempt to argue against Kant’s Refutation of Idealism is that of Bertrand Russell.  I will discuss Bertrand Russell’s idea of “for all I know, I was born five minutes ago.” (Russell 1912) and the implications it brings. As well as David Hume’s arguments made in “Of the academical or skeptical Philosophy Part I.” These arguments will attempt to disprove Kant’s Refutation of Idealism, while I will attempt to improve upon Kant’s original argument for the Refutation of Idealism to make these arguments against him more ineffective. To do that, one should know what the Refutation of Idealism is.The argument presented in the Refutation of Idealism is the following: “I am conscious of my existence as determined in time. All time-determination presupposes something persistent in perception. This persistent thing, however, cannot be something in me, since my own existence in time can first be determined only through this persistent thing. Thus, the perception of this persistent thing is possible only through a thing outside me and not through the mere representation of a thing outside me. Consequently, the determination of my existence in time is possible only by means of the existence of actual things that I perceive outside myself. Now consciousness in time is necessarily combined with the consciousness of the possibility of this time-determination: Therefore, it is also necessarily combined with the existence of the things outside me, as the condition of time-determination; i.e., the consciousness of my own existence is at the same time an immediate consciousness of the existence of other things outside me.” (B 275-276) Kant’s plan is to prove the idea that objects exist separately from your own consciousness and that experiences, pertaining to yourself, have a specific temporal order. Kant’s Refutation of idealism has one main claim that I will focus on now, and it is that his Refutation of Idealism must “establish that we have experience, and not merely imagination of outer things” (B275). When you are alert of the order of your experiences, there is an awareness produced by the memories that you have. This then means that there must be references that you can match to the past experiences that allows you to figure out their specific temporal order. While making sense, there are a few holes that the Skeptics have said to doubt. For that, one should know what each premise is attempting to say. Breaking down the five-step proof is as follows. The first premise being, “I am conscious of my own existence as determined in time.” (B275). This is saying that you are aware that you have experiences and that those experiences must occur in some sort of temporal order. The second, “All time-determination presupposes something persistent in perception.” (B275). This premise elaborates upon the first, this sentence shows that you need to experience something persistent in order to be aware of the order that you are perceiving these experiences in. This shows that, “time itself cannot be perceived by itself. (B225) The third, “This persistent thing, however, cannot be something in me, since my own existence in time can first be determined only through this persistent thing.” (B275).  This third premise is again, building upon the premises that come before it. Kant thinks that your own consciousness cannot be the persistent thing you experience. The fourth premise is, “Thus the perception of this persistent thing is possible only through a thing outside me and not through the mere representation of a thing outside me.” (B275) Kant says that this thing cannot be inside of you because time, inner sense, cannot be the persistent experience. The fifth and final premise, “Now consciousness in time is necessarily combined with the consciousness of the possibility of this time-determination: therefore, it is also necessarily combined with the existence of the things outside me, as the condition of time determination; i.e. the consciousness of my own existence is at the same time an immediate consciousness of the existence of other things outside me.” (B275-276) The last premise is quite a lengthy sentence, although it is by far the most important. Recognizing that the consciousness of your own existence means that you have an immediate consciousness of the existence of other things outside you. With the previous sentences by Kant assumed to be true, then you can be aware that you are having experiences of objects outside of you, and that those experiences, through time (inner sense) are happening in a specific temporal order. Leading back to the main claims of the Refutation of Idealism, that you are able recognize objects in space outside of you through a temporal order of experiences. This is a main summary of the premises. Skeptics are the main detractors of Kant’s Refutation of Idealism, specifically, the first premise. The rejection of the first premise can lead to the rejection of all the Refutation of Idealism. Skeptics hold the view of Problematic Idealism, which is the idea that we cannot prove the existence of objects outside us. This comes from Descartes’ theory that the only thing you cannot doubt, is that you exist. Popular by the saying, “Cogito Ergo Sum.” If Descartes’ theory is right, there is no way to prove the existence of objects outside of us exist. This is of course the conflict between Kant and the Skeptics. Unfortunately for Kant, one of the problems that the Skeptics have found a problem with his Refutation of Idealism lies within his firs first major statement of the Refutation of Idealism. This statement is, “I am conscious of my own existence as determined in time” (B275). With this being the first premise, this could of course entail the dismissal for all of Kant’s Refutation of Idealism. Why would the Skeptics reject this though? The Skeptics’ theory that aims to prove Kant wrong is of Skepticism in general and their view of Problematic Idealism. Since this idea comes from Descartes’ theory that the only thing you cannot doubt, is that you exist. Looking at the main premise again, “I am conscious of my existence as determined in time.” (B275) Descartes thinks that you cannot be conscious of your own existence as determined in time because of inner perceptions and intuitions. Inner determinations cannot be the basis for the consciousness that one is determined in time because all that can be experienced are representations. Representations require something persisting which is distinct from them. The only thing that Kant believes to be persistent that we could base the concept of substance on is matter. Even this is not drawn from outer experience, “but rather presupposed a priori as the necessary condition of all time-determination, thus also as the determination of inner sense in regard to our own existence through the existence of outer things.”  (B278) For this, time must be presupposed. Time is not able to be simplified. This means that it is able to differentiate the temporal positions of objects. Although this does not mean that time exists independently of the representations. In fact, one could conclude that time would not exist if the representations are not displayed in time itself. Kant’s position is that time can be perceived, so, it is an aspect of an existing object only by empirical means. The difference between the temporally related objects and the positions that they occupy does not sabotage the fact that time is objectively real only if objects are temporally related. This means that time is shown by these temporal objects. This leads to the conclusion of being conscious of your own existence as determined in time.  Kant discusses this more in his notes after the Refutation of Idealism. The first note discusses how “Idealism assumed that the only immediate experience is inner experience.” (B276). Kant then states that, “from that outer things could only be inferred… one infers from given effects to determinate causes, only unreliably.” (B276) this is because “the cause of the representations that we perhaps falsely ascribe to outer things can also lie in us.” (B276). This proves that outer experience is immediate. Continuing, Kant discusses the representation of “I am” which expresses the consciousness that can accompany all thinking, is that which immediately includes the existence of a subject in itself, but not yet any cognition of it, thus not empirical cognition (experience).” (B277). That is because experience belongs to the inner intuition (time) in this case. This is why the subject “must be determined, for which outer objects are absolutely requisite, so that inner experience itself is consequently only mediate and possible only through outer experience.” (B277).Another theory that seeks to argue with Kant on his Refutation of Idealism is proposed by Bertrand Russell. The theory is that “for all I know, I was born five minutes ago.” (Russell 1912) This theory believes one would be wrong in their beliefs that you had experiences in the order of 1, 2, and then 3 which occurred more than five minutes ago, first 1, then 2, and lastly 3. This is implied to mean that God created the universe five minutes ago. This makes it possible that a skeptic would claim that we lack the reason for their belief for the existence of external objects would likely also be right to claim that we lack justification for our belief that we have experiences that did occur in the past in that specific temporal order. This would mean that Kant’s first premise is wrong because it is not sufficient.  Russell’s theory is heavily relied upon the idea that God created a fake universe five minutes ago. The objection to this theory would be that God would not deceive us, if there was one. Kant argues that certain moral beliefs can provide the possibility of God’s existence. Although if God did exist, it would be a perfect and all-powerful God leading to the idea that God would not deceive us by creating a universe five minutes ago because he is a benevolent figure. This is the counter-argument that I believe Kant would have taken against Bertrand Russell.  The next, and final counter argument to Kant’s Refutation of Idealism that I will be discussing is David Hume’s. Hume’s “Of the academical or skeptical Philosophy Part I.” Specifically when Hume states, “By what argument can it be proved, that the perceptions of the mind must be caused by external objects, entirely different from them, though resembling them (if that be possible) and could not arise either from the energy of the mind itself, or from the suggestion of some invisible and unknown spirit, or from some other cause still more unknown to us? It is acknowledged, that, in fact, many of these perceptions arise not from anything external, as in dreams, madness, and other diseases. And nothing can be more inexplicable than the manner, in which body should so operate upon mind as ever to convey an image of itself to a substance, supposed of so different, and even contrary a nature. It is a question of fact, whether the perceptions of the senses be produced by external objects, resembling them: how shall this question be determined? By experience surely; as all other questions of a like nature. But here experience is, and must be entirely silent. The mind has never anything present to it but the perceptions, and cannot possibly reach any experience of their connexion with objects. The supposition of such a connexion is, therefore, without any foundation in reasoning.” (Hume).  When Hume states that “It is acknowledged, that, in fact, many of these perceptions arise not from anything external, as in dreams, madness, and other diseases.” (Hume) Hume suggests that we make mistakes and we are deceived by our dreams, madness, and other diseases. This gives the suggestion of us not knowing when we are being deceived and whether or not we are being deceived right now. This is the unknown spirit example that Hume says may be a possibility. If we are being deceived at this moment, then we do not have the existence of objects existing separately from our own consciousness. Instead they are put there by this unknown spirit. This sounds like Descartes’ evil or malicious demon theory. This is that an evil demon has the “utmost power and cunning has employed all his energies in order to deceive me.” (Descartes 1993). How could Kant possibly challenge the idea that an evil demon is constantly on your shoulder putting tricks on your mind, thinking that there are objects around you when there is really nothing? Kant would use the same argument that I discussed earlier in this paper. The same argument that was used when talking about Bertrand Russell’s idea of “for all I know, I was born five seconds ago” theory. For an evil demon to be on your shoulder, there would have to be a higher power that put this demon there. This higher power would have to be God. Since God is a benevolent higher power, God would not put a demon that would trick you on you. Leading to Kant disposing of this theory.  Although, the other part of Hume’s argument is compelling in a different sense. What if there is some other cause that we as a society do not know yet? Is there something out there that could change what Kant thinks about in the Refutation of Idealism? Of course, this is all hypothetical, and in a sense pointless to argue about, until we discover this missing piece of information. Once we have that information, things would of course change. Although, what would this information have to consist of in order for Kant to change his mind? For Kant to change his mind, the missing information would have to be exactly the opposite that he is trying to prove. That being, of course, objective proof that objects do not exist outside of us. This argument is not an effective one. Bringing hypotheticals into question will constantly drag an argument down a road that is not worth considering until reliable information is therefore discovered. With these improvements, Kant’s argument does not stumble or falter. In fact, it would only lead to a stronger case for Kant. The worry about the Refutation of Idealism, the Fourth Paralogism, the postulates and all other synthetic a priori principles of the understanding are no longer existent and do not need to be worried about. The categories of the understanding still remain to have their objective reality. The arguments made by Skeptics, Hume, Russell are all valid concerns, but by looking further into Kant’s Refutation of idealism and other works, one would see that all of these arguments are not substantive enough to be worrisome about overcoming them. 

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