What Objective Unity of Self-consciousness is. SS 14

It is by means of the transcendental unity of apperception that all the manifold, given in an intuition is united into a conception of the object. On this account it is called objective, and must be distinguished from the subjective unity of consciousness, which is a determination of the internal sense, by means of which the said manifold in intuition is given empirically to be so united. Whether I can be empirically conscious of the manifold as coexistent or as successive, depends upon circumstances, or empirical conditions. Hence the empirical unity of consciousness by means of association of representations, itself relates to a phenomenal world and is wholly contingent. On the contrary, the pure form of intuition in time, merely as an intuition, which contains a given manifold, is subject to the original unity of consciousness, and that solely by means of the necessary relation of the manifold in intuition to the "I think," consequently by means of the pure synthesis of the understanding, which lies a priori at the foundation of all empirical synthesis. The transcendental unity of apperception is alone objectively valid; the empirical which we do not consider in this essay, and which is merely a unity deduced from the former under given conditions in concreto, possesses only subjective validity. One person connects the notion conveyed in a word with one thing, another with another thing; and the unity of consciousness in that which is empirical, is, in relation to that which is given by experience, not necessarily and universally valid.

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first edition 1994/12/23 last modified 1999/8/29