I propose to explain Kant’s novel claim, in the Critique of Pure Reason, that all judgments have a formal modality. I begin by distinguishing the modality of a judgment’s form from the modality of its content, and I suggest that the former is peculiar in merely affecting the subject’s understanding of his own act of judging. I then contrast the modal account of such an understanding (in terms of the possibility and actuality of a judgment) with the traditional, non-modal understanding of it (in terms of the giving and withholding of assent). I conclude by suggesting that Kant prefers the former because he conceives of knowledge on Aristotle’s model: as a progress in the mind from capacity to act.
Blecher, I. “Kant on Formal Modality” Kant-Studien 104(1):44-62. 2013.