Kant justifies the Aristotelian principle “the object of a power is known before the power” in a strange way:  his critique of reason points out that what I call “I” is not a substance, but an appearance: that is, I only know the knowing subject secondarily through reflection.  His claim the we cannot know the thing in itself is, perhaps, a result of the clarity with which he sees this principle: he thinks that we can never disentangle the subjective component of knowledge from the reality known.

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