Date of Award

August 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

William Bristow F Bristow

Committee Members

Nataliya Palatnik, Julius Sensat


Lucy Allais, Manifest Reality, Relationalism, Transcendental Idealism


In Manifest Reality, Lucy Allais aims to explain the mind-dependence of Kantian appearances without regarding them as constructions out of what exists merely in the mind. To this end, Allais develops an account where cognizing an appearance involves direct consciousness of a thing in itself, though only as it is in relation to us, i.e. as appearance. She thus reads Kant’s distinction between things in themselves and appearances as a distinction between the mind-independent and essentially mind-dependent relational properties of one and the same objects. In this paper, I articulate two important challenges for Allais’ account of appearances. First, I argue that her relational view is incompatible with Kant’s claim that space and time are wholly subjective: they do not represent any feature of things in themselves. Second, I argue that Allais’ starting point, her anti-phenomenalism, skews her reading of Kant’s text. Her arguments against phenomenalism, which also carry the burden of her relationalism, thus turn out to be less conclusive than she takes them to be.

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