Patricia Kitcher

Before coming to Columbia, Patricia Kitcher taught at the University of Vermont, the University of Minnesota, and the University of California, San Diego. In 2007–2008, she was a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin. Although she has worked in both philosophy of psychology and Kant, in recent years, her work has focused on the cognitive psychology of the Critique of Pure Reason. After publishing Kant’s Transcendental Psychology (Oxford) in 1990, and a number of preliminary studies, Prof. Kitcher completed a book-length study of Kant’s account of the subject of cognition, Kant’s Thinker (Oxford, 2011). It opens by situating Kant’s theories in the then contemporary debates about ‘apperception,’ personal identity, and the relations between object cognition and self-consciousness. After laying out in considerable detail Kant’s argument that the distinctive kind of knowledge that humans have requires a unified self-consciousness, Prof. Kitcher considers the implications of his theory for current problems in the philosophy of mind. If Kant is right that rational cognition requires acts of thought that are at least implicitly conscious, then theories of consciousness face a second ‘hard problem’ beyond the familiar difficulties with the qualities of sensations. How is conscious reasoning to be understood? She also argues that current accounts of the self-ascription of belief have great trouble in explaining the case where subjects know their reasons for the belief and offer a ‘new’ Kantian approach to handling this problem. In 1992, Prof. Kitcher published Freud’s Dream: A Complete Interdisciplinary Cognitive Science. Her aim was to explain the strengths and weaknesses of psychoanalysis in part by reference to its inter-disciplinary character. Besides trying to offer a clearer picture of Freud’s achievements and shortcomings, it was also intended as something of a caveat about the dangers of interdisciplinary work in cognitive science. Her next project is a sustained discussion of Kant’s ethics, either a book or a series of articles.


  • B.A., Wellesley (1970)
  • Ph.D., Princeton (1974)

Selected Publications

  • “Kant on Constructing Causal Representations.” Hugh Clapin, Phillip Staines, and Peter Slezak, eds., Representation in Mind: New Approaches to Mental Representation. Elsevier, 2004, 217–36.
  • “Kant’s Argument for the Categorical Imperative.” Noûs XXXVIII, December, 2004, 555–84.
  • “Two Normative Roles for Self-Consciousness in Modern Philosophy.” H. Terrace and J. Metcalfe (eds.), The Missing Link in Cognition; Origins of Self-Knowing Consciousness. Oxford University Press, 2005, 174–87.
  • “What is a Maxim?” Philosophical Topics, vol. 31, nos. 1&2, Spring and Fall 2003 (appeared, April 2005).
  • “Kant’s Philosophy of the Cognitive Mind,” The Cambridge Companion to Kant and Modern Philosophy, Paul Guyer, ed., Cambridge University Press, 2006: 169–202.
  • “Freud’s Interdisciplinary Fiasco” in Andrew Brook, ed., The Prehistory of Cognitive Science, Palgrave: Macmillan, 2007: 230–249.
  • “Kant’s I think,” Recht und Freiden in der Philosophie Kants: Akten des X Kant-Kongress, Rohden, Valerio, et. al., eds., New York, deGruyter, 2008.
  • “The Unity of Kant’s Active Thinker.” Transcendental Philosophy and Naturalism. Joel Smith, ed. Oxford University Press, 2011.
  • Kant’s Transcendental Psychology, New York: Oxford University Press, 1990. Paper edition, 1992.
  • Freud’s Dream: A Complete Interdisciplinary Science of Mind, Cambridge, Mass.: Bradford Books/M.I.T. Press, 1992. Paper edition, 1995.
  • Kant’s Thinker, New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Last updated December 22, 2022