Image and Indeterminacy in Heidegger’s Schematism

  • Clive Cazeaux (Cardiff Metropolitan University)


This paper focuses on the work to which the concept of image is put by Heidegger in his retrieval of the schematism in Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics. Whereas the schematic role of the image is never fully developed by Kant, Heidegger pays it much more attention, investing it with properties that have the potential to make the schema an active component in his own ontology. However, the motifs he uses to characterize the image depart from the conventional notion of an image as the representation of an object or scene, and are puzzling, if not to say mysterious. I show how the motifs acquire new relevance when they are considered in relation to (a) Boehm’s ‘indeterminacy’ theory of the image, and (b) the novel, ontological concept of time that Heidegger introduces. With these perspectives in mind, the motifs allow us to ‘image’ or imagine aspects of continuity that are central to Heidegger’s concept of primordial time, and therefore confirm the schema as a coherent element in his system. I also suggest how this clarified schema-image might act as a bridge between Heidegger’s philosophy before and after the turn.

Keywords: anticipation, Boehm, fundamental ontology, holding, retention, schema, temporality

How to Cite:

Cazeaux, C., (2021) “Image and Indeterminacy in Heidegger’s Schematism”, Ergo an Open Access Journal of Philosophy 7. doi:



Published on
22 Oct 2021
Peer Reviewed

The concept of image plays an intriguing, if ultimately unresolved, role in Kant’s account of the schematism in the Critique of Pure Reason. The schematism is introduced by Kant as the process which enables empirical intuitions to be subsumed under the categories, the pure concepts of the understanding. Unfortunately, precisely how the provision of an image for a concept assists the mediation between category and intuition is not clear. Three illustrations are provided by Kant: picturing a number in general; an image that cannot ‘attain the generality of the concept’ ‘triangle’; and the idea that with the concept ‘dog’, the imagination ‘can specify the shape of a four-footed animal in general’ (CPR A 140–41, B 179–81).1 It would appear that there is something indeterminate or inadequate about an image that might indirectly, perhaps as a contrast term, help to explain the operation of the schematism. However, the point is not developed, and the sentence that follows the last quotation declares the schematism to be ‘a hidden art in the depths of the human soul’ (CPR A 141, B 180–81).

Only a small number of studies of the schematism in Kantian scholarship address the role of the image. Unfortunately, they tend either to treat it as a subsidiary issue2 or to leave it as a notion that is ultimately problematic for the schematism.3 There are, however, two accounts which propose that the concept of image might possess a depth that can yield some insight. Or, to be more precise, there is one account that focuses on the image, and another that suggests it warrants further attention. The latter, from Schaper, hints at the importance of the image for the schematism on the grounds that a schema is a transcendental determination of time, and that ‘it is impossible, on the Kantian basis, to have any sensed awareness outside time’ (1964: 285). But Schaper’s analysis only makes this observation in passing, as part of a deeper study of the connections between the imagination in the first and third Critiques. If a fuller assessment of the relationship between time and the imagination in Kant is sought, then she recommends that we turn to Heidegger’s reconstruction of the schematism in Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics (Schaper 1964: 281–82). This is the former account I referred to above, the one that focuses on the image, and the one I concentrate upon in this paper.

The role played by the concept of image in Heidegger’s retrieval of the schematism has received little attention within Heideggerian scholarship.4 Sherover, in his 1971 book Heidegger, Kant and Time, only goes so far as to recognize that Kant’s use of the term ‘image’ is ‘troublesome’ (1971: 107), and that it ‘should not be taken in any literal sense’ (1971: 303). Since then, it would appear that only three studies have given some thought to the schema-as-image or ‘schema-image’. However, none of these offers a sustained exploration of how the concept functions in Heidegger’s Kant book.5 As to why there is a lack of interest, one can only speculate. One reason might be that the book which is seen as the principle articulation of Heidegger’s account of primordial time, Being and Time, only refers to the schematism in order to note that its potential as a ‘transcendental determination of time’ lies unresolved in Kant’s system (BT 23–24). Furthermore, no reference is made to the idea that thinking about imagery might cast light upon the operation of the schematism.

Despite this lack of interest—or, to be more precise, because of it—I think the properties that Heidegger assigns to the image warrant attention. The motifs he supplies are counter-intuitive, and distinct from the conventional notion of an image as the representation of an object or scene. Furthermore, the motifs acquire new relevance when they are considered in relation to the novel, ontological concept of time that Heidegger introduces. When examined in detail, I argue, they help us to ‘image’ or imagine aspects of continuity that are central to Heidegger’s concept of primordial time and, as a result, to ‘image’ or imagine the ontological function that he assigns to the schema. In Section 1, I outline Heidegger’s understanding of the relationship between image and schema. Section 2 sets out the motifs that Heidegger uses to characterize the image. In Section 3, I introduce two elements that I think can help to clarify the issue: emphasis on the importance of temporality for the analysis; and a concept of the image from contemporary image theory that takes indeterminacy as its foundation. In the final Section, I review Heidegger’s characterizations of the image in the light of the elements from Section 3 to show how they can function as motifs that demonstrate the operation of the schema. I also indicate how this study might go some way towards indicating the possibility of a bridge between early and later Heideggerian formulations of ontology in terms of temporality and truth respectively.

1. Heidegger on the Schema-Image

Heidegger’s treatment of the image in Kant’s schematism is not an attempt to make Kant’s account coherent on its own terms, but an exploration of how the concept of image can be mined, interpreted and stretched in order to make it play a role in Heidegger’s fundamental ontology. Heidegger turns to Kant because he sees in the Prussian’s attempt to determine the transcendental conditions of the possibility of experience the basis of an architectonic that can help him to formulate the fundamental ontological structure that underpins the relation between being and time.

The schema, for Kant, is a product of the imagination, but is not an image. The schema, he insists, ‘is to be distinguished from an image’ because ‘the synthesis of imagination aims at no individual intuition but rather only the unity in the determination of sensibility’ (CPR A 140, B 179; emphasis added). That is to say, a key property of the schematism of pure concepts of the understanding is that no individual intuition is addressed. Instead, it is the unity that enables sensible intuition to be received and determined that is the result of their schematism. However, with Heidegger, while the image–schema distinction is not overlooked, the concepts of ‘image’ and ‘schema’ are brought closer together. ‘The schema’, Heidegger writes,

is indeed to be distinguished from images, but nevertheless it is related to something like an image, i.e. the image-character belongs necessarily to the schema. It (the character of the image) has its own essence. It is neither just a simpler look (‘image’ in the first sense) nor a likeness (‘image’ in the second sense). It will therefore be called the schema-image [das Schema-Bild]. (KPM 68; 97)

With the concept of the ‘schema-image’, Heidegger wants to call attention to the fact that a schema is the ‘representation of a general procedure … [for] providing a concept with its image’ (CPR A 140, B 179–80; emphasis added). He is emphasizing the fact that the schema, as the representation of a procedure for generating an image, will have its own ‘image-character’ (KPM 68; 97). The significance of the schema-image is that it brings ‘the [unifying] rule [of the schema] into the sphere of possible intuitability’ (KPM 70; 96).6

What Heidegger will go on to do is to is introduce the properties that he thinks an image must possess in order to fulfil its procedural nature. If an image is to mediate between pure concept and empirical intuition, he asserts, then it must represent ‘in the manner of concepts’. This images do, he argues, by ‘show[ing] how something appears “in general”’; to make sensible is to ‘show how something appears “in general”’ (KPM 66; 94). But what does something ‘in general’ look like? Heidegger offers the example of approaching a house. The example is a complex one, so I shall quote it at some length:

In what way does the look of this house show the ‘how’ of the appearing of a house in general? Indeed, the house itself offers this determinate look, and yet we are not preoccupied with this in order to experience how precisely this house appears. Rather, this house shows itself in exactly such a way that, in order to be a house, it must not necessarily appear as it does. It shows us ‘only’ the ‘as…’ in terms of which a house can appear.

This ‘as’, which goes with the ability something has to appear empirically, is what we represent in connection with this determinate house. A house could so appear. By appearing within the range of possibilities of appearing, this house which is straightforwardly at hand has assumed one determinate [appearing]. But the result of this assuming interests us just as little as the result of those determinations that have failed due to the factical appearing of other houses. What we have perceived is the range of possible appearing as such, or, more precisely, we have perceived that which cultivates this range, that which regulates and marks out how something must appear in order to be able, as a house, to offer the appropriate look. This initial sketching-out [Vorzeichnung] of the rule is no list [Verzeichnis] in the sense of a mere enumeration of the ‘features’ found in a house. Rather, it is a ‘distinguishing’ [‘Auszeichnen’] of the whole of what is meant by [a term] like ‘house’. (KPM 67; 94–95)

Mention of ‘the “as …” in terms of which a house can appear’ could suggest that what is being introduced here is the notion of aspect perception: the thesis that perception is not the mere reception of sensory impressions, but rather a form of anticipatory organization that beholds an object as something or other. In other words, we don’t just see an object; we see it as something, e.g., as a house, as a bicycle (Mulhall 1990: 107–22).

However, I think the ‘as’ that we are dealing with in relation to the schema-image has a different meaning. This can be seen if we focus on the one determinate appearing holding just as much interest for us as all the determinations that could have appeared but have failed to appear. The ‘as’ refers not to appearing as a house but to appearing only as ‘a house could so appear’, as one appearing within a range of possible appearings, as a way of showing that a house can appear otherwise. If an object is to appear before us in a way that is cognizable and, therefore, in a way that sustains continuous, intelligible experience, then it will adopt one of the many forms that corresponds to the concept that is determining this stretch of experience, but this will only be one of the many forms that corresponds to the concept. The suggestion is that any particular appearance is not self-contained or complete in itself but always includes the qualification ‘I am appearing in this way but could have appeared otherwise’, where the possibility of appearing otherwise is integral to the capacity of the object to appear as it does on this occasion.

2. ‘Not Coming to Rest’, ‘Sketching Out’ and ‘Looking Away From’

But what is meant by saying that any one of the appearings—the determinate one that has occurred, or any of the ones that have failed—holds ‘just as much “interest for us”’? The claim would seem to be that the image in this sense, instead of being a particular image, is in fact something that does not come to rest, that is continuously changing so as to exhibit the possible appearances that a house could adopt. This continual change happens not in the form of a list, as if merely to enable the ticking-off of the various features that a house might possess, but as an ‘initial sketching-out [Vorzeichnung]’ that ‘distinguishes [auszeichnen]’ ‘the whole of what is meant by [a term] like ‘house’ (KPM 67; 95). A ‘sketching-out’ suggests that consideration is given to the potential sensory form that a feature might possess, where the form of the feature is not known in advance. Furthermore, consideration is shown not just to one particular, sensory form but to many, in as much as a sketching-out will be a rough approximation, where the roughness is intended to accommodate a range of different appearings. The notion of ‘sketching-out’ is also consistent with the concept of image noted above as something that does not come to rest, that is continuously changing, with consistency embodied in the fact that both ‘sketching-out’ and ‘changing’ accommodate or ‘make room for’ the possible appearings that a house could adopt.

In terms of what ‘a “distinguishing” of the whole’ means, we are told by Heidegger that ‘distinguishing’ is intended in the sense that what appears ‘regulates the possible belonging of this interconnectedness [Zusammenhang] within an empirical look’. Richard Taft, in his translator’s notes, affirms that ‘Zusammenhang’ refers ‘to the whole interconnected complex of possible meanings associated with a term like “house”, as discussed in the previous paragraph’ (1997: 227). However, if the reference is to the interconnected complex in the previous paragraph, then it is to a complex of possible appearings, and not meanings. The ‘interconnectedness’ then is all the possible appearings of a house, and ‘distinguishing’ is the process that decides which possible appearings belong to the complex. But how is belonging, in that which ‘regulates the possible belonging of this interconnectedness within an empirical look’, decided? This is surely the hardest question for this analysis, for it is at the heart of the broader question of how Kant’s transcendental and Heidegger’s ontological systems can account for the conceptual ordering of intuition, in such a way that the conceptual ordering is a drawing out of what is already potential within intuition, and not a conceptual imposition on a wholly indeterminate, mouldable intuition.

Heidegger’s response to the question of belonging is to focus on ‘what regulates the possible belonging of this interconnectedness [Zusammenhang] within an empirical look’ (KPM 67; 95; my emphasis). A concept has meaning not through possession of or correspondence with any content or theme, he asserts, but instead through its capacity to ‘regulat[e] the sketching-out within a possible look’:

If the concept in general is that which is in service to the rule, then conceptual representing means the giving of the rule for the possible attainment of a look in advance in the manner of its regulation. Such representing, then, is structurally necessary with reference to a possible look, and hence is in itself a particular kind of making-sensible.

It [this particular type of making-sensible] gives no immediate, intuitable look of the concept. What is in it, and what necessarily comes forward with it in the immediate look, is not, properly speaking, meant as something thematic. Rather, it is meant as that which is possibly capable of being presented in the presentation whose manner of regulation is represented. Thus, in the empirical look it is precisely the rule which makes its appearance in the manner of its regulation. (KPM 67; 95–96; emphases added)

The equation of ‘concept’ with ‘rule’ comes from Kant, and is acknowledged by Heidegger: the concept, Kant writes, quoted by Heidegger, ‘may indeed be as imperfect or as obscure as it wants’; ‘its form is always something that is universal and that serves as the rule’ (KPM 52; 74; CPR, A 113, 106). It is the regulatory nature of the concept that Heidegger is emphasizing. He distinguishes between a look or ‘something thematic’, on the one hand, and a ‘manner of regulation’, on the other, with emphasis placed on the latter as the principal characteristic of the concept. We are told above that ‘[what is] meant is in general only capable of being meant to the extent that it is represented as what regulates the possible belonging of this interconnectedness within an empirical look’ (KPM 67; 95; my emphases). So a concept can only apply in general, to the many, that is, can only be a concept, to the extent that it can be represented as that which regulates a possible appearing within a particular look. But it is the act of regulation towards a possibility and not the look that is the concept.

The stress on the distinction between the concept as something with a content and something which regulates is developed further:

This making-sensible not only yields no immediate look of the concept as unity, but rather this [unity] is not even meant thematically as the suspended content of a representation. Only as regulative unity is the conceptual unity what it can and must be as unifying. The unity is not grasped, but rather only if we look away from it [wenn von ihr wegsehen wird] in its determining of the rule is it then just as substantially the regulation which is determined in the view. This looking-away-from-it [dieses Von-ihr-wegsehen] does not lose sight of it in general, but rather has in view precisely the unity as regulative…

The rule is represented in the ‘how’ of its regulating, i.e. according to how it regulates the presentation dictated within the presenting look. The representing of the ‘how’ is the free ‘imaging’ [‘Bilden’] of a making-sensible as the providing of an image in the sense just characterized, an imaging which is not bound to a determinate something at hand. (KPM 67–68; 96)

Philosophy has traditionally regarded the concept as ‘the representing of unity which applies to many’, when, according to Heidegger, ‘proper conceptual representation’ occurs as a ‘process of regulation’ that ‘govern[s] the providing of the image’. While we might ordinarily think that a concept, as a unity, possesses a theme whose content can appear in a representation, this understanding does not apply; we cannot talk about the schema-image as possessing content. Instead, ‘proper conceptual representation’, for Heidegger, is ‘the “how” of [the concept’s] regulating’, which is ‘the free “imaging” [“Bilden”] of a making-sensible as … an imaging which is not bound to a determinate something at hand’ (KPM 67–68; 96).

But how are we to make sense of the notion of something being ‘in view’ only ‘if we look away from it’? The ‘it’ from which we are looking away is conceptual unity. It’s not the case that Heidegger literally expects conceptual unity to be something visible that can be seen and turned away from, since the action of looking away is being used to characterize a process that generates experience. On this basis, ‘looking away from’ does not refer literally to a sequence of experience, but is rather another motif that uses the theme of incomplete looking to characterize the operation of the schematism. To reiterate the claim from the final sentence in the first quoted paragraph: the looking away from the regulative unity of the concept is not a ‘losing sight of’ the unity, but is rather ‘precisely’ the holding in view of the unity as regulative (KPM 68; 96).

But again, how can a ‘looking away from’ be a ‘holding in view’? The original sentence runs: ‘Dieses Von-ihr-wegsehen verliert sie nicht überhaupt aus dem Blick, sondern hat so gerade die Einheit als regelnde im Vorblick’ (KPM 68; 96). ‘Gerade’, as an adjective, can mean ‘direct’, ‘straight’, ‘immediate’, and as an adverb, which is its usage here, can mean ‘directly’, ‘immediately’, ‘just’, ‘precisely’. The adverb which precedes it, ‘so’, adds emphasis, much as the word does in English, as in ‘the plan was so precisely laid out’. ‘This looking-away-from-it [dieses Von-ihrwegsehen] … has in view precisely the unity as regulative’ (KPM 68; 96; emphasis added). Acknowledging the contribution made by ‘so gerade’, it would appear as if the conflicting concepts of ‘looking away from’ and ‘holding in view’ have been purposefully thrown together. But to what end? The only contender answer would seem to be an understanding of ‘having in view’ that involves ‘looking away from’, but what this could be is not yet apparent.

3. Indeterminacy and Temporality

As contradictory as the motif of ‘looking-away’ might be, and as ambiguous as the earlier notions of ‘not coming to rest’ and ‘sketching out’ might be, I think they can nevertheless be shown to play a constructive and coherent role in Heidegger’s retrieval of the schematism. In order to do this, I need to establish two things: (1) the importance of indeterminacy for the concept of image, and (2) the significance of the fact that this analysis is set within an attempt to articulate the schema as a principle of temporality, in accordance with its Kantian role as a transcendental determination of time. The indeterminate image and temporality, as I shall show, are connected.

With (1), the image tends to be theorized in philosophy as something that represents something else, where representation is achieved either on account of the image resembling its object in some way (e.g., theories from Plato and, more recently, Hopkins 1998 and Hyman 2006) or on account of a connection being established independently of similarity by convention (e.g., from Goodman 1968). However, a third theory has emerged recently which formulates the image in a completely different way. According to Gottfried Boehm (2009), the purpose of an image is to show potentiality, to create a sense of the possible, with likeness being a secondary consequence. Indeterminacy is integral to what it means to be an image, since it is the lack of determinacy that leaves room for the suggestion of possibilities. If this has a phenomenological ring to it, then that is to be expected, given that Boehm traces the originating idea back to Husserl’s concept of ‘appresentation’ applied to the visual perception of objects (Boehm 2009: 226–27). We only perceive the front of an object, or the facet that is turned towards us at the time of looking. The back of the object, assuming the object is not just a visual prop without a back, always has the potential to appear differently whilst confirming the identity of the object. Images, Boehm asserts, also ‘present fronts exclusively’ (2009: 227). This is not to affirm that an image resembles one half of the object or supplies one half of the appearance of the object (the half facing us), but that what is depicted is a manifestation of the image-maker’s contact with the object at that time, and therefore always leaves open the possibility that the object will appear differently in any prior or succeeding moment, as image-maker and object move in relation to one another.

The images that Boehm gives as examples are typically paintings from early modernism, e.g., from Claude Monet and Paul Cézanne. In the latter’s paintings of Montagne Sainte Victoire, rather than have each brushstroke work to complete a shape that corresponds to a single, specific aspect of the mountain, each one is instead

definitively indeterminate … One can never say what this or that ‘tache’ means. In its individual colour-shapes, the image retreats so to speak into complete muteness, into lack of referentiality. But in doing so, it intensifies the potentiality that we mobilize when we contextualize the individual elements and ‘realize’ them as constellations of a whole. (Boehm 2009: 220)

This is a very different understanding from the conventional concept of an image as an imitation or representation of a scene, in the style of Plato’s mirror held up to reality. The ‘mirror image’ model assumes that there is a world, and that its appearance is then duplicated; the image is a complete and self-contained representation of an object that is itself a complete and self-contained entity. In contrast, the ‘indeterminacy’ model takes the image to be incomplete because, instead of being an isolated, self-contained entity, it is part of the same world in which object and image-maker find themselves. It is ‘the logic of the image’ (to use Boehm’s phrase) to manifest this indeterminacy through the marks or taches that make up the image as traces of the image-maker’s situation in the world, which includes the nature of their interest in the object, and the attitude with which they interact with the image-making technologies, e.g., paper, pencil, drawing board, table surface. Indeterminateness, therefore, constitutes the logic of the image for Boehm, since it provides the ‘muteness’ or ‘lack of referentiality’ that is able to accommodate the potentiality of appearance and approach that will characterize the image-maker’s encounter with the object.

It could be argued that not all images are indeterminate in the way Boehm claims. It would seem that he is seeking to make universal the properties he finds in early modern painting, and failing to account for the kind of representation found in highly determinate images, such as renaissance paintings and photographs. I think it is possible to defend indeterminacy as the basis of a theory of depiction, but this, together with an appraisal of how the theory stands in relation to the competing notions of resemblance and convention, must remain subjects for another paper.7 As far as this paper is concerned, it is sufficient that Boehm’s theory helps us to understand Heidegger’s use of the concept of image.

With Boehm, it looks as if it might be possible to consider ‘not coming to rest’, ‘sketching out’ and ‘looking away from’ as expressions of the indeterminacy that, on his account, is integral to an image’s capacity to represent. In turn, this suggests that it might be possible to recognize how an image can perform its schematic role not through resemblance or convention but through signalling the potential of what might emerge through an encounter with an object.

Before we proceed to examine more closely how Boehm’s theory can help to explicate Heidegger’s motifs of incompleteness, it will be useful to remind ourselves of the context in which Heidegger is working. His analysis is an attempt to articulate the schema as a principle of temporality. It might have been expected that the value of the notion of an incomplete image to the schematism was that its partiality could act as a bridge between concept and intuition, offering a variety of vague, sketchy appearances that would enable a concept, that applies to many, to meet with and determine a singular, particular intuition. This would be the direction of analysis if Boehm’s theory were to be applied to Kant’s schematism, since Kant’s argument for the necessity of the categories for experience relies upon time and empirical intuition occurring as a series of individual ‘nows’ or ‘individual representations [einzelne Vorstellungen]’ which have to be rendered intelligible by a category (CPR A 97).8

This is not the case with Heidegger. Temporality, on his account, is the ontological structure which determines the nature of being in the world. This is time understood not empirically, as a succession of nows, but primordially, as that which ‘allows time as a sequence of nows to spring forth’ (KPM 123; 175–76). The paradigm of an act of perception, receiving something which is present in a single now, overlooks the consideration that a single now could never be intuited. Each now, Heidegger argues, has

an essentially continuous extension in its having-just-arrived and its coming-at-any-minute [Soeben und Sogleich]. The taking-in-stride [Das Hinnehmen] of pure intuition [as the structure which enables intuition to be received] must in itself give the look of the now, so that indeed it looks ahead to its coming-at-any-minute and looks back on its having-just-arrived. (KPM 122; 174)

This fundamental concept of time is referred to as ‘primordial time’ or ‘temporality’, and is ontological on account of the fact that it self-generates the conditions necessary for being in the world, that is, for an encounter with a world. Primordial time, Heidegger writes, ‘is pure affection of itself’:

it is precisely what in general forms something like the ‘from-out-of-itself-towards-there… [das Von-sich-aus-hin-zu-auf]’ so that the upon-which [das Worauf-zu] looks back and into the previously named toward-there… [das vorgenannte Hin-zu]. (KPM 132; 189; original ellipses)

The most important point here as far as this study of the schematism is concerned is that primordial time is recognized to be an action in three stages: a ‘from-out-of-itself’ that leads to an ‘upon-which’, that in turn looks back to the ‘previously-named-towards-there’. Heidegger also refers to these stages as prefiguring (Vorbildung), form-giving (Abbildung) and reproduction (Nachbildung).9 Pure intuition, Heidegger writes, ‘can only form the pure succession of the sequence of nows as such if in itself it is a prefiguring, [form-giving] and reproducing [vor-, abund nachbildende] power of the imagination’ (KPM 123; 175; quotation amended).10 Churchill’s translation of the passage is looser, but his imagery is helpful. Primordial time:

is that in general which forms something on the order of a line of orientation which going from the self is directed toward … in such a way that the objective thus constituted springs forth and surges back along this line. (KPMC 194; original ellipsis)

The action might be pictured as the drawing of a circle or an ellipse: the original burgeoning forth of the proposition of an object, the pulling round as the object is held in the present, and then the pulling back towards the self as the object’s passing away completes the process of succession.

Identifying Heidegger’s primordial time as the context in which to understand the schema-image is decisive, because it gives the property of incompleteness new significance. Heidegger is emphatic on the relation between the imagination and time. The imagination, he declares, forms time: ‘pure imagining … which is called pure because it forms its fabric [Gebilde] from out of itself, as in itself relative to time, must first of all form time’ (KPM 123; 175). However, he does not recall his motifs for imagery and apply them to his account of primordial time. This is what I propose to do. Each of the stages of ‘looking forward to’, ‘holding in view’, and ‘looking back on’ is not a moment in empirical or ontic time, that is, time ordinarily conceived as a flow or sequence, but part of the primordial, ontological action of anticipation, holding, and retention that creates the continuity necessary for experience to flow in time.

Because the level of this analysis is ontological, i.e., an account of the structure that is necessary for experience to occur, the images we are discussing should be not be understood as images or views abiding within a continuous, coherent sequence of experience, i.e., should not be treated as empirical or ontic events (to use Heidegger’s term for the empirical). It is the concept of the schema as an image that is under discussion. This amounts to saying that, in any one instance, no particular image as a two-dimensional form with line, shape and colour, laid out on a surface that is encountered in experience, is being entertained. Rather, ‘image’ is understood as a schematizing action that enables pure concepts to structure intuition through a series of indeterminacies-towards-determination, where the ‘indeterminacies’ are to be understood as any kind of shaping, sculpting or chunking of experience into a meaningful, i.e., temporal, sequence of events. This, in turn, is within the ‘philosophical space’ carved out as ‘transcendental’ by Kant, and ‘ontological’ by Heidegger, that is, the scope of concepts and relations that one can argue must apply in order for experience to be possible. In the analysis that follows, I refer to the ‘marks’ that make up an image, but this is to denote the constituent elements of an image that are occurring within the ontological space opened up by Heidegger, and not to indicate empirical, physical marks on paper or another surface.11

4. ‘Not Coming to Rest’, ‘Sketching Out’ and ‘Looking Away From’ in Time

If we consider the significance of an indeterminate image in relation to the stages of ‘looking forward to’, ‘holding in view’, and ‘looking back on’, it is not correspondence that is the goal but continuity. This is a redefinition of the problem of how a concept can be schematized to determine an intuition. It is moved away from the perplexities of concept–intuition correspondence towards what is required for the continuity of experience, on the understanding that if the continuity of experience has been established, then a concept must have been schematized to determine an intuition, for this is how stable, continuous experience is generated within Kant’s system. It is the ‘looking back on’ that creates the possibility of the entire action being about the same object. This, I think, is one of the main insights that Heidegger’s concept of schema-image brings. An account of the mechanism that explains the application of concepts to intuitions cannot be given in terms that derive from concepts or intuitions, without ascribing priority to one side or the other. Instead, an account of the creation of continuity is provided: (a) because this is the real work of the conceptual organization of intuition; and (b) as I shall now demonstrate, it allows images for the operation of the schematism to display continuity while also allowing for concept and intuition to remain in a state of play. Why is this desirable? Because, again, to try to finalize their operation in binary terms will have to attribute determination to either one side or the other, and neither outcome is an accurate reflection of Kant’s epistemology. And because it respects Heidegger’s declaration that the true nature of conceptual activity is the struggle to hold experience together as a sequence in the face of a play of possibilities, and not the mere act of containment (in the sense that a particular gains its identity according to whether or not it belongs to a concept) to which it has been reduced by philosophy.

The question we need to consider as a result, I suggest, is how Heidegger’s descriptions of the indeterminate image operate in relation to the ontological sequence of anticipation, holding, and retention. This means the contribution of the indeterminate image to the sequence is not to move in two stages from incompleteness to completion, which might be imagined as a full and representative depiction of the object of experience, but to express the creation of continuity.

I propose to tackle each motif in turn. The notion of ‘sketching out’ seems to be closest to what is customarily understood by picturing. Anticipation, it could be argued, is readily displayed by the first few strokes of a pencil on paper. These marks could be taken to delineate a number of different kinds of object: are they the outlines or principal lines of structure of a house, a container, a car, a slide, etc.? We are looking forward in anticipation, but are not quite sure what to expect. It would be easy to interpret the subsequent stages of ‘holding’ and ‘retention’ as lines and marks being added to the sketch, to the point where the level of detail leaves us in no doubt as to the kind of object we have encountered. But again, it is continuity, and not the fixing of identities, that is the principal aim of primordial time.

Holding and retention can also be understood as aspects of ‘sketching out’. The value of additional lines or marks in a sketch is that they need to be made in relation to the lines or marks that already exist in order for the image to progress towards being a depiction of an object. An image can only display potentiality if its various marks, colours and textures play off against each other, one mark hinting that it might suggest something in relation to another mark, etc. When drawing a sketch, the position of the fourth mark is determined with reference to the position of the first, second and third marks. The placing of the fourth mark though does not necessarily finalize what all four marks signify, but rather provides another element of play. This constitutes a form of holding in the sense that the fourth mark has ‘to hold on to’ the first, second and third marks in order for its position on the paper to contribute to the play of possibilities. Thus, the value of the ‘sketch’ motif to Heidegger’s account of the schematism lies not in its being a depiction of an object, but in the fact that, in order to be a depiction, each mark has to be held together with other marks on the paper in order for them to constitute a picture, with the ‘holding together’ being the action that creates continuity.

The second characterization of the incomplete image presents it as something that does not come to rest. It occurs, if we recall, in Heidegger’s assertion that any one of the appearings—the determinate one that has occurred, or any of the ones that have failed—holds ‘just as much “interest for us”’, with the implication that the image, instead of being a particular image, is in a state in which it is permanently transforming itself into other possible versions to attract our interest (KPM 67; 95). It appears to be a contradiction: how can the concept of an image that does not come to rest be understood as a single image? However, a coherent understanding can be formed if it is recognized that the image does not come to rest because it is displaying an array of possibilities. That is to say, it lets neither the eye nor interpretation settle because its marks remain open to suggesting this possibility, that possibility or another. This could be an image where it is not quite clear what it is depicting, as in a sense of ‘could be this, could be that, could be something other’ (hereafter ‘this-that-other’), or where the identity of the object is apparent but not fully determined, as in ‘a house where these features are prominent, or another set of features, or another, etc.’ (hereafter ‘these features or others’). True to the meaning of ‘anticipation’ and to the first, ‘looking forward to’-stage of primordial time, anticipation is an act in which there is an idea of what to expect, but not certainty. It is therefore understandable that the image in question will express a sense of either ‘this-that-other’ or ‘these features or others’ so as to accommodate possibilities other than the kind that will eventually become the object of the encounter.

However, if an image that never comes to rest is now to be understood as one that displays an array of possibilities, this does not seem to help with the depiction of the stages of holding and retention, since the actions of holding and retention imply that something is fixed and maintained and, therefore, not in a state of shifting possibilities. But it is a mistake to interpret the holding and retention stages of primordial time in terms of the need to secure an image that represents the object we are about to encounter in full, i.e., a ‘complete’ image, in the sense that it corresponds strongly with the object. This assumes either that experience is underway and that we are in a situation where we can compare an image with an object, or that the middle stage of primordial time’s three stages functions by being an image that corresponds strongly with the object we are about to encounter. Neither is the case.

The holding stage is not a culmination but merely the middle of the process that is seeking to construct continuity. If anything, it is the beginning of the possibility of holding, the beginning of the possibility of there being something to hold, to be ‘upon-which’ or ‘towards-which’. This second stage is the first inkling we get that initial anticipation is an opening on to something that may be retained, something that we may hold on to. The same can be said of retention or ‘looking back on’. It might again seem to suggest a state in which we have a complete grasp of an object, and therefore that we should be picturing an image that is ‘complete’, that represents the object we are about to encounter in full. But the ‘looking back’ is not a confirmatory ‘looking-back’, a glance to confirm the identity of an object whose nature is already determined, since this assumes that the means to identify the object is already in place, when we are attempting to articulate a fundamental, ontological structure that is operating at the level of the conditions necessary for any being to occur. Rather, the ‘looking back’ is a turning (like a turning of the head) that establishes that it is the same thing that is being looked-back-upon, where this same thing can may still retain the ambiguity of ‘this-that-other’ (as in ‘it’s the same thing, but I’m still not quite sure what it is’) or of ‘these features or others’. The ‘looking back on’ is a step which ensures that the move from anticipation to holding continues and, in so doing, creates the continuity necessary for the entire action to be about the same object.

An image that never comes to rest, understood as one that displays an array of possibilities, can realize these actions on the grounds that the movement from one possibility, to another, and then to a third, and so on, enacts continuity or brings continuity with it. A picture that conveys ‘this-that-other’ or ‘these features or others’ binds together the actions of anticipation, holding and retention on account of the fact that the movement from one interpretation to another casts a line, from one to the other, and therefore sets out continuity. Ironically, the action of ‘looking back on’ performed by an image that displays an array of possibilities could be construed as the act of looking back on one possibility as attention moves on to another. It is arguably a major part of the appeal of indeterminate images, of the kind highlighted by Boehm, that they encourage a sense of moving on. Further examples in this regard may be drawn from Sergei Eisenstein’s study of Walt Disney, where he asserts that Disney’s drawings, e.g., of Mickey Mouse, while possessing ‘a definite appearance’, nevertheless display what Eisenstein refers to as a ‘plasmaticness’: a fluidity of line and shape which suggests that the forms depicted are made from a ‘primal protoplasm’ that is ‘capable of assuming any form’ in the next instant (Eisenstein & Leyda 2017: 32).

Of Heidegger’s three characterizations of incomplete viewing, the motif of ‘looking away from’ is arguably the one that is the hardest to interpret as an image for primordial time. The original lines, to remind ourselves, run:

[Regulative, conceptual] unity is not grasped, but rather only if we look away from it [wenn von ihr wegsehen wird] in its determining of the rule is it then just as substantially the regulation which is determined in the view. This looking-away-from-it [dieses Von-ihr-wegsehen] does not lose sight of it in general, but rather has in view precisely the unity as regulative. (KPM 67–68; 96)

How can a ‘looking away from’ nevertheless offer a regulative unity ‘in view’? I think the former can constitute the latter if Boehm’s concept of an indeterminate image is considered, and if it is acknowledged that the job of a regulative unity is to establish continuity. The difference that Boehm’s indeterminate image makes is that it presents the image not as the mere representation of an object, but as an expression of how the image-maker might come to terms with the object as it occurs in the environment, which it shares with the image-maker. The marks that make up the image are traces of the image-maker’s situation in the world, which includes the nature of their interest in the object, and the attitude with which they interact with the image-making technologies, e.g., paper, pencil, drawing board. As such, a ‘looking away from’ the object can be part of the process of drawing the object, in the sense that the image-maker is attending to the wider environment in which both they and the object are located.

The ‘looked away from’ image, understood as a facet of the process whereby one beholds an object within an environment, can also articulate the primordial process of anticipation, holding and retention. Anticipation, in its original formulation, is ‘what in general forms something like the “from-out-of-itself-towards-there… [das Von-sich-aus-hin-zu-auf]”’ (KPM 132; 189). In terms of the production of an image where there is emphasis on the image-maker’s status as an embodied, located being, anticipation will be manifest through the way in which the materials and technologies to be used gather themselves in preparation to address the environment. This will include a sense of how well the materials and technologies can perform in the environment in order to function, as any artist who has attempted to set up an easel on a windswept mountainside will testify. ‘Looking away from’ and anticipation are conjoined here in as much as it is not the object of study that is the centre of attention, but the ‘away from’ surroundings, including materials, as they orient themselves to allow for the creation of an image.

Holding and retention would appear to be the stages that are more difficult to explicate in terms of a ‘looked away from’ image. But the difficulty only persists if we fall back into assuming that the purpose of the exercise is to explain how looking away from an object can amount to holding on to and retaining it. This though is not the point. Instead, the point is to be able to conceive how a ‘looked away from’ image might be able to display the holding and retaining that are required for continuity. This the ‘looked away from’ image is able to achieve in as much as any mark that is made on the paper, as an expression of the image-maker’s contact with the object in its environment, involves movement from the act of anticipating the materials required, taking up a stance (the holding) whereby object, materials and image-maker are oriented in relation to one another, followed by the acting out of that orientation (the retention) so that a gesture leaves a mark on or across the paper. An example might be a brushstroke on the surface of Cézanne’s canvas depicting Montagne Sainte Victoire, where the brushstroke can be interpreted not simply as a mark that resembles a stretch of mountainside but as an expression of how Cézanne moved his arm in relation to the canvas on its easel on the mountainside. The ‘looked away from’ image is therefore able to articulate primordial continuity on account of its being a series of traces left by the anticipation, holding and retention that are performed by the image-maker as they interact with their materials, the object and their shared environment. A concern might be that analysis has moved away from the image (an object) to image-making (a process), but it needs to be remembered that the importance of indeterminacy in an image, for Boehm, is that it expresses possibilities. Rather than be a full or precise representation, the indeterminate image leaves room for viewers to consider the possible ways in which they might interact with the object if they were in a similar situation.

5. Conclusion

The context for this analysis has been Heidegger’s retrieval of Kant’s schema-image, where Heidegger’s intention is not to make Kant’s account coherent on its own terms, but to explore how the transcendental work to which Kant puts the image can serve Heidegger’s own ontological project. The problem is that both Kant and Heidegger employ puzzling, if not to say mysterious, characterizations of the image, with the puzzlement created largely by themes of change, indeterminacy and distraction that depart from what an image is ordinarily understood to be. In particular, the actions of ‘not coming to rest’, ‘sketching out’ and ‘looking away from’ seem to do little to explain how, in Heidegger’s words, the schema-image brings ‘the [unifying] rule [of the schema] into the sphere of possible intuitability’ (KPM 70; 96).

My contribution is perhaps best described as an exercise in architectonic clarification. It has been to show how the descriptions that Heidegger gives of the schema-image can be understood as coherent motifs. The coherence lies in the fact that the concept of image has been shown to have a flexibility that can accommodate the qualities of self-generation, continuity and openness to objects required by an architectonic that is seeking to construct an ontology that sets the conditions for the possibility of experience (as opposed to an ontology that imposes a structure on experience). This has been achieved by drawing upon Boehm’s theory of the indeterminate image, and by emphasizing the significance of temporality in the articulation of Heidegger’s fundamental ontology. The result is an appreciation of the image as a piece of ontological apparatus that can bring ‘the [unifying] rule [of the schema] into the sphere of possible intuitability’ by embodying the three-stage temporal process of anticipation, holding and retention while simultaneously displaying the sense of possibility that defines the openness to intuition, i.e., any empirical encounter.

A key feature of this turn towards the constructive indeterminacy of an image in relation to time is the focus on continuity rather than the content of a concept or the identity of an intuition, which inevitably gets caught up in the difficulties of the one and the many. The value of this indeterminacy is that it allows the image to be in a condition that can offer variety across time, in contrast to the conventional notion of an image as a singular and static representation. In turn, the value of variety across time is that it is open to the different appearances that occur within experience, and that these differences are the reference points that bind together a sequence as part of the process of constructing continuity.

The last two paragraphs cover what I think are the main contributions that this analysis makes to Heideggerian scholarship. As I noted at the start of the paper, the role played by the concept of image in Heidegger’s retrieval of the schematism is not the subject of widespread attention within Heidegger studies. One reason for this, I have suggested, might be that the book which is seen as the principle articulation of Heidegger’s account of primordial time, Being and Time, only refers to the schematism in order to note that its potential as a means of rethinking temporality lies undeveloped in Kant’s system (BT 23–24). However, while the concept of image in Heidegger’s retrieval of the schematism has been overlooked, I think I am doing more than merely excavating a long-forgotten topic on the fringes of phenomenology. In addition to the architectonic clarification described above, I think there is a line of enquiry here that has the potential to move from the periphery towards the centre. This is the bearing it could have upon how the self-declared ‘turn’ or ‘die Kehre’ in Heidegger’s philosophy is understood. The turn, as he describes it in the 1947 Letter on Humanism, is something of which he is aware at the time of writing Being and Time, and is first made manifest through the book being published incomplete. The third division of the first part, ‘Time and Being’, is held back because it seeks to express an arrangement in which ‘everything is reversed’ but ‘fail[s] in the adequate saying of this turning and [does] not succeed with the help of the language of metaphysics’ (Heidegger 1993: 231–32). The turn, plotted through the order in which Heidegger’s texts appear, involves the movement from an ontology that is rooted in the temporality of human experience (Being and Time (1927) and Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics (1929)) to one that has truth or aletheia as its structure (proposed in the ‘Origin of the Work of Art’ essay from 1936, and Contributions to Philosophy (From Enowning) from 1936–38).

Now is not the time to go into detail on the shifts in thinking that define the turn, but the topic is raised here briefly on two accounts. Firstly, although the schematism only features in Being and Time as a potentially important term that is dismissed by Kant, the concept of temporality that Heidegger develops in the book is nevertheless one whose meaning is open to being considered in the light of the indeterminate image. Temporality, Heidegger argues towards the end of the book, can only generate the conditions necessary for being in the world if it has an ‘as-structure’, that is, if it offers a structure whereby something can come to appear as something (BT 360–61). Again, this is not the claim that perception operates on the basis of seeing-as, i.e., seeing an object as a house or as a tree, for Heidegger’s analysis is focused on pre-predicative understanding. Instead, the process is one of circumspection (die Umsicht): ‘a manner as to let that in which something has an involvement, be seen circumspectively as this very thing’ (BT 360). The indeterminacy of the image, it seems to me, can apply directly to the process whereby a thing on the outer edges of a Dasein’s practical, careful engagement in a situation comes into sharp relief as a specific, ‘deliberated’ item. It is precisely the work of the indeterminate image to be the series of marks that displays the continuity underlying how an object might manifest itself to an image-maker within their shared environment.

Secondly, the concept of art acquires major ontological importance in Heidegger’s later writings, and I think it is possible that the work to which the image is put in Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics may have some bearing upon how art is approached after the turn. Interestingly, the Kant book, which was to have been the second division of the first part of Being and Time, is published two years later, in 1929, implying that it might not fail in the adequate saying of the turning in the same way that the third division does. Art becomes important ontologically for Heidegger not in the sense that he wants to pursue the ontology of art for its own sake, with, for example, questions such as ‘what is art?’, ‘is art an object or experience?’, but because he positions art as ‘a distinctive way in which truth [aletheia] comes into being’, or as that which ‘lets truth originate’ (OWA: 49). ‘Truth’ and ‘origin’ are ontological terms for Heidegger. While not identical in meaning, both denote the ontological action whereby being springs forth into being: ‘aletheia’ is commonly translated as ‘unconcealment’ or ‘disclosure’, and it is emphasized by Heidegger himself that ‘origin’ is to be taken in its literal sense of ‘Ursprung’, or ‘primal leap’ (OWA: 49). In Being and Time, and the Kant book, it is temporality that is responsible for this action of self-projection: the original burgeoning forth of the proposition of an encounter, the pulling round as the encounter is held in the present, and then the pulling back as the encounter’s passing away completes the process of succession. What my account of the image in the Kant book brings to Heidegger’s turn is the recognition that the image as a concept is already performing an ontological springing-forth action prior to the turn. As such, it bears comparison with the post-turn studies made by Heidegger in the ‘Origin’ essay of how artworks, such as a temple and van Gogh’s depiction of a pair of peasant shoes, allow truth as disclosure to leap forth (OWA: 13–16, 20–24).

In particular, both Boehm’s indeterminate image and Heidegger’s art as ‘truth setting itself to work’ are claimed by their respective authors to amount to the construction of a ‘world’. With Boehm, the indeterminacy of the image expresses the scope of interaction that the image-maker can have with their environment by suggesting or leaving room for the possibilities that the image-maker could in principle realize. With Heidegger, one of the many definitions given of ‘artwork’ is ‘to set up a world’, although care needs to be taken with regard to the precise meaning of ‘world’ (OWA: 22). The peasant woman has a world, we are told, ‘because she dwells in the openness of beings’, in which ‘all things gain their lingering and hastening, their distance and proximity, their breadth and their limits’ (OWA: 23). Interestingly, while Heidegger asserts that it is the work of art that sets up a world, no mention is made by him of how the shoe-owning peasant woman’s world is opened up by the brushstrokes on van Gogh’s canvas, how the toil of brush against canvas might express the lingerings and hastenings of her life. Nevertheless, a reading could be given of van Gogh’s painting in line with Heidegger’s theory of art to create a similarity between his and Boehm’s accounts. This would be along the lines of their both taking the artwork or image to be the intimation of a network of embodied cares and concerns that determines the potential of the situation depicted. The point to remember though is that this would infer continuity between a theory that belongs to early Heidegger and one that comes after the turn.


  1. Abbreviations used are detailed along with full bibliographic information at the end of the article. [^]
  2. Longuenesse only considers the image in Kant to the extent that it can help to elucidate the concepts of ‘number’ and ‘magnitude’ (1998: 257–63, 266–71). [^]
  3. Pippin (1976) criticizes the very idea of the schematism. The concepts of ‘image’ and ‘schema’, he asserts, only serve to repeat the ‘one over many’ problem for which the schematism, on his account, is offered as a solution. Although Sellars departs from Kant’s text, he nevertheless presents the notion of an ‘image-model’ which, he believes, ‘contain[s] the gist of the Kantian scheme’ (1978: 231). Sellars’ ‘image-model’ is an image that depicts not an object whole (if there could ever be such a thing), but the object as it would be seen from the subject’s point of view (1978: 238–41). But this makes the image a matter of perspective, and not the mediator between particularity and generality sought by Kant. The schematic operation of the image, Matherne declares, is to be ‘a representation that serves as something like a stencil that guides imaginative synthesis’ (2015: 763). It is also ‘a sensible representation of how the various marks of the concept “dog” show up in a holistic way, which would apply to visually dissimilar dogs’ (2015: 765). It would appear that Matherne believes her description of the schematic image to be one that presents the operation as coherent. But it does not explain what it means for a particular image to be able to apply ‘holistically’ to dissimilar cases, and to act as a ‘stencil’ for dissimilar cases. The ‘one over many’ problem raises its head once again. [^]
  4. None of the recent work on Heidegger, Kant and time addresses the nature of the schema-image. I am thinking of the works: Artemenko (2015), Blattner (1999; 2004), De Boer and Howard (2018), Han-Pile (2005), and Serck-Hanssen (2015). [^]
  5. Weatherston (2002: 168–70) focuses on the incongruity between category and image, but rather than pursue Heidegger’s attempt to overcome this incongruity through his notion of ‘schema-image’, the relevant sections in the text are skipped (2002: 168–70). A second study, from Khurana (2013), proposes that the relation between schema and image in Heidegger is a form of abstraction that can be illuminated by consulting examples of abstraction in modern art. While the introduction of abstraction to the territory is novel, there is unfortunately no textual basis for the schematism–abstraction connection. The concept of abstraction is itself highly problematic, and the references to abstraction in art made by Khurana do not illuminate the performance of the schema as an image. Finally, Golob considers the meaning that ‘image’ might have for Heidegger’s interpretation of Kant as a result of his work on Greek ontology in The Basic Problems of Phenomenology (2012). The schema, Golob affirms, is able to bring category and intuition into relation because it presents a prior image that is an ‘exact likeness’ of the anticipated object (2012: 360). But this is open to question, since it contradicts most of Heidegger’s own claims regarding the image in the Kant book, and it is impossible for there to be an exact likeness between a pure concept and an empirical intuition. [^]
  6. Weatherston suggests that Kant’s ‘schema’ is ‘essentially the same’ as Heidegger’s ‘schema-image’ (Weatherston 2002: 171). But I don’t think this is right. The schema, for Kant, is the ‘formal and pure condition of the sensibility’ which allows the pure synthesis, in accord with a rule of unity according to concepts in general, expressed by a category (CPR A 140, B 179). The schema is not an image because ‘the synthesis [performed by the imagination] … has as its aim no individual intuition but rather only the unity in the determination of sensibility’ (CPR A 140, B 179). This is what Kant means when he also refers to the schema as the ‘representation of a general procedure… [for] providing a concept with its image’ (CPR A 140, B 179–80). What Heidegger emphasizes with his notion of the schema-image is that the schema, as the representation of a procedure for generating an image, has its own ‘image-character’ (KPM 68; 97). There is something to the ‘image-character’ of the achievement of unity in the determination of sensibility that is important, and that will be overlooked if we don’t draw out what is happening within the representation of a procedure for generating an image. This distinction is lost if ‘schema’ and ‘schema-image’ are classed as being ‘essentially the same’. [^]
  7. Highly determinate images, it could be argued, are images that have had their indeterminacy removed through production processes that involve a high degree of fixing or pinning-down detail, e.g., tracing the outlines of shapes that appear on the screen in a camera obscura, or the requirement for a photograph to be taken at a certain speed to avoid blurring. In other words, such imaging techniques are consistent with Boehm’s indeterminacy theory on the understanding that, while they include the capacity to display potentiality through indeterminacy, steps have nevertheless been taken to limit the capacity. [^]
  8. This is not to say there might be a way in which Boehm’s theory of the indeterminate image could be applied to solve Kant’s schematism. But the work to show how this new concept of the image might take its place at the centre of the transcendental power of judgment, and in the process reframe the schematism as an art no longer concealed but now practised in the open, must remain the job of another paper. [^]
  9. I have translated the middle of the three formative powers of the imagination, ‘abbildende Einbildungskraft’ or ‘Abbildung’, as ‘form-giving’, because I think this is closer to the sense required at this point. Taft gives the more literal version of ‘likeness-forming’, after ‘abbilden’, ‘to copy’ or ‘to reproduce’. However, shortly prior to this, Heidegger explains that ‘Abbildung’ in this context refers not to the production of a copy but, instead, to ‘form-giving [Bild-gebend] in the sense of the immediate distinguishing of the look of the object itself’ (KPM 123; 175). ‘Form-giving’ is therefore more appropriate because it captures the sense of generative power that is needed to present and hold on to something in the middle stage of the three-stage structure of primordial time. [^]
  10. The sequence of terms in the original quotation is unfortunate as they appear out of order: Abbildung, Vorbildung then Nachbildung. I have amended the order so that the terms are consistent with the three-stage action of a ‘from-out-of-itself’ that leads to an ‘upon-which’, that in turn looks back to the ‘previously-named-towards-there’. A form can only be given (Abbildung) if it is first pre-figured (Vorbildung). [^]
  11. It is for the same reason that the motifs of ‘not coming to rest’, ‘sketching out’ and ‘looking away from’ can include time, while being motifs that are used in an account that seeks to explain the ontological structure of time. The motifs are presentations of the imagination that are parts of the primordial process of forming time. Time is not presupposed as the presentations of the imagination are not offered as logical steps in the process. Instead, they are given as the situations—’not coming to rest’, ‘sketching out’ and ‘looking away from’—that allow shape, structure and direction to be given to anticipation, holding and retention. These are the situations that Heidegger suggests are generated in order for the image part of the schema-image to be more schema-like in achieving the unity in time necessary for the continuity of experience. [^]



Heidegger, Martin (1962). Being and Time (John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson, Trans.). Blackwell. Original work published 1927. References are to the pagination of the original German edition of the work (Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1953, 1986) given in the margins of this translation.


Kant, Immanuel (1998). Critique of Pure Reason. Paul Guyer and Allen W. Wood (Eds. and Trans.). Cambridge University Press.


Heidegger, Martin (1962). Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics. James S. Churchill (Trans.). Indiana University Press. Original work published 1929. References are to the pagination of the Churchill translation, followed by the pagination of the Gesamtausgabe edition: 2010. Gesamtausgabe Band 3: Kant und das Problem der Metaphysik, 2nd ed. Klostermann.


Heidegger, Martin (1997). Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics (5th ed., Richard Taft, Trans.). Indiana University Press. Original work published 1929. References are to the pagination of the Taft translation, followed by the pagination of the Gesamtausgabe edition: 2010. Gesamtausgabe Band 3: Kant und das Problem der Metaphysik, 2nd ed. Klostermann.


Heidegger, Martin (2002). The Origin of the Work of Art. In Martin Heidegger, Julian Young (Ed.), and Kenneth Haynes (Ed.), Off the Beaten Track (1–56). Cambridge University Press. Delivered originally as a lecture course, 1935–36.


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