In his argument for the possibility of knowledge of spatial objects, in the Transcendental Deduction of the B-version of the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant makes a crucial distinction between space as “form of intuition” and space as “formal intuition.” The traditional interpretation regards the distinction between the two notions as reflecting a distinction between indeterminate space and determinations of space by the understanding, respectively. By contrast, a recent influential reading has argued that the two notions can be fused into one and that space as such is first generated by the understanding through an act of synthesis of the imagination.
Against this reading, this article argues that a key characteristic of space as a form of intuition is its nonconceptual unity, which defines the properties of space and is as such necessarily independent of determination by the understanding through the transcendental synthesis of the imagination. The conceptual unity that the understanding prescribes to the manifold in intuition, by means of the categories, defines the formal intuition. Furthermore, this article argues that it is the sui generis, nonconceptual unity of space, when takenas a unity for the understanding by means of conceptual determination, that first enables geometric knowledge and knowledge of spatially located particulars.