I will pose a new question, directed to those who (as I do) find it helpful to think about Kant.
There are a few Kantians around who think that a properly Kantian ontology includes real causal powers. Eric Watkins is one well-known example. Anita Leirfall is a (perhaps) less well-known example, if only less well-known in some circles. Plainly, Kant does talk about the transcendental faculties, at least, as “powers.” Anita’s interventions have helped me to appreciate this. This is very clear in the 3rd Critique, especially. But there in the 3rd he is also so clear to stipulate that the “causality” of aesthetic judgement, for example, isn’t causality-proper, i.e., the kind that he tells us in the 1st C. is a transcendental rubric of necessity that holds vis-a-vis relations between phenomenal objects.
So the question – and it’s an honest one – is this: is it just the faculty of judgement that, for reasons specific to that faculty, will have to be a power but not a causal power? Why won’t this be the the case with respect to the other transcendental faculties, too? It seems that none of those powers can be causal powers, because causation just is the fact that, thanks to pure (theoretical) reason, we cannot help but experience events involving phenomenal objects as standing in lawful relations with one another. So it doesn’t seem as though any of the transcendental faculties could themselves be causal powers. (Even apart from this more general bar, I’m not seeing how the moral faculties – if pure practical reason &/or the will are thought to be powers – could be causal powers, as they are precisely what (purportedly) allows us to escape the hold of causal necessitation.
But what would a power that is not a causal power be, exactly? Is a power a “non-causal power” if it’s a power-to-do but not a power to produce an effect? Is such a thought coherent? [Jonathan Lowe sometimes talked that way about the will. He wanted it to be a “non-causal power” whereby causally powerful particulars productively cause effects that they have the causal powers to produce. I always found the very notion of “non-causal power” perplexing.]
I’m not sure if one can make it work out, for Kant, if one substitutes the account of causation in the 1st C. for every use of the concept of a power. That would be one option. The other would be to say that Kant himself falls back into non-Kantian talk about powers, i.e., powers that really must be construed as causal. [Though if Kant is as Watkins takes him to be (and thinks we should too) then this talk won’t be non-Kantian; by “non-Kantian” I mean only “does not appear to be the position defended in the 1st C., or something like that.]
I think I might be starting to think #2. A Hume-version of #2 is definitely what I’d say about Hume — have said. (Hume tells us explicitly that he’s going for #1, but it doesn’t work; he makes arguments that presuppose robust, oomphy powers.) Kant might be able to pull off #1 in his own case. But if he does, then this will not help the Kantian who wants to say that he/she holds the same ontology that the anti-passivist holds.
Very interested to hear from the Kantians in the crowd!