Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Amherst (1999)

Adrian Bardon
Wake Forest University
An anti-skeptical transcendental argument can be loosely defined as an argument that purports to show that some experience or knowledge of an external world is a necessary condition of our possession of some knowledge, concept, or cognitive ability that we know we have. In this dissertation I examine transcendental arguments by focusing on one such argument given by Immanuel Kant in his Critique of Pure Reason, along with some attempts to interpret that argument by contemporary commentators. ;I proceed by dividing anti-skeptical transcendental arguments into three types: epistemological, verificationist, and psychological. I examine arguments of the first two types and show why they cannot succeed against the skeptic. I then argue that Kant's Refutation of Idealism is of a different type: it is psychological in that it concerns the necessary conditions of our forming beliefs of certain kinds. Many contemporary Kant scholars have claimed that his anti-skeptical strategy relies on phenomenalism or verificationism; I argue, however, that Kant in the Refutation employs a clever and hitherto unappreciated strategy which involves an empiricist principle concerning the origin of simple ideas, and which does not require either phenomenalism or verificationism. I conclude with an analysis and assessment of Kant's argument
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Testability and Meaning.Rudolf Carnap - 1936 - Philosophy of Science 3 (4):419-471.
Other Bodies.Tyler Burge - 1982 - In Andrew Woodfield (ed.), Thought and Object. Oxford University Press.
Problems and Changes in the Empiricist Criterion of Meaning.Carl G. Hempel - 1950 - 11 Rev. Intern. De Philos 41 (11):41-63.
Testability and Meaning.Henry S. Leonard & Rudolf Carnap - 1937 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 2 (1):49.

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