In Edward Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford (2009)

Derk Pereboom
Cornell University
Among Immanuel Kant's most influential contributionsto philosophy is his development of the transcendental argument. InKant's conception, an argument of this kind begins with a compellingpremise about our thought, experience, or knowledge, and then reasonsto a conclusion that is a substantive and unobvious presupposition andnecessary condition of this premise. The crucial steps in thisreasoning are claims to the effect that a subconclusion or conclusionis a presupposition and necessary condition of a premise. Such anecessary condition might be a logically necessary condition, butoften in Kant's transcendental arguments the condition is necessary inthe sense that it is the only possible explanation for the premise,whereupon the necessity might be weaker than logical. Typically, thisreasoning is intended to be a priori in some sense, eitherstrict or more relaxed. The conclusion of the argument is often directed againstskepticism of some sort. For example, Kant's Transcendental Deductiontargets Humean skepticism about the applicability of a priorimetaphysical concepts, and his Refutation of Idealism takes aim atskepticism about external objects. These two transcendental argumentsare found in the Critique of Pure Reason, butsuch arguments are found throughout Kant's works, for example inthe Critique of Practical Reason, in the Critiqueof the Power of Judgment, and in the OpusPosthumum. This article focuses on theTranscendental Deduction, the Refutation of Idealism, and more recenttranscendental arguments such as P. F. Strawson's that areinspired by these two examples.
Keywords Kant  Transcendentalism
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