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Second PhilosophyA Naturalistic Method$
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Penelope Maddy

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199273669

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199273669.001.0001

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Kant's transcendentalism

Kant's transcendentalism

(p.47) I.4 Kant's transcendentalism
Second Philosophy

Penelope Maddy (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Kant provides the first example of a recurring methodological contrast that sets the Second Philosopher's approach into high relief. In his effort to explain the source of our a priori information about the world — that the world consists of causally interrelated spatiotemporal objects — he proposes that space, time, and the categories are cognitive functions that shape the matter of experience to form the empirical world. The Second Philosopher will naturally ask for his evidence that spatiotemporal objects aren't fully objective, to which Kant responds that for her empirical purposes they are; his idealism is transcendental. From a second-philosophical point of view, this is mystifying: over and above her empirical studies, there is another, transcendental inquiry, pursued for reasons that elude her (she doesn't believe geometry is a priori, for example, so she has no need to explain this) and with methods that aren't made clear, let alone convincingly defended (transcendental analysis). For Kant, there are two distinct levels of inquiry; for the Second Philosopher, there is only one.

Keywords:   a priori knowledge, categories, geometry, empirical realism, transcendental idealism, two-level views

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