Volume 19, 1994
Kant’s Refutation of Anti-Realism
In Language, Logic, and Experience, Michael Luntley successfully employs a Kantian-style transcendental argument to refute Michael Dummett’s anti-realist view that we are incapable of grasping “recognition-transcendent” truth-conditions. But he also contends that his own purified version of antirealism is immune to thi s sort of attack. This version is purified because it is concerned solely with the question of whether a given statement possesses a determinate truth value, and thus with whether the reality it is about exists determinately. I show that Kant’s original version of the argument (in the “Transcendental Analytic”) does in fact amount to a refutation of Luntleyan anti-realism. In particular, it demonstrates that the determinate existence of all past and present naturalistic states and events is a necessary condition of thought. Since Luntleyan anti-realism entails that many such states and events are indeterminate, it must be rejected.