Volume 2, Issue 3, 2011
Skepticism and Varieties of Transcendental Argument
Transcendental arguments have been described as disclosing the necessary conditions of the possibility of phenomena as diverse as experience, self-knowledge and language. Although many theorists saw them as powerful means to combat varieties of skepticism, this optimism gradually waned as many such arguments turned out, on examination, to deliver much less than was originally thought. In this paper, I distinguish between two species of transcendental arguments claiming that they do not actually constitute distinct forms of reasoning by showing how they collapse into more familiar inferences. I then turn to the question of their epistemic potentials which I argue to be a function of both their types as well as their targets. Finally, these claims are reinforced by uncovering links between certain recent claims about the efficacy of transcendental arguments and the so-called Moore’s paradox.