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Proceedings of the XXII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 15, 2008


Natascha Gruber
Pages 263-271

The Transformation of the Concept of the “Transcendental” in Anglo-American Analytic Philosophy

My presentation deals with developments and transformations of the concept of the transcendental within Anglo-American analytical philosophy. According to Kant – the “founding father” of transcendental philosophy – the methodical domain of the transcendental is to denote and to expose the a priori epistemic structure of human mind and cognition (perception, experience, knowledge), as well as to provide a priori foundations for normative ethics. Analytical philosophy has adopted the term of the transcendental, mostly within sceptical argumentations or for sceptical refutations. What is the methodological function of the transcendental in these debates, in the context of philosophical scepticism? My contribution tries to show that the notion of the transcendental becomes concave in analytical contexts. It might be appropriate to refute scepticism, but in these analytical contexts it’s not possible to deduct epistemic structures (e.g. categories, epistemic schemes) of experience and knowledge or to bridge the gap to foundations in ethics – one of the core goals in Kantian transcendental philosophy. What is the importance in transcendental analysis and reflection or is this term obsolete all together nowadays? My paper tries to discuss and mediate between various positions and ideas.

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