Transcendental idealism and the problem of the external world

Journal of the History of Philosophy 49 (2):221-241 (2011)
Abstract
Kant's transcendental idealism is often praised for resolving antinomies and attacked for representationalism. Such an attitude prevailed even among Kant's contemporaries. As early as 1787 Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi noted that the "main advantage" of the doctrine that we cognize only appearances and not things in themselves is that it resolves the antinomical conflicts in which previous metaphysics was embroiled and thus "sets reason at rest." Yet, at the same time, Jacobi bemoaned that the transcendental idealist cannot consistently uphold the positive consequences of his "transcendental ignorance" without likewise accepting the negative consequence that his doctrine is tantamount to "speculative egoism,"1 insofar ..
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