Can mental content externalism prove realism?

Recently, Kenneth Westphal has presented a highly interesting and innovative reading of Kant's critical philosophy.2 This reading continues a tradition of Kantscholarship of which, e.g., Paul Guyer's work is representative, and in which the antiidealistic potential of Kant's critical philosophy is pitted against its idealistic selfunderstanding. Much of the work in this tradition leaves matters at observing the tensions this introduces in Kant's work. But Westphal's proposed interpretation goes farther. Its attractiveness derives for the most part from the promise that it permits an internal critique of Kant's transcendental idealism (TI), that is, a critique that is based on the very resources of Kantian transcendental philosophy.3 In contrast to these resources, which currently seem to go through a sort of revival in an enormous array of fields, TI is notorious for dismaying even sympathetic interpreters. How attractive and needed such an internal critique of TI would be becomes all the more patent when we place such a promise in the context of some of the contemporary discussions about TI after Allison's famous defense of it. Before directly engaging with Westphal's interpretation, I would therefore like to quickly sketch on what background it acquires its force (I). After characterizing the main features of Westphal's view (II), and supporting it in more detail by an account of Kant's theory of cognitive significance (III), I then want to review the extent of its success to present Kant as issuing an anti-skeptical argument (IV.1), or semantic views that are incompatible with TI (IV.2), or a 'proof of not merely empirical realism' (IV.3). I agree that purely idealist readings of Kant are mistaken. Westphal's..
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