Recent reinterpretations of the transcendental

Inquiry 47 (3):289 – 314 (2004)
Abstract
This essay examines critically a number of characteristics of transcendental philosophy. The question, 'What, if anything, distinguishes transcendental philosophy and transcendental arguments from other types of philosophy and argument?', is given a negative answer: nothing, no essential thing, demarcates transcendental argumentation or philosophy from other kinds of philosophical reflection. In particular, argumentative structure alone is not a defining feature of transcendental philosophy. Illustrative examples of recent debates on the meaning and philosophical relevance of the 'transcendental' are discussed in the essay: e.g., attempts to 'naturalize' the transcendental, Wittgensteinian reflections on the limits of meaningful language, and 'merely methodological' interpretations of Kantian transcendental idealism. Through these case studies, it is shown how transcendental inquiry can be rearticulated in a pragmatist context.
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