‘Metaphysics’, said Bradley, ‘is the finding of bad reasons for what we believe on instinct, but to find these reasons is no less an instinct.’ This idea that reasoning is both instinctive and feeble is reminiscent of Hume; except that reasons in Hume tend to serve as the solvent rather than the support of instinctive beliefs. Instinct leads us to play backgammon with other individuals whom we assume inhabit a world which exists independently of our own perception and which will continue to exist tomorrow in a similar fashion to today. However, when instinct leads us also to reason about these beliefs they are all subject to sceptical attack. Their defence provides a challenge, a challenge which in thumbnail histories of the subject is met by Kant. He does this by use of a powerful new form of argument which he calls transcendental argument and which, in my opinion, provides not only reasons but also good reasons for the defence of some of our most central instinctive beliefs. The strategy involved in this kind of argument is to reflect on the necessary preconditions for comprehensible experience. In this way, some beliefs which are subject to sceptical attack, such as that there is a causal order between objects which exist independently of our experience of them, can be found to be the essential preconditions for having comprehensible experience at all. The reason for accepting them is, therefore, that they are the necessary preconditions of having any beliefs at all; and this provides a good, rather than a bad, reason for accepting these particular instinctive beliefs.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/S1358246100001624
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 58,467
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Critique of Pure Reason.Wolfgang Schwarz - 1966 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 26 (3):449-451.
The Bounds of Sense.P. F. Strawson - 1966 - Philosophy 42 (162):379-382.
Critique of Pure Reason.Günter Zöller - 2002 - Philosophical Review 111 (1):113.
The Bounds of Sense. An Essay on Kant's Critique of Pure Reason.Walter H. Capps - 1969 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 29 (3):470-471.
Kant.Patricia Kitcher, Philip Kitcher & Ralph C. S. Walker - 1980 - Philosophical Review 89 (2):282.

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Perception and Reflection.Anil Gomes - 2017 - Philosophical Perspectives 31 (1):131-152.
The Nature of Transcendental Arguments.Mark Sacks - 2005 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 13 (4):439 – 460.
Once More Unto The Breach: Strawson's Anti-Sceptical View.Marco Antonio Franciotti - 2009 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 13 (2):137-152.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Transcendental Arguments and Idealism.Ross Harrison - 1982 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures 13:211-224.
Brewer’s Switching Argument.Andre Abath - 2012 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 85 (1):255-277.
External Reasons.Dean Lubin - 2009 - Metaphilosophy 40 (2):273-291.
Transcendental Arguments and Kant's Refutation of Idealism.Adrian Bardon - 1999 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Kant’s Transcendental Strategy.John J. Gallanan - 2006 - Philosophical Quarterly 56 (224):360–381.
Skepticism Reexamined.Marin Spasov Smillov - 1997 - Dissertation, University of Florida
Justification and Scepticism About the External World.Gary Timothy Gleb - 1986 - Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles


Added to PP index

Total views
12 ( #762,006 of 2,421,244 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #351,445 of 2,421,244 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes