Kant’s Transcendental Argument against Descartes’ Problematic Idealism and its Reception in Analytic Kant Scholarship

  • V. V. Melnyk Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv
Keywords: transcendental idealism, Critique of Pure Reason, analytic philosophy, verificationism, temporality, skepticism, experience, epistemology, self-consciousness


The article deals with modern interpretations of one of the most famous and controversial arguments in the history of philosophy, proposed by I. Kant in his Critique of Pure Reason - a refutation of Cartesian problematic idealism. The basic text for these interpretations is the section of Kant’s work titled The Refutation of Idealism. The receptions of the most authoritative researchers of the Kantian theoretical philosophy of the twentieth century, namely H. Ellison, P. Guyer,             P. Strawson, B. Stroud, A. Brueckner, and a number of other representatives of the Anglo-American tradition of analytic philosophy are considered. The article is conditionally divided into two parts. In the first, the interpretative approaches to the separate sections of the Critique of Pure Reason are examined: Refutation of idealism, Transcendental deduction of categories and Paralogisms of pure reason. These approaches are characterized, on the one hand, by textual literalism, on the other hand by the arbitrariness of the choice of contexts for the reconstruction of Kant’s problems and arguments. The basic setting of these interpretative approaches is psychological in the sense of using the introspection method. In the second part, the author considers the receptive approaches to the Kantian argument in the Refutation of Idealism. These approaches are characterized by the fact that its representatives proceed from the basic Kantian intention - to refute the relevance of the arguments of the skeptic who questions the existence of the objective world - and offer their variants of the transcendental argument. The author analyzes two key variations of the transcendental argument, proposed by                      P. Strawson and B. Stroud. Approaches of these authors are characterized by proportionality to the Kant’s main epistemological setting in the Critique of Pure Reason. However, the absence of a strict link to the conceptuality of transcendental idealism makes these attempts to reach the goal set by Kant in vain. The author comes to the conclusion that analytical interpretations of the transcendental argument in the Refutation of Idealism are incapable of reviving the full potential of Kant’s theorizing due to the lack of an integrated and systemic approach to its reconstruction.


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How to Cite
Melnyk, V. V. (2018). Kant’s Transcendental Argument against Descartes’ Problematic Idealism and its Reception in Analytic Kant Scholarship. Scientific and Theoretical Almanac Grani, 21(8), 112-120. https://doi.org/10.15421/1718108