Transcendental arguments and the problem of dogmatism

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Transcendental arguments have been described as undogmatic or non-dogmatic arguments. This paper examines this contention critically and addresses the question of what is required from an argument for which the characterization is valid. I shall argue that although transcendental arguments do in certain respects meet what one should require from non-dogmatic arguments, they - or more specifically, what I shall call 'general transcendental arguments' - involve an assumption about conceptual unity that constitutes a reason for not attributing to them the status of non-dogmatic arguments. As a solution to this problem I distinguish general transcendental arguments from what I shall call 'specific transcendental arguments' and seek to explain how by limiting the use of transcendental arguments to the latter type it would be possible to avoid dogmatism. This methodological adjustment also opens up a possibility of re-interpreting transcendental arguments from the past in a novel non-dogmatic fashion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-75
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Philosophical Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008


  • Conceptual unity
  • Dogmatism
  • Necessary condition
  • Philosophical method
  • Transcendental argument

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