Talk:Transcendental idealism

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This page needs some heavy editing, and I will be up to the task in a few months time. If anyone else is more capable than I, some suggestions:

  • "Via priori" is misphrased. The author is clearly drawing from the Kantian (and general philosophical) term a priori, defined as such (by Wikipedia): "A priori is a Latin phrase meaning "from the former" or less literally "before experience"." The same goes for the use of "Priori" capitalized. "Priori" isn't an independent entity, it just means "before" or "former," and a priori knowledge is just knowledge we have _before_ we know anything else.
  • "All of these forms are within our minds from the first moment, meaning we do not have to experience the object to know its form." I'll have to freshen up my Kant before I make any definitive statements about this, but at the very least it's unclear _which_ forms are being discussed here. Even a cursory reader of Kant knows that he postulates a synthetic a priori, or kind of knowledge that is in some way prior to experience, and in some way contingent upon it. Specifically, I don't think Kant believed we could properly _know_ space/time until we had experienced things through those a priori forms, but I could easily be mistaken.
The forms are there from birth as dormant possibilities. They are activated by sensation from the sense organs. Lestrade 17:27, 18 October 2005 (UTC)Lestrade
  • "However, Priori also applies to things not within space and time even though we cannot have knowledge of them through posteriori; therefore, knowledge of the forms not based in time and space is outside of the empirical." This sentence just doesn't make sense to me. Maybe there are slight grammar errors which are causing me difficulties in parsing, but I suspect some philosophical confusions as well.
  • The last paragraph refers to both a priori forms and objects outside of our perception of them as noumena. This may be correct, although I have only heard the term applied to the latter of the two. Nevertheless, the reference to Kant's categories needs elaboration, as it is unclear in this article why these are distinct from the forms of experience discussed above.

Again, I am quite possibly wrong in some of my suggestions, but I want to get discussion going on this page so it can be improved. ~Anthony Mohen

Ok, making my first update. Incidentally, I plan on refining this entry over time, to make sure it's just right, but if others want to correct my work in the meantime, they should feel free. In addition to adding a lot of material, I have removed a lot of material, included here so that others can compare the texts.

From the first paragraph, I removed the description of T.I. as "the epistemology of" Kant, because I didn't want to suggest that this was a purely epistemological theory. I may be wrong in doing so, and if others feel that way, they should feel free to correct me.

"Kant held that the human self, or transcendental ego, constructs knowledge out of sense impressions and from universal concepts called categories that it imposes upon them. Kant's transcendentalism is set in contrast to those of two of his predecessors;the problematic idealism." - This made up the bulk of the first paragraph, and seemed to me too strongly tied to Strawson's interpretation. Also, the last sentence didn't really make sense to me.

"Everything known by humans within the limits of time and space, including that which was experienced by us, is nothing but representations of beings or forms that are ideals within our minds. All of these forms are within our minds from the first moment, meaning we do not have to experience the object to know its form. This sort of knowledge, when defined within space and time are empirical in base but were known via priori. However, Priori also applies to things not within space and time even though we cannot have knowledge of them through posteriori; therefore, knowledge of the forms not based in time and space is outside of the empirical. Transcendental idealism is the knowledge of the forms outside of the empirical – transcendental because it is not a reflection but the creation of the total and idealistic because it is not knowable through posteriori, using empirical knowledge, but only through the priori." This was paragraph 2. Again, this is mostly a Strawson reading, and I felt that it would be better couched in my section on his book (and the text as it appears here suffers from several grammatical issues, which I've described above).

"Kant referred to these forms, which we do not experience directly, as noumenon. Our mental perception of 'in and of themself' object is called phenomenon. Kant's addition to the idea that we do not see objects in and of themselves (e.g. we see an object representation as light energy reflected) is that there are categories of thought that act upon these sensory inputs that are a priori (innate within the mind). These categories of thought are cause/effect, all & everything, length, width, depth, time, numbers and others." - This is just wrong (in particular, the suggestion that Kantian phenomena are just a matter of reflected light), and also favored a Strawson reading. My text on Strawson ends up condensing the ideas of the 3-paragraph structure that existed before, so if people think it should be extended, they should say so. ~Anthony Mohen 8:57 PM 7 Feb 2005 EST

Anything would be better than what's on the page now... There is absolutely no useful information on the page.


I've moved the material that was at Transcendental Idealism here, without editing it. I figure the article is in such bad shape that doing so will make a minimal difference. Nor do I have either the knowledge or the interest to fix the article up. Perhaps it might encourage someone else to fix the mess. Banno 20:43, 3 October 2005 (UTC)

I won't fix the links to Transcendental Idealism, either, since it might be better to place the whole article there, and re-direct this article. But for the reasons stated above, I;ll leave that to more capable editors. Banno 20:44, 3 October 2005 (UTC)

Needs references[edit]

A fundamental concept of Kant's philosophy needs some references from veridical translations of Kant and philosophical commentary by other philosophers. The paucity of refs is holding it back, especially in terms of veracity.--Knucmo2 21:20, 20 October 2005 (UTC)

What concept in particular?Lestrade 21:39, 20 October 2005 (UTC)Lestrade
The concept of this article (namely transcendental idealism) --Knucmo2 00:26, 14 May 2006 (UTC)


Why are there three competing introductory paragraphs here? ausa کui × 00:46, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

... vs Transcendental Realism[edit]

  • A proper explication of Kant's transcendental idealism (given no explanation at present) in the article as all their is is scope for critics. Considering that this is viewed as an integral part of Kant's "copernican revolution" it needs writing by those in the know about it too, but to make it intelligible to others without any substitution (e. g. feminist) of ideological purpose for real content. I shall find my Critique and some of the best writings (secondary) on the critique before proceeding. --Knucmo2 22:41, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
  • The following is not clear to me; the word "objects" is problematic:

"The transcendental realist can only distinguish between objects (in general) and ideas. We cannot grasp ideas from objects, so we are always left to wonder whether our ideas really match (correspond to) the objects."

  • The paragraph goes on to say:

"This is why, Kant claims, the transcendental realist must be an empirical idealist, as the appearances of our senses are really just ideas in our mind on this position. Kant himself, being a transcendental idealist, can conversely consider the objects of our senses as empirically real, that is to say real within the necessary conditions of our faculties of thought and intuition. The transcendental idealist is thus an empirical realist."

  • I propose adding definition links to empirical idealist and empirical realist. And would also like to see the following minor edits:

"This is why, Kant claims, the transcendental realist must be an empirical idealist, as the appearances of our senses are really just ideas in our mind on this position. Whereas Kant himself, being a transcendental idealist, can consider the objects of our senses as empirically real, that is to say real within the necessary conditions of our faculties of thought and intuition. Thus the transcendental idealist is an empirical realist."

FinalWord 04:58, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

Dogmatic Idealism[edit]

I like how the dogmatic idealism section doesn't actually say what dogmatic idealism is. 15:05, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

It seems to me that dogmatic idealism is the judgment that things-in-themselves do not exist. It is different from transcendental idealism, which is the judgment that things-in-themselves exist but cannot be known.Lestrade 23:43, 14 October 2006 (UTC)Lestrade

Kant on Dogmatic idealism:

The dogmatic idealist declares the existence of objects in space, outside us, as false and impossible. Space, and all things that are inseparably in space, are impossible as things in themselves (that is, as observed objects without an observing subject), and therefore, the things in space are mere imaginings. (See Critique of Pure Reason, B274)

The dogmatic idealist denies the existence of matter. He finds contradictions in the possibility of general matter (that is, not a particular material thing). (See Critique of Pure Reason, A377)

Dogmatic Idealism – Observed objects without observing subjects do not exist.

Sceptical Idealism – Observed objects without observing subjects may possibly exist. We don't know.

Transcendental Idealism – Observed objects without observing subjects do exist, but we don't know anything about them. Lestrade 18:55, 15 October 2006 (UTC)Lestrade

A is A[edit]

Kant's transcendental idealism may be based on a tautologous or analytic judgement. It may merely be saying, "everything that you see is an appearance." Also, "an appearance appears only in the way that it appears." Such statements would have nothing to do with the existence of the world in a way different from how it appears to some observer. This has always been the main misunderstanding of idealism.Lestrade 15:58, 14 October 2006 (UTC)Lestrade

I thought Objectivism clinged more to the doctrine of A is A. --Knucmo2 (talk) 12:30, 9 January 2008 (UTC)


Until someone makes a page for Henry E. Allison, don't link this page to that name.

There should also be some mention here that Allison was a student of Aron Gurwitsch, who was in turn a student of Husserl. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:04, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

A passage that may be true but is fairly sure to be invulnerable[edit]

The second paragraph of the section on dogmatic idealism is so full of terms that are undefined for the average well-informed reader, and so lacking in meaning for the reader who neither remembers the texts mentioned nor has any basis for understanding the Wikipedia author's interpretation of those texts that there is no possible way that anyone but the specialist (and likely equally dogmatic) reader could disagree.

It is one thing to write something that may be correct and that certainly can be defended as being true, and another thing to write something that has a meaning that is clear and informative to the readers in the intended audience. P0M (talk) 04:43, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

A passage that needs to be rethought and more clearly expressed[edit]

Currently the text says:

In Kant's Transcendental Idealism, Henry Allison proposes a reading that opposes Strawson's interpretation. Allison argues that Strawson and others misrepresent Kant by emphasising what has become known as the two-worlds reading. This —- according to Allison false —- reading of Kant's phenomena/noumena distinction suggests that phenomena and noumena are ontologically distinct from each other. It concludes on that basis that we somehow fall short of knowing the noumena due to the nature of the very means by which we comprehend them.

The passage quoted says that Allison disagrees with what Strawson says, and then claims to give a correct rendering of Strawson's position. It is sketchy enough that the reader would have to guess what difference there may be between the ontological status of phenomena and the ontological status of noumena.

The last sentence quoted above is very unclear. Which "it" is being characterized? Strawson's positon? The sentence sounds like a fairly accurate recap of Kant's position. But is that Allison's position? It doesn't sound like it should be. If it is, the text should indicate that fact clearly. If it is not, then the passage has failed to say anything instructive about Allison's position. P0M (talk) 21:25, 4 July 2008 (UTC)


In deleting reference to Ayn Rand on April 12, 2010, User claimed that Rand "has no credentials as a philosopher. She has no philosophy degrees. She has no publications in philosophy journals. Her books are not published by an academic press." Lack of such credentials would disqualify almost every philosopher who lived prior to the nineteenth century and several subsequent major philosophers such as Mill, Schopenhauer, Wittgenstein, and others.Lestrade (talk) 18:39, 12 April 2010 (UTC)Lestrade

Fichte, early Schelling, and Husserl[edit]

There ought to be sections on Fichte, the early Schelling, and Husserl (post Ideas I) in this article. It is good that the article mentions these figures as transcendental idealists, but more needs to be said about their specific contributions and points of difference with respect to Kant and to each other. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:10, 17 January 2013 (UTC)