Kant’s Self-Defeating Refutation of Idealism

in History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis
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  • 1 Ecole normale supérieure

Kant’s Refutation of Idealism has often been assessed either from a realistic or from a transcendental point of view. Each of them proves to be unsufficient. The realistic approach wouldn’t it enough the tenets of the Transcendental Esthetics, and the transcendental approach doesn’t allow us to go beyond our representations. We put forward a logical and structural analysis of the famous paragraph from the System of all principles and its rewriting in the Preface to the Second edition of the first Critique. Additional evidence from the Opus Postumum leads us to suggest that Kant more or less willingly endorses an equivocation on the phrase “existing outside me”, which wonderfully serves his double purpose of saving the transcendental deduction and facing the so-called “scandal of idealism.”

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