What’s “Transcendental Idealism?” (Kantian Metaphysics)

Bishop's Encyclopedia of Religion, Society and Philosophy

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Something foundational to many of Immanuel Kant’s (1724-1804) ideas is what is referred to as the doctrine of “transcendental idealism.”

As a doctrine, it emphasizes a distinction between what subjects (human beings) can experience (the natural, observable world) and what subjects cannot (“supersensible” objects such as God and the soul). In its most simple form it says that subjects have cognition of appearances but not of things in themselves (1). By “thing in itself,” Kant meant a thing standing outside any relation to our cognitive powers, but still a thing that one receives a representation of.

Given Kant’s influence, interpreters have interpreted his doctrine in different ways. One such interpretation is in the way of radical skepticism in that Kant seemed to reduce all objects of human knowledge to representations in the human minds. In essence, this would seem to deny that humans have the capacity to know anything genuine…

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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