The Promise of Transcendental Arguments

Christian F. R. Illies

in The Grounds of Ethical Judgement

Published in print July 2003 | ISBN: 9780198238324
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679612 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Philosophical Monographs

The Promise of Transcendental Arguments

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This chapter examines whether transcendental arguments might suffice for a justification of a source of normativity, and hence for the project of moral realism. There are two groups or types of transcendental arguments on the basis of two tasks for which they are employed. On the one hand, transcendental arguments are engaged in furthering the explanation of some known fact or judgement in order to expand knowledge. On the other hand, they are employed in a straightforward anti-sceptical fashion. The first type of transcendental argument is known as the explorational type, which proceeds from a non-ambitious starting point by plausible steps to a highly ambitious conclusion, namely, to some a priori knowledge. The second type of transcendental argument is called the retorsive type, which is designed mainly to secure a judgement about something being the case. The pros and cons of the explorational and retorsive arguments are discussed.

Keywords: transcendental arguments; moral realism; explorational argument; retorsive argument; moral judgements; transcendental conditional

Chapter.  15212 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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