Discussion in 'Apologetical Methods' started by Peairtach, Mar 25, 2014.

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  1. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Despite considerable study of presuppositionalism and transcendental arguments, I've never quite worked out why they're called "transcendental", although I have one or two ideas.

    Why are certain types of arguments called "transcendental" arguments?

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  2. Toasty

    Toasty Puritan Board Sophomore

    One definition of transcendental has to do with the a priori elements in experience which condition human knowledge.

    Transcendental | Define Transcendental at Dictionary.com

    "Such arguments take as a premise some obvious fact about our mental life—such as some aspect of our knowledge, our experience, our beliefs, or our cognitive abilities—and add a claim that some other state of affairs is a necessary condition of the first one."

    Transcendental Arguments [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2014
  3. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Transcendental reasoning (as per Immanuel Kant) is reasoning from phenomena to the conditions necessary for the possibility of perceiving those phenomena. In other words, it is transcendental because it uses reason to transcend experience.
  4. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Also keep in mind transcendental has a different shade of nuance in theology. Thomas Aquinas spoke of three transcendentals: truth, beauty, and goodness and argued (correctly, I think) that they are convertible with being. So beware the temptation to read Kant's discussion back into Aquinas.
  5. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator Staff Member

  6. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    "Transcendental" and "foundational" are very similar but I think they differ in one important respect. The transcendental makes the pre-condition of rationality external to this rationality whereas the foundational makes it internal. This raises the issue of "correspondence" as a quality of truth, as well as the relationship of the subject and the object of truth.

    The view of Aquinas requires an analogy of being, whereas analogy is only possible through divine condescension, WCF 7.1.
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