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The Loss of the Great Outdoors: Neither Correlationist Gem nor Kantian Catastrophe

Abstract

This article concerns Quentin Meillassoux’s claim that Kant’s revolution is responsible for philosophy’s catastrophic loss of the ‘great outdoors’, of our knowledge of things as they are in themselves. I argue that Meillassoux’s critique of Kant’s ‘weak’ correlationism and his defence of ‘strong’ correlationism are predicated on a fallacious argument (termed ‘the Gem’ by David Stove) and the traditional, but in my view mistaken, metaphysical interpretation of Kant’s transcendental distinction. I draw on Henry Allison’s interpretation of Kant’s idealism to argue that when Kant’s transcendental distinction is understood epistemologically we can avoid the fallacious reasoning underpinning Meillassoux’s argument, and at the very least attenuate his concerns about the ‘Kantian catastrophe’.

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Transcendental Phenomenology and Unobservable Entities

of Responsibility, Cham: Springer. Vallor, Shannon (2009): “The Pregnancy of the Real: A Phenomenological Defense of Experimental Realism,” Inquiry 52, 1, 1-25. Wiltsche, Harald (2017): “Science, Realism and Correlationism. A Phenomenological Critique of Meillasoux’ Argument from Ancestrality,” European Journal of Philosophy 25, 3, 808-832. Wiltsche, Harald (2012): “What is Wrong with Husserl’s Scientific Anti-Realism?” Inquiry 55, 2, 105-130.

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