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Erkenntnis

, Volume 84, Issue 6, pp 1387–1407 | Cite as

Transcendental Arguments in Scientific Reasoning

  • Michael H. G. HoffmannEmail author
Original Research

Abstract

Although there is increasing interest in philosophy of science in transcendental reasoning, there is hardly any discussion about transcendental arguments. Since this might be related to the dominant understanding of transcendental arguments as a tool to defeat epistemological skepticism, and since the power of transcendental arguments to achieve this goal has convincingly been disputed by Barry Stroud, this contribution proposes, first, a new definition of the transcendental argument which allows its presentation in a simple modus ponens and, second, a pragmatist re-interpretation of this argument form that leaves it to the scientific community to debate, criticize, refine, or reaffirm its core claim: a premise which claims that the truth of a certain assumption is a necessary condition for something that is generally accepted. The proposed “logico-pragmatist interpretation” highlights the role of transcendental arguments as a methodological step to move science forward, just as abduction and inference to the best explanation do.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Public PolicyGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

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