Epistemic Legitimacy: The Problematic of Empiricism

  • Jay F. Rosenberg
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series in Philosophy book series (PSSP, volume 23)


The basic theme of Kant’s Analytic is the epistemic legitimacy attaching to certain concepts, judgments and principles. His model is not logical but legal. He speaks of “deductions”, but his term ‘deduction’ derives not from logic but from Rechtsphilosophie. It alludes not to entailment but to juridical defences of claims of right or of legal entitlement. What Kant explicitly intends (A84 = B116ff.) is that the conclusion of what he calls a “transcendental deduction” state, not a matter of fact, but a matter of right. It is to say, in other words, that something may be done, for all rights are, at base, conduct rights. (Rights of ownership — property rights — are no exception. What the legal owner of a particular item or good possesses are rights to the exclusive use and disposition of that item or good.) A Kantian transcendental deduction thus articulates and secures a principle of permission. If successful, it establishes or legitimizes our right to employ certain concepts, to make certain judgments, and to apply certain principles. It establishes or legitimizes our right to a family of cognitive acts.


Conceptual Scheme Categorial Concept Functional Explanation Epistemic Authority Surplus Content 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jay F. Rosenberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of PhilosophyUniversity of North CarolinaUSA

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