How to Solve the Knowability Paradox with Transcendental Epistemology

Synthese:1-26 (forthcoming)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
A novel solution to the knowability paradox is proposed based on Kant’s transcendental epistemology. The ‘paradox’ refers to a simple argument from the moderate claim that all truths are knowable to the extreme claim that all truths are known. It is significant because anti-realists have wanted to maintain knowability but reject omniscience. The core of the proposed solution is to concede realism about epistemic statements while maintaining anti-realism about non-epistemic statements. Transcendental epistemology supports such a view by providing for a sharp distinction between how we come to understand and apply epistemic versus non-epistemic concepts, the former through our capacity for a special kind of reflective self-knowledge Kant calls ‘transcendental apperception’. The proposal is a version of restriction strategy: it solves the paradox by restricting the anti-realist’s knowability principle. Restriction strategies have been a common response to the paradox but previous versions face serious difficulties: either they result in a knowability principle too weak to do the work anti-realists want it to, or they succumb to modified forms of the paradox, or they are ad hoc. It is argued that restricting knowability to non-epistemic statements by conceding realism about epistemic statements avoids all versions of the paradox, leaves enough for the anti-realist attack on classical logic, and, with the help of transcendental epistemology, is principled in a way that remains compatible with a thoroughly anti-realist outlook.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
Archival date: 2018-05-11
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total downloads
63 ( #24,958 of 35,806 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
27 ( #12,420 of 35,806 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.