Kant, Radical Agnosticism, and Methodological Eliminativism about Things-in-Themselves
In his recent paper, “Things in Themselves: An Interim Report,” Robert Howell says that a philosophically satisfactory resolution of all-too-familiar problems about Kant’s views on the object of knowledge and the nature of things-in-themselves should meet three conditions: (1) it should be reasonably faithful to Kant’s views, (2) it must show that his views are internally consistent and his major arguments are valid, and (3) it must not rest on premises that are themselves philosophically implausible. Howell concludes that it would be philosophically good to find a satisfactory resolution of these problems, but also suspects that no such resolution will be found. The author fully agrees with Howell’s three conditions of adequacy on a philosophically satisfactory resolution of the problems, and holds that it would be philosophically good to find a resolution of them. However, the author sharply disagrees with the statement that no such resolution can be found. Indeed, he believes that such a resolution has been found. Kantian Radical Agnosticism (KRA) says that ‘we can and do know a priori that we cannot know either the nature of things in themselves or whether things in themselves exist or do not exist’. Kantian Methodological Eliminativism (KME) about things in themselves says that for the purposes of the theory of real (i. e., anthropocentric, “humanfaced”) transcendental idealism we can completely ignore things in themselves. In this paper the author unpacks and defends both KRA and KME.
1. Kant, I. 2006а, Kritik der reinen Vernunft. 1. Auflage, in: Kant I. Werke Zweisprachige deutsch-russische Ausgabe. Teilband. II.2. Мoskau.
2. Kant, I. 2006b, Kritik der reinen Vernunft. 2-е Auflage, in: Kant I. Werke Zweisprachige deutsch-russische Ausgabe. Teilband. II.1. Мoskau.
3. Howell, R. 2017, Analiticheskaja rabota nad Kantom — idealizm, veshhi v sebe i ob#ekt znanija [Analytic Work on Kant — Idealism, Things in Themselves, and the Object of Knowledge], in: Kantovsky Sbornik [Kantian Papers]. Vol 36. Issue 2.
4. Hume, D. 1996, Issledovanija o chelovecheskom poznanii [An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding]. Essay XII, Part III // Jum D. Sochinenija [Hume D. Works]. In 2 volumes. Vol. 2. Мoscow.
5. Gödel, K. 1992, On Formally Undecidable Propositions of Principia Mathematica And Related Systems. Transl. by B. Meltzer. N. Y.
6. Hanna, R. 2001, Kant and the Foundations of Analytic Philosophy. Oxford.
7. Hanna, R. 2006, Kant, Science, and Human Nature. Oxford.
8. Hanna, R. 2015, Cognition, Content, and the a Priori: A Study in the Philosophy of Mind and Knowledge. Oxford.
9. Monk, R. 2016, Bertrand Russell: The Spirit of Solitude, 1872—1921. Volume 1. N. Y.
10. Russell, B. 1959, My Philosophical Development. London.
11. Russell, B. 1996, Principles of Mathematics. 2nd ed. N. Y.