Robert Stern investigates how scepticism can be countered by using transcendental arguments concerning the necessary conditions for the possibility of experience, language, or thought. He shows that the most damaging sceptical questions concern neither the certainty of our beliefs, nor the reliability of our belief-forming methods, but rather whether we can justify our beliefs in the light of our doxastic norms. He concludes that although transcendental arguments cannot be used to resolve the first two issues, they can help us to address the issue of normative justification as raised by our belief in the existence of the external world, causal necessity, and other minds. Stern then reassesses transcendental arguments of the sort proposed by Kant in the Refutation of Idealism and the Second Analogy, by Hegel in his treatment of perception in the Phenomenology, and by Strawson in Individuals. Readable, well-informed, and original, Stern's discussion will provide a positive stimulus for further discussion of the philosophical and interpretative issues raised by this influential approach to the problem of scepticism.
Robert Stern is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield.