Kant's Anti-Cartesian Argumentative Analysis

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Underneath the anti-Cartesian attitude of the pragmatist is the influence of Immanuel Kant. Kant’s critical philosophy was a synthesizing approach to philosophical issues. He sought to mediate the differences between rationalism and empiricism with reference to human knowledge and between idealism and realism. The result is his acclaimed revolution in philosophy which, in an attempt to synchronise both extreme philosophies of human knowledge, took an anthropocentric, subjective turn (Bxvi) . The central position of this revolution is the argument that the major determinant of the possibility of human knowledge is the human mind with its a priori conditions. These conditions necessarily determine every human act of cognition such that the knowledge…show more content…
They recognize Kant’s emphasis on the gap between our conception of the world (epistemology) and the real world that exists outside of our mind and independent of our conception of it (ontology). And like Kant, they agree that our conception of the empirical world though affected by the empirical world is more largely creatively shaped by our conceptual schemes or background knowledge, pre-formed regulative postulates or assumptions. For the pragmatist, therefore, our cognition is theory-laden (See CP 5.526). We do not have immediate intuitive knowledge of the world that is certain since our knowledge is always mediated (by concepts and descriptions ) or inferential, always involving interpretations and colligations of interpretation (See CP. 2.442). The mind is not a «spectator» or a passive agent in the cognition process . They consequently argue that there is no way the Cartesian doubt is possible in the ordinary way we know. According to the Rescher, «certain fundamental assumptions or postulates underlie our empirical knowledge of what goes on in the world. [They] condition […] the characteristics of [our] experience, as well as the information we derive from them» . Another classical pragmatist expression of this thesis is contained in the «myth of the given» . And according to Hillary Putnam «describing the world is not copying it»…show more content…
There is a real world which lies outside our mind by which our cognition is measured and which constrains our mind to a complete full knowledge of itself irrespective of our mental contributions to the knowing process. According to Rescher «the test of applicative success can lead mere theorizing to stub its toe on the hard rock of reality» . This view has consequences on the pragmatist definition of truth and its theory of truth. Pragmatists contend the traditional correspondence theory of truth as vague and problematic. This criticism has taken different shapes among the pragmatists. Some pragmatists support versions of the correspondence theory of truth. Some argue that the correspondence theory should be abandoned altogether since it does not cohere with our cognition process (e.g. Ferdinand Canning Scott Schiller (1864-1937), Richard Rorty). Others hold that the standard formulation is incomplete and need to be adjusted (e.g. S. Peirce, W. James, J. Dewey, N. Rescher, and D. Davidson)
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