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Kant, Epistemic Phenomenalism, and the Refutation of Idealism

Michael Oberst


This paper takes issue with the widespread view that Kant rejects epistemic phenomenalism. According to epistemic phenomenalism, only cognition of states of one’s own mind can be certain, while cognition of outer objects is necessarily uncertain. I argue that Kant does not reject this view, but accepts a modified version of it. For, in contrast to traditional skeptics, he distinguishes between two kinds of outer objects and holds that we have direct access to outer appearances in our mind; but he still considers objects outside our mind unknowable. This sheds new light on Kant’s refutation of idealism.

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Published Online: 2018-06-07
Published in Print: 2018-06-05

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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