Nous, noesis and noeta : the transcendent apriorist tradition in epistemology
There is perhaps no epistemological theory more universally rejected, by modern philosophers and commentators, than transcendent apriorism. In fact, the notion that the pure human intellect, purged of sensory contamination, can somehow transcend the limits of all possible experience is now disdainfully regarded as an obsolete Platonic fantasy. In the latter half of the eighteenth century Immanuel Kant had vilified those who defended such extreme versions of rationalism as, "dogmatic champions of supersensible reason". Regrettably, during more than two centuries of philosophical inquiry, this derogatory attitude has hardened into an obstructive prejudice. It is certain that the process has done much to impede, truly objective modern research into transcendent apriorism's basic epistemology. In fact, even foundational issues relating to the definition and categorization of the theory have been neglected, or only superficially considered. As a result, numerous misleading "straw man" versions of the doctrine have been promulgated, by the Logical Positivists and others, and then very enthusiastically denigrated. The consequent defective analysis and the prejudice that engendered it have seriously distorted modern appraisals of the theory's epistemological legitimacy. Similarly, contemporary studies of transcendent apriorism's philosophical history have been infected with damaging errors. This contamination is particularly transparent in the flawed theory of K. Ajdukiewicz that "radical apriorism" had adherents "almost entirely among ancient thinkers". The aim of this thesis is to provide a new and comprehensive analysis of transcendent apriorism that remedies such prevalent misconceptions. The principle objective will be to remove the encrusting layers of prejudice, error and confusion that blight conventional epistemological and historical treatments of the subject. Ultimately, this procedure will function to disclose the doctrine's essential nature, its origins and the true course of its historical development. In the light of this analysis, we will be in a better position to determine whether extant arguments claiming to refute or undermine transcendent apriorism are legitimate or erroneous.