The term ‘transcendental’ is one of the most widely used and central in Kant’s first Critique. There are two main distinguishing features of anything transcendental:
We must not call just any a priori cognition transcendental, but must call transcendental (i.e., concerning the a priori possibility or the a priori use of cognition) only that a priori cognition whereby we cognize that—and how—certain presentations (intuitions or concepts) are applied, or are possible, simply a priori. (A56/B80-81)
Here is a very partial list of nouns which the term modifies:
Transcendental philosophy or doctrine, as it is concerned with the possibility of a priori cognition, is not empirical. Thus it is not anthropological, in the sense that it does not investigate the a priori in an empirical way. (In fact, it can be called an a priori study of the possibility of the a priori.) Another contrast that must be drawn is between the transcendental and the transcendent The transcendental is concerned with the possibility of a priori cognition, while the transcendent is concerned with what (allegedly) lies beyond the boundaries of experience.
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