Fiction and Transcendental Knowledge
Transcendentalism explores how we experience the world, our bodies, our fellow human beings and morality—and knowledge as instituted in the natural sciences and humanities. It seeks to establish the boundaries of (or to “critique”) our knowledge and power to act.
Dr. Augustin Dumont, Canada Research Chair in Transcendental Philosophy, hopes to reinvigorate the current approach to “transcendental philosophy,” the school of thought founded by German philosopher Emmanuel Kant at the end of the Age of Enlightenment.
Researchers often tend to slot transcendentalism into one epistemological tradition or another (i.e., relative to the act of knowing per se) or into one ontology or another (through which we ponder the layers of our existence). But Dumont and his research team would like to see transcendental discourse acquire a more privileged status as the genesis of the various epistemic and ontological points of view. Filtered through our experience, such a genesis is at once inseparable from and irreducible to these myriad viewpoints, to the extent that it is not “one” viewpoint among others.
Dumont and his team seek to rethink the imaginary dimension of transcendentalism and of the experience it makes possible. They are beginning by focusing on the history of philosophy, using innovative methods to revisit the theoretical conceptions of imagination and its practical applications across philosophical writings. They will then consider the possibility of bringing transcendentalism into the current debate while exploring its dimension as fiction critical of experience.