transcendentalism, in philosophy, term descriptive of systems that hold that there are modes of being and principles of existence beyond the reach of mundane experience and manipulation. The term is now closely associated with Kantian theory, although some conception of transcendent being has been common to most forms of philosophical idealism. Kant argues that perception of sense data depends on a priori intuitions, which include conception of space and time and categories of judgment. For Kant,
transcendentalrefers to conditions necessary for the possibility of experience, while
transcendentrefers to a noumenon, something unknowable and beyond the realm of possible experience.
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