transcendental argument, a kind of argument, most closely associated with Immanuel KANT (though, arguably, there are examples that pre-date Kant’s) that has (1) as one of its premises an allegedly obvious claim about EXPERIENCE, KNOWLEDGE, or some other feature of one’s own mind (for example, the grasp of certain CONCEPTS or the capacity to entertain some kind of THOUGHT), (2) as another premise a claim about a necessary condition on the truth of the allegedly obvious claim in (1), and (3) a conclusion that the necessary condition in (2) is satisfied. Transcendental arguments often have anti-skeptical conclusions (see SKEPTICISM). For example, a transcendental anti-skeptical argument famously associated with Kant may be paraphrased as having premises (1) I am aware of my mental states as having an order in time and (2) it is a necessary condition on my awareness of anything being ordered in time that there be objectively existing entities undergoing alteration. A contemporary anti-skeptical argument is due to Hilary PUTNAM and utilizes a version of EXTERNALISM to establish knowledge that he is not a BRAIN IN A VAT. A crucial premise of Putnam’s argument is that he could only coherently conceive of the possibility of being a brain in a vat if there really was an external world containing brains and vats (see also CAUSAL THEORY OF CONTENT). P.F. Strawson developed a transcendental argument against skepticism about other minds (see OTHER MINDS, PROBLEM OF). Employing an early version of the GENERALITY CONSTRAINT, Strawson argued that I can only coherently conceive of myself as being in PAIN if I could likewise conceive of beings other than me being in pain. Not all transcendental arguments target skepticism. For example, Martin Davies has developed a transcendental argument for the existence of a LANGUAGE OF THOUGHT. Not all transcendental arguments postdate Kant. Arguably, the cogito of Descartes can be regarded as a transcendental argument with its premises as follows: (1) I think, and (2) it is a necessary condition on my thinking that I exist.