Kant already wanted to clearly distinguish his new concept of the transcendental from traditional notions of transcendence. He associated transcendence with things beyond the possibility of any knowledge — with which the critical philosopher has nothing to do — and the transcendental with knowledge that was a priori in his expansive sense of that term. What is a priori for Kant does not depend on any particular experience, but does concern the limits and conditions of possible experience or knowledge. A priori in this sense does not imply any self-evidence, simple givenness, or other coming out of nowhere. It just effectively captures higher-order structure of knowledge or experience. (See also Kantian Discipline.)

According to Brandom, the Kantian transcendental is socially, historically, and linguistically constituted, though this represents a Hegelian rather than Kantian interpretation. I would further suggest that the transcendental field includes only forms, and no entities such as subjects or objects. (See also Psyche, Subjectivity.)