Kant, the actualist principle, and the fate of the only possible proof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Commentators have repeatedly claimed that Kant offers a tacit restatement of his pre-critical "only possible proof" in the Critique of Pure Reason, downgrading its conclusion from the (objectively) necessary existence of God to the (subjectively) necessary presupposition of the idea of God, but none has successfully accounted for where and why exactly Kant thinks the proof fails as an objective demonstration. I suggest that (a) the proof fails because it mistreats the actualist principle, "every possibility must be grounded in actuality," as an ontological principle applying to the real possibilities of things in general, whereas in its critically legitimate version this principle expresses an epistemological condition of our cognition of the real possibility of empirical objects; (b) this metaphysical error in the proof occurs due to a transcendental illusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-292
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of the History of Philosophy
Volume55
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2017

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Actualist
Immanuel Kant
Fate
Commentators
Ontological
Transcendental
Deity
Critique of Pure Reason
Presupposition
Illusion
Cognition
Epistemological
Metaphysical
Existence of God
Actuality

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy

Cite this

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Kant, the actualist principle, and the fate of the only possible proof. / Abaci, Uygar.

In: Journal of the History of Philosophy, Vol. 55, No. 2, 04.2017, p. 261-292.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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