Authors
Andrew Chignell
Princeton University
Abstract
Kant's speculative theistic proof rests on a distinction between “logical” and “real” modality that he developed very early in the pre-critical period. The only way to explain facts about real possibility, according to Kant, is to appeal to the properties of a unique, necessary, and “most real” being. Here I reconstruct the proof in its historical context, focusing on the role played by the theory of modality both in motivating the argument (in the pre-critical period) and, ultimately, in undoing it as a source of knowledge of God's existence (in the critical period). Along the way I examine Kant's version of the now-popular “actualist” thesis that facts about what is possible must be explained by facts about what is actual. I conclude by discussing why the critical Kant claims both that there are rational grounds for accepting the conclusion of his theistic proof, and that such acceptance can not count as knowledge. This is important, I argue, because the same considerations ultimately motivate his prohibition on knowledge of things-in-themselves generally.
Keywords Kant  Modality  Ens Realissimum
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DOI 10.1515/AGPH.2009.07
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References found in this work BETA

A World of States of Affairs.D. M. Armstrong - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
Truth and Ontology.Trenton Merricks - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Does Conceivability Entail Possibility.David Chalmers - 2002 - In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 145--200.
Conceivability and Possibility.Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.) - 2002 - Oxford University Press.
Kant's Transcendental Idealism.Henry E. Allison - 1988 - Yale University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Kant on Perceptual Content.Colin McLear - 2016 - Mind 125 (497):95-144.
Leibniz and the Ground of Possibility.S. Newlands - 2013 - Philosophical Review 122 (2):155-187.

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Similar books and articles

Kant's Modalities of Judgment.Jessica Leech - 2012 - European Journal of Philosophy 20 (2):260-284.
Things in Themselves.Robert Merrihew Adams - 1997 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 57 (4):801-825.

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