Kant's Refutations of the Proofs of the Existence of God

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Kant's Refutations of the Proofs of the Existence of God There are three types of proof for the existance of God: The Ontological Proof: God is the most perfect conceivable being. Existence is more perfect than non-existence. God by definition exists. The Cosmological Proof: Everything contingent must have a cause. If this cause is also contingent, then it too must also have a cause. This chain of causes and effects must have a beginning - a necessary cause. This necessary cause must be God. The Physico-Theological Proof: Observations about the particular constitution of the sensible world provide proof of the existence of God. As we saw earlier in the CPR, there are two types of judgment: analytical and synthetic. The example that Kant used for an analytical judgment was "a triangle has three angles" (p.564). This is obviously true, because by definition a triangle must have three sides - all that one would need is the knowledge of the definition of triangle in order to see that the predicate (three angles) is contained in the subject (triangle). The ontological argument claims to be analytical in that it proves the existence of God because existence is contained in the definition of the word God. An analytical judgment, like the one given above, does not imply necessity - the words "if" and "then" are implied. The statement could also be read: "If there are triangles, then they have three angles" and could be negated without contradiction "If there are no triangles, then they do not have three angles". However, it is claimed that the ontological argument is the single exception to this rule. If existence is in the definition of the word "God" then: "I... ... middle of paper ... ...e of an "architect" of the world (similar to what we might call mother nature), not a supreme creator. The leap from using this the empirical proof of an "architect" to a "creator" is done entirely through speculative reason, and can not be looked upon as being proof that there is a God. The value of Kant's discussion is not so much that he refutes these arguments in particular, but that (to him at least) all so-called "proof" of the existence of God has been refuted and no other proof could ever be developed. This is because, to Kant, the ontological argument is the basis for all transcendental proof, and it has been disproved, and there can be no direct empirical evidence of the existence of God. For these reasons, Kant comes to the conclusion that God's existence can never be proven. Bibliography: The Critique of Pure Reason - Emmanuel Kant

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