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LECTURE 3 NOTE D.—P. 98.

KANT ON THE TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT.

Kant says: “This proof deserves always to be mentioned with respect. It is the oldest, clearest, and the most suited to the common reason of mankind. It enlivens the study of nature, even as it derives from this its own existence, and draws from it ever new strength. It brings ends and purposes into a region where our observation would not of itself have discovered them, and furthers our natural knowledge through the guiding thought of a special unity, whose principle lies outside of nature. This knowledge reacts upon its cause, namely, on the idea which occasions it, and raises faith in a highest Author of the universe to an irresistible conviction. It would, therefore, be not only a thankless, but also a vain task, to attempt to detract in any measure from the prestige of this argument.” But he goes on to say: “Although we have nothing to object to the rationality and utility of this procedure, but have much rather to recommend and encourage it, we are nevertheless unable to assent to the claims which this mode of proof may make to demonstrative certainty,” and then proceeds to state his objections to it.—Kritik, p. 436, 437 (Eng. trans. p. 383).892892The references are to Meiklejohn’s translation, but the translations are independent. These, however, as observed in the text, seem more in the direction of limiting its application, than of altogether denying its cogency. The view which obtains in the Kritik of Judgment, that the idea of design has only regulative and not theoretic validity,893893Cf. Caird’s Philosopy of Kant, pp. 477, 489, 526. is not dwelt on in the Kritik or Pure Reason. It is not always noticed, besides, that, intermediate between full theoretic demonstration and mere opinion, Kant has a form of conviction which he calls “doctrinal faith”—distinct from moral faith,—the characteristic of which is that it is an expression of modesty front the objective point of view, but of assured confidence from the subjective; and that he places the doctrine of God’s existence in this region.—Kritik, p. 561 (Eng. trans. p. 500). On Kant’s service to this argument by his demonstration, in the Kritik of Judgment, of the necessity of applying the teleological conception to nature, see Dr. Bernard’s valuable Introduction to his recent translation of this work (1892), and cf. Professor Caird’s Philosophy of Kant, ii. pp. 406–562.

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