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LECTURE III NOTE F—P. 103.

KANT ON THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT.

Kant holds firmly to the invalidity of all inference from the idea of God to His reality; but here also it is to be noticed that he allows to his “Ideal of Pure Reason” an important part in Natural Theology. If theoretic reason cannot prove, neither can it disprove the objective reality of this ideal of a supreme Being; and given a proof, or a conviction, from any other quarter (from the Practical . Reason or a “doctrinal faith” from design), it is of the highest utility in correcting and purifying our conception of this Being. “For,” he says, “though Reason in its merely speculative use is far from competent to so great an undertaking as to reach the existence of a supreme Being; yet it is of very great service in correcting the knowledge of such a Being, provided this can be drawn from some other source; in making it consistent with itself, and with each intelligible view of things; and in purifying it from everything which would contradict the notion of a primary Being, and from all mixture of empirical limitations. . . . The supreme Being, therefore remains for the merely speculative use of Reason a mere Ideal, though one free from error, a notion which completes and crowns the whole of human knowledge, whose objective reality cannot indeed by this method be proved, but also cannot be disproved; and if there should be a Moral Theology which can supply this defect, the hitherto only problematic transcendental theology will show its indispensableness in the determination of its notion and the unceasing criticism of a reason often enough deceived by 419sense, and not always in agreement with its own ideas. The necessity, infinity, unity, existence apart from the world (not as world-soul), eternity without conditions of time, omnipresence without conditions of space, omnipotence, etc., are pure transcendental predicates, and therefore the purified conception of the same, which every theology finds so necessary, can be drawn from transcendental theology alone.”—Kritik, pp. 446, 447 (Eng. trans. pp. 392, 393).

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