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).