The Only Possible Argument in Support of a Demonstration of the Existence of God

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The Only Possible Argument in Support of a Demonstration of the Existence of God (German: Der einzig mögliche Beweisgrund zu einer Demonstration des Daseins Gottes) is a book by Immanuel Kant, published in 1763. It questions both the ontological argument for God (as proposed by Saint Anselm) and the argument from design. Kant argues that the internal possibility of all things presupposes some existence:

Accordingly, there must be something whose nonexistence would cancel all internal possibility whatsoever. This is a necessary thing.

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Kant then argues that this necessary thing must have all the characteristics commonly ascribed to God. Therefore God necessarily exists. This a priori step in Kant's argument is followed by a step a posteriori, in which he establishes the necessity of an absolutely necessary being. He argues that matter itself contains the principles which give rise to an ordered universe, and this, according to his line of thinking, leads us to the concept of God as a Supreme Being, which "embraces within itself everything which can be thought by man." "God includes all that is possible or real."[1]

"[T]he very substantial and favourable review published by Mendelssohn ... was responsible for establishing Kant's reputation in Germany as a major philosopher."[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ page 141 in Manfred Kuehn (2001). Kant: A Biography. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-49704-3. 
  2. ^ page lx in David Walford, editor and translator, ed. (1992). "Introductions to the translations". Theoretical Philosophy, 1755-1770. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. xlix–lxxiv. ISBN 0-521-53170-5. 
  • Immanuel Kant (1799). "The Only Possible Argument for the Demonstration of the Existence of God". In Jakob Sigismund Beck, translator. Essays and Treatises on Moral, Political, Religious and Various Philosophical Subjects 2. London: William Richardson. pp. 227–366.  The first English translation of this work, originally published in 1797, is in a two volume collection of translations of the works of Kant. This 1799 edition is available in a photocopy published in 1993 by Thoemmes Press of Bristol, England, ISBN 1-85506-179-1
  • Immanuel Kant (1979). Gordon Treash, editor and translator, ed. The One Possible Basis for a Demonstration of the Existence of God. New York: Abaris Books. 
  • Immanuel Kant (1992). "The Only Possible Argument In Support of a Demonstration of the Existence of God". In David Walford, editor and translator. Theoretical Philosophy, 1755-1770. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 107–201. ISBN 0-521-53170-5.