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On the logical inconsistency of Kant’s critique of the cosmological argument

Author(s): Yermolayev V.

Journal: Kantovskij Sbornik
ISSN 0207-6918

Volume: 3;
Start page: 86;
Date: 2013;
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Keywords: Kant | cosmological argument | syllogistic | existential presuppositions

The paper shows that the Kantian critique of cosmological argument does not take into account the existential presuppositions of Aristotelian syllogistic, so it is logically untenable. The basic idea of Kant is that the cosmological proof does not rely on the empirical premise (i.e. the existence of the world). Instead, it resorts covertly to the ontological proof. This is the second stage of the proof, when fr om the notion of a necessary being (ens necessarium) they move to the concept of a most real being (ens realissimum), i.e. God. According to Kant, this transition is logically equivalent to the reverse transition from ens realissimum to ens necessarium, which is the essence of the ontological argument. Demonstrating this equivalence, Kant resorts to conversion by lim itation, or per accidens. Such a conversion is possible in the Aristotelian syllogistic, because of its existential presuppositions, i.e. provided that the notion of ens necessarium is not empty. But this means that the conclusion still uses empirical premise of the cosmological proof. Consequently, Kant's argument is logically untenable.

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