Limiting Knowledge to Make Room for Faith

 Limiting Knowledge to Make Room for Faith: how the distinction between reason and understanding assigns god the status of a regulative principle in Kant’s criti. The essay is to be 6 pages with three to five sources, with in-text citations and a reference page.

One would naturally expect Kants criticisms of theistic proofs as developed in the “ideal of pure reason” (that is, the third chapter of the first Critiques transcendental dialectic) to apply in straightforward ways to his earlier attempts at a theistic proof. However, Kant rejects the three traditional arguments just as he does in the first Critique. Given that Kant rejects all theoretical proofs of Gods existence in his critical period and given that he did not take his critical objections to the traditional proofs to apply to the theistic proof developed in Kant’s work, what is his justification for rejecting his pre-critical argument for Gods existence?

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For it reveals that Kant continues to endorse his pre-critical argument, though he weakens its conclusion by positing God as merely a regulative rather than a constitutive principle. By weakening the status of the arguments conclusion in this manner Kant hopes to avoid any conflict with his general claim that the existence of God cannot be proved while still being able to invoke God in certain epistemic contexts. For it is still appropriate to ask what Kants justification is for rejecting the original (or full-strength) conclusion of his pre-critical theistic argument.

That is, why does Kants argument not establish Gods existence as a constitutive principle? Kants argument for the existence of God is based on an analysis of the concept of possibility. Its basic idea is that the existence of a necessary being is the only condition under which the possibility of objects in general can be made intelligible. For possibility requires not only that a concept contain no contradiction, but also that there be a content to the concept that would be available for thought. However, the content of the concepts of things can be provided only by something that exists necessarily, namely God. 

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