As the ultimate answer to Kant’s challenge, the Causal Argument for the Existence of a Supreme Being departs radically from the usual, and often mundane rhetoric of Christian apologetics.
“How are Synthetic Cognitions A Priori Possible?”
Kant’s question: “How are synthetic cognitions A Priori possible?” is a preliminary question for which Kant demands an answer prior to the consideration of anything offered as an answer to the challenge voiced in his Critique of Pure Reason. This challenge and the meaning of this question is clarified in the context of Kant’s response to a reviewer who failed to understand his Critique. Kant’s response to his reviewer is found in the Appendix to his Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, the subsequent work written by Kant in his attempt to address such misinterpretations. In the Appendix Kant mentions that his reviewer “does not mention a word about the possibility of synthetic knowledge a priori, the special problem upon the solution of which the fate of metaphysics wholly rests and upon which my Critique (as well as the present Prolegomena) entirely hinges.” Without a satisfactory answer to this preliminary question Kant writes off, without the need of any further deliberation, anything that might be offered in the name of metaphysics. It can be said that the entire philosophical community is still at a loss as to just what Kant meant by this question and why he thought it was of paramount importance to metaphysics.
To the end of overcoming this monumental roadblock to a clear understanding of Kant I have, in adhering to Kant’s demand, provided an answer to this question in the essay: Beyond Kant and Hegel, In Answer to the Question: “How Are Synthetic Cognitions A Priori Possible?” published in The Review of Metaphysics (March 2013). However the Causal Argument that can be read here provides in the Introduction the same clarification of this question and the same answer found in the essay. There is no other argument in the field of philosophy, comprised entirely of a priori principles, that fits Kant’s definition of a synthetic cognition a priori, and as such this argument, perhaps more than anything else, can help to clarify what Kant meant by his question.
There are four versions of the argument in the PDF and Flipbook. First, a longer form providing the most relevant quotes from Kant. Second, Appendix I, an abbreviated version citing the question of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz: “Why is there something, rather than nothing?” Next, Appendix II, an even more abbreviated version for anyone wishing something easier to assimilate. And, finally, Appendix III, a simplified one page abstract diagram of the argument. The relevant philosophers quoted, aside from Kant, are: Hume, Hegel, and Bergson.
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