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The Final End of Creation and the Moral Proof of the Existence of God:A Study of Immanuel Kant's Critique of the Power of Judgment

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Abstract

type:Research Paper

As is well-known, Kant proposed in Critique of Pure Reason (1781) three questions that should guide him in the development of his critical philosophy: `What can I know?', `What should I do?' and `What may I hope?' And he was convinced that he had given in Critique of Pure Reason to the first question and in Critique of Practical Reason (1788) to the third as well as the second question a complete answer. Yet, he could not stay in his conviction. That is testified by his letter to Carl Friedrich Staudlin on May 4, 1793, in which he tells that he could give only in the new published book, Religion within the boundaries of mere Reason, a complete answer to the third question. This leads us to notice the importance of Critique of the Power of Judgment (1790). We can reasonably suppose that Kant supplemented in that work his answer to the first question and consequently saw the necessity of reinforcing his answer to the third question. I interpret Critique of the Power of Judgment from this perspective. First, I argue that the reflective judgment is the clue to the exposition of Kant's revision of his own answers. In my opinion, Kant explicates that the reflective power of judgment in its teleological use opens up vistas on a worldview that looks out at the world as a systematic, harmonious whole at the top of which humankind, as `the final end of creation', stands. Based on this, he establishes then `ethikotheology', validating the moral proof of God. It is now acknowledged as belonging to our reasonable hopes that God as the creator of the moral world exists and as the moral legislator rules the world. And the important corollary is drawn from here: the establishment of a moral community of humankind under the dominion and protection of God. He will elaborate on this subject in his next work: Religion within the boundaries of mere Reason.

identifier:18

identifier:KJ00005337059

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