Kant on the Ontological Argument

Noûs 49 (1):1-27 (2015)
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The article examines Kant's various criticisms of the broadly Cartesian ontological argument as they are developed in the Critique of Pure Reason. It is argued that each of these criticisms is effective against its intended target, and that these targets include—in addition to Descartes himself—Leibniz, Wolff, and Baumgarten. It is argued that Kant's most famous criticism—the charge that being is not a real predicate—is directed exclusively against Leibniz. Kant's argument for this thesis—the argument proceeding from his example of a hundred thalers—although it may seem to beg the question, in fact succeeds against Leibniz. It does so because the charge of begging the question can be rebutted if one makes certain Leibnizian assumptions.
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Archival date: 2015-11-21
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