In this paper, I present an interpretation of Kant’s view that reason’s hypostasis of the idea of a sum-total of reality is dogmatic and illegitimate. In the section on the ‘Transcendental Ideal’, the second section of the Ideal of Pure Reason chapter in the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant starts by describing reason’s procedure from the affirmation of the principle of thoroughgoing determination to the hypostasis in question. According to the interpretation I defend, the argument for hypostasis deployed in this section constitutes an improvement upon an argument defended by the pre-critical Kant himself in his 1673 essay “The Only Possible Argument in Support of a Demonstration of the Existence of God”. By making reference to the concept of omnitudo realitatis, the argument in the ‘Transcendental Ideal’ section presents a much more radical and convincing interpretation of the thesis that ‘possibility presupposes actuality’. Second, I present transcendental idealism and its related distinction between objects of sense and objects in general as the main dissuasive argument of the critical philosopher against hypostasis. Finally, I consider an argument against hypostasis that is independent of transcendental idealism: the threat of set-theoretical paradoxes if we hypostatize the relevant idea, intended as the concept of an absolutely comprehensive totality.
© 2018 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston