Editor-in-Chief: Heidemann, Dietmar
Editorial Board: Allison, Henry E. / Ameriks, Karl / Brittan, Gordon G. / Düsing, Klaus / Dahlstrom, Daniel O. / Dyck, Corey W. / Engelhard, Kristina / Falkenburg, Brigitte / Ginsborg, Hannah / Gilmore-Grier, Michelle / Grundmann, Thomas / Guyer, Paul / Hanna, Robert / Kreimendahl, Lothar / Nuzzo, Angelica / Stern, Robert / Sturma, Dieter / Theis, Robert / Westphal, Kenneth R. / Willaschek, Marcus
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Kant’s objection to the ontological argument in the first Critique is thought to be contained within the claim that ‘existence is not a predicate’. This article maintains that this ‘digression’ on existence is not Kant’s main objection. Instead, Kant argues within the first eight paragraphs of this fourteen paragraph section that there is no meaningful predication - either logical or real - without a synthetic, existential judgment concerning the subject of predication. Thus, the very subject of predication of the proof (God) is an empty concept and an indeterminate nominal definition (rather than a real possibility) that allows for neither meaningful predication nor the generation of a contradiction. I argue that this objection is significantly different than classical objections that are often identified with it and from Kant’s objection in 1763. I also argue that Kant’s target is not simply the Cartesian argument but is also his own pre-critical onto-theological argument. There is little evidence that Kant continues to accept the a priori onto-theological argument, and, in fact, he rejects its core claims in his discussion of the ontological argument and in the final paragraphs of the section on the Ideal of Reason.