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Ontological Argument criticism by Kant Critique of Pure Reason - Essay Example

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Ontological Argument criticism by Kant Critique of Pure Reason

Kant vehemently reaffirmed the intelligibility of the world as demonstrated by common sense and science. He has had immense influence in the world of philosophy and continues to be a great source of inspiration for all. Despite rejecting some of his core ideas, the subsequent generation that lived under German idealism has widely adopted his work. His prime objection was that existence is not a predicate. The foundation of the ontological argument was the existence of a God that is greater than a God who does not exist. Thus, the very foundation was baffling and questionable. Kant advocated that existence could not possess or lack properties and, therefore, it is not a predicate. His criticism fundamentally targeted Descartes and Leibniz. Kant drew a clear line of distinction between analytic and synthetic judgments. Analytic judgment denotes a predicate that conveys a point that is already a part of the concept, and, therefore, it constitutes a tautology. On the other hand, in a synthetic judgment, the predicate implies a point not already contained in the concept, and, therefore, it expresses new knowledge....
The judgments regarding nonexistence nullify both the subject and the predicate; therefore, this does not give rise to a contradiction. Based on these arguments, Kant refuted the notion of a necessary being. In addition, he contends that if existence is considered as a fundamental component of the definition of something, then affirming that it exists constitutes as tautology. Therefore, while making the analytic judgment that existence is a characteristic of God, we are reiterating that God exists. Thus, no synthetic judgment is made to annex novel information with regard to existence to the theoretical definition of God. Moving on, he criticizes the concept of being by pointing out that it is not a real predicate; thereby, it cannot be used to define a concept related to something. In plain terms, saying that something exists does not indicate anything in relation to the concept; instead, it denotes the existence of an object that matches with the concept. To say that objects of sense exist does not imply an extra property related to the concept; instead, it is to be discovered outside the thought and we have an experiential awareness of it in space and time (Kant 89). A thing that actually exists does not possess properties which could be predicated; therefore, it cannot be distinguished from the concept of it. The distinguishing factor is then experience concerning that something, for instance its shape, site, time. To say that something exists requires spatial-temporal experience of that thing in order to know that there exist objects that correspond to that concept. Hence, a demonstration concerning the existence of something like God, which involves predicating a ...Show more


Immanuel Kant’s objections to the ontological argument in the 'Critique of Pure Reason', published in 1781 played an integral role in changing of thinking and philosophy. He was fascinated with the skeptical drawings that ensued from Hume’s premises…
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