Immanuel Kant

The Moral Argument for God's Existence

God as a Necessary Postulate of Morality
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)

  1. Kant's Moral Theory:

    1. Synthesis of Rationalism and Empiricism - The Categories

    2. Morality as the recognition of one's duty to act according to pure practical reason alone

    3. The Categorical Imperative (i.e., the absolute command) -

      1. Always act according to a moral principle that you would desire to be a universal law.

      2. Always treat persons, whether yourself or others, as ends in themselves (never as means to an end).

      3. The will of every moral (i.e., rational) agent can be conceived as a universal legislature.

    4. The Postulates of Pure Practical Reason: (i.e., that which morality requires)

      1. Immortality - necessary in order to achieve the moral law

      2. Liberty - necessary in order to will the moral law

      3. God - being that necessarily fulfills the summum bonum


  2. The Argument for God's Existence

    P1) Reason creates a moral obligation to attain the good.

    P2) Obligation implies possibility.

    P3) Attaining the good is only possible where moral order is an actual part of the universe.

    C1) Therefore, it is possible to achieve the good.

    P4) Humans are rational agents that do not actually achieve the good.

    P5) There must be in some place, at some time, some being that achieves the good.

    C2) Therefore, God is a rational agent that achieves the good (i.e., is happy to consistently fulfill the moral law).

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