/ Kant on the Cosmological Argument
Kant raises three main objections to this version of the cosmological argument. First, it “presupposes” the correctness of the ontological argument in the sense, apparently, of tacitly incorporating the ontological argument as a proper part (A 607/B 635; A 608–9/B 636–7). Second, it commits an ignoratio elenchi, a fallacy of arguing for something other than what was at issue (A 609/B 637). It does so, Kant thinks, because the proponent of the argument, having promised to establish the existence of an absolutely necessary, “highest” being — that is, a necessarily existent most real being — on the basis of empirical assumptions, in practice first contends for a weaker conclusion and then, in order to arrive at the stronger, desired conclusion, reverts to the well-trodden (a priori) path of the ontological argument (ibid.). Third, the cosmological argument presupposes the ontological argument, but not merely because it tacitly assumes the soundness of the ontological argument as a premise (A608/B 637). Since he takes himself to have established the unsoundness of the ontological argument earlier in “The Ideal,” Kant concludes that the cosmological argument must be unsound.
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