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Click on the phrases to see them in context. The original texts by Immanuel Kant and David Hume are available from the Gutenberg Projet.


The positive value of the critical principles of pure reason in relation to the conception of God and of the simple nature of the soul, admits of a similar exemplification; but on this point I shall not dwell.

 Thus God and a future life are two hypotheses which, according to the principles of pure reason, are inseparable from the obligation which this reason imposes upon us. Thus pure reason presents us with the idea of a transcendental doctrine of the soul (psychologia rationalis), of a transcendental science of the world (cosmologia rationalis), and finally of a transcendental doctrine of God (theologia transcendentalis). But this problem does not concern reason in its practical use; and we have, therefore, in a canon of pure reason, to do with only two questions, which relate to the practical interest of pure reason; Is there a God? The proposition, God is omnipotent, contains two conceptions, which have a certain object or content; the word is, is no additional predicate--it merely indicates the relation of the predicate to the subject. In other words, it must be perfectly indifferent to you whether you say, when you have discovered this unity; God has wisely willed it so; or; Nature has wisely arranged this. But, as no one ought to be blamed, merely because he does not feel himself justified in maintaining a certain opinion, as if he altogether denied its truth and asserted the opposite, it is more correct--as it is less harsh--to say, the deist believes in a God, the theist in a living God (summa intelligentia). I cannot even make the assumption--as the practical interests of morality require--of God, freedom, and immortality, if I do not deprive speculative reason of its pretensions to transcendent insight. For he cannot pretend to any certainty of the non-existence of God and of a future life, unless- since it could only be proved by mere reason, and therefore apodeictically--he is prepared to establish the impossibility of both, which certainly no reasonable man would undertake to do. The end is here incontrovertibly established, and there is only one condition possible, according to the best of my perception, under which this end can harmonize with all other ends, and so have practical validity--namely, the existence of a God and of a future world.