21 - Lecture notes, February 26, 1997: Extent of the...

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Lecture notes, February 26, 1997: Extent of the Universe G. J. Mattey Kant's treatment of rational cosmology is found in the Antinomy of Pure Reason. Rational cosmology for the Wolffians was the doctrine of the world in general, as it is known through reason alone. In the Wolffian scheme, God is the unique necessary being, all other possibles being contingent, in that their non-existence is possible. God is also the unique infinite being. Other possibles which can coexist together make up worlds, of which the actual world is one. The actual world is the best of all the possible worlds. Although all worlds and all their constituent beings are finite, they can be represented as infinite through mathematics. Thus the actual world is infinite in its extension. Kant's treatment of rational cosmology makes reference to these various doctrines (and others opposing them), but it does so on Kant's own terms. Reason, the basis of this kind of cosmology, is said to be the faculty which brings to completion the activity of the understanding. The activity
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