6 - T he second principle of Wolff's philosophy was the...

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The second principle of Wolff's philosophy was the principle of sufficient reason, that everything that exists does so for a reason sufficient to bring about its existence rather than non-existence. Wolff gave a wretched argument to establish this principle based on the principle of non-contradiction. In other words, he regarded it as analytic. But Kant recognized that it is synthetic. It is always possible that any event that occurs has done so without a cause or any reason at all. On the other hand, Kant recognized the principle of sufficient reason (for things in time: every alteration of a thing has a cause) as a necessary truth. Kant had claimed that the principles of mathematics are necessary insofar as they are conditions of sensible representation. We can now say that they are synthetic, in that their opposite does not imply a contradiction. Principles of "pure natural science," such as the causal principle just mentioned, are also synthetic and known a priori. They are conditions for the coherence or "unity" of experience. They are needed for us to be able to represent a world of objects as belonging to one single experience. In general, Kant believed that the task of showing how synthetic judgments can be made a
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This note was uploaded on 01/31/2011 for the course PHILOSOPHY 102 taught by Professor Markelwin during the Winter '10 term at UC Davis.

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6 - T he second principle of Wolff's philosophy was the...

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