Kant's Deflationary Explanation of the Idea of God Kant is one of the first philosophers to offer an explanation of why we mistakenly think we know that God exists. In this respect, Kant is a precursor of such thinkers as Feuerbach, Nietzsche, Freud, and Durkheim, all of whom offered psychological or sociological explanations for the mistaken beliefs at the root of religion. Kant describes the inference to God's existence as a "natural illusion of reason". He explains this illusion in two stages. First, in thinking about the world, we always begin with an archetypal idea of a complete, perfect being. We then whittle this archetype down to size by adding various negations or limitations. Kant think that this process explains our belief in the law of excluded middle: for every thing x and every propery y, either x has y or x does not have y. This logical axiom is true because we always begin, in thought, with an ideal object that possesses all positive properties, and form our ideas of particular things by a process of negation. Belief in God begins
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This note was uploaded on 11/09/2011 for the course PHI PHI2010 taught by Professor Jorgerigol during the Fall '09 term at Broward College.