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Kant - necessary On the other hand my sitting is...

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Kant's discussion of the categories marks a break with the tradition from Leibniz through Wolff. In both cases, there is a crucial distinction between a necessary being, one whose non-existence is impossible, and contingent beings, which might not exist. God is the unique necessary being, while both the world as a whole and the things in the world are contingent. Their existence depend upon the will of God, who could have created some possible world other than the actual world which was in fact created. That there are alternative uncreated worlds allows us to attribute freedom to God in the act of creation. It also allows attribution of freedom to human acts. I am now sitting. I might be standing now, had a student come in the door (in fact, in another possible world I am so standing). So my sitting now is not necessitated by my previous state. The fact that in another possible world I am standing means that my sitting now is not absolutely
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Unformatted text preview: necessary. On the other hand, my sitting is conditionally or hypothetically necessary. The present set of conditions is sufficient for my sitting, so given them, I must be sitting. Only God exists absolutely necessarily; any of my states exists hypothetically necessarily. Kant claimed that the only sense in which anything exists necessarily is hypothetically. And in fact, all objects of experience are subject to hypothetical necessity, as falling under causal laws. The attempts to extend the category to absolute necessity are ostensibly refuted in the Transcendental Dialectic, in the Fourth Antinomy and the criticism of the Cosmological Argument (in the Transcendental Ideal). If we try to claim that the contingency of the world demands an absolutely necessary being, we are extending the category of causality beyond experience. In objects of experience, the only kind of necessity we may attribute to objects is hypothetical....
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