Now let us turn to the first Antinomy

Now let us turn to the first Antinomy - time. If so, then...

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Now let us turn to the first Antinomy, specifically the part concerning a beginning of the world in time. The dogmatic Thesis is that the world has a beginning in time, and the empiricistic Antithesis denies that the world has a beginning. The argument for the thesis begins with the assumption that the world has no beginning in time. This means (says Kant) that the task of tracing backward through time is a process that cannot be completed: it is an infinite task. But this conflicts with a principle which states that when a conditioned (the state of things at the present time) is given, the conditions are given with it. The present is what it is now by virtue of all the past states which have led up to it. Since all the past states are given, they must be reachable by a synthesis. But the assumption implies that such a synthesis cannot reach all the conditions, so the assumption is false. The world has a beginning in time. The argument for the antithesis begins with the assumption that the world has a beginning in
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Unformatted text preview: time. If so, then there was a time at which it did not exist (an empty time). In an empty time there is no sufficient reason for something to come to be, since there is nothing to distinguish one empty time from another. But this conflicts with a principle which states that whatever comes to be has a sufficient reason for its existence rather than non-existence. The assumption implies that there is none, so it is false. The world has no beginning in time, but has existed from infinity. The argument for the antithesis is adapted from Leibniz, who however drew quite a different conclusion from it. He claimed that time is meaningless apart from a world of existing things. Thus he concluded not that the world has existed from infinity, but the weaker thesis that the world has no beginning in time. For Kant, however, an empty time is possible, as announced in the Aesthetic. So if there is none, infinite time is filled up....
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