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The Regulative Use of Reason

The Regulative Use of Reason - own demands" This allows...

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The Regulative Use of Reason Kant believed that the design argument, though in a sense furthest from establishing its conclusion, is the most compelling of the three arguments for the existence of God. For it exhibits the idea of God in its most concrete and useful form. It is useful in that the idea introduces systematic unity into the world of experience as we find it , rather than into the world conceived in general. This unity in turn serves as a guide for our investigation of it. "We declare . . . that the things of the world must be viewed as if they received their existence from a highest intelligence. This is use of reason is regulative only: "We ought not to derive the order and systematic unity of the world from a supreme intelligence, but to obtain from the idea of a supremely wise cause the rule according to which reason in connecting empirical causes and effects in the world may be employed to best advantage, and in such manner as to secure satisfaction of its
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Unformatted text preview: own demands" This allows us to view the natural world as purposive, opening the way for teleological explanations, as in physiology. For example, "everything in an animal has its use, and subserves some good purpose" (A688/B716). One must always be careful not to treat such teleological connections as constitutive, but only as an aid to understanding. And we cannot assume from their use that an Author of nature exists. The transcendental object underlying the natural world remains unknown. There are also regulative uses of reason connected to the ideas of the soul and of the world. We can treat our mental states " as if the mind were a simple substance which persists with personal identity (in this life at least), while its states, to which those of the body belong only as outer conditions, are in continual change" . And we can treat the series of outer appearances as if it is endless....
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