The metaphysics of Wolff explained the necessity of God's existence by appeal to a version of the ontological argument. The concept of God is that of the most real being, and a being with all reality must exist. The most real being is complete with respect to all possible properties, and the Wolffians regarded existence itself as the completion of possibility. To illustrate this idea, I will suppose that I have just walked into this room. It is possible for me to sit down or to remain standing. My sitting down completes the possibility, in the sense that the other option is closed off. If there is a being whose essence is so complete in itself that it requires nothing more for its completion, then that object exists. Kant utterly rejected this sort of reasoning. A concept, he held, can be ever so complete without anything about its existence being determined thereby. Existence is not to be found in concepts, but in perception. Thus we can say that something exists when it is perceived or is connected by causal laws with what is perceived, e.g. as
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This note was uploaded on 11/09/2011 for the course PSY PSY2012 taught by Professor Scheff during the Fall '09 term at Broward College.