Graduation Year

2016

Date of Submission

4-2016

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Philosophy

Reader 1

James Kreines

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© 2016 Caroline Bowman

Abstract

I interpret and defend Kant's criticism of traditional metaphysics and his indirect proof of transcendental idealism in the first Critique's Antinomy of Pure Reason. Throughout my thesis, I focus on the role of the principle "P2" in the Antinomy ("If the conditioned is given, then the whole sum of conditions, and hence the absolutely unconditioned, is given"). I first defend Kant's use of the principle to motivate the proofs of the Thesis and Antithesis arguments in the second antinomy, which concerns composition, and the third antinomy, which concerns causality. I then explain how the role of P2 in the proofs exposes Kant's indirect proof of transcendental idealism to a significant challenge, to which I develop a response. Finally, I pose the question of whether Kant ultimately argues that the unconditioned exists, or whether he argues that it is merely possible that the unconditioned exists. I explore both options and outline avenues for further consideration of this question, which I argue is crucial to understanding Kant's critical project.

Comments

Best Senior Thesis in Philosophy

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