The Transcendental Ideal in Kant. A Reconstruction
Kant treats the problem of a philosophical theory of God in two basic steps. First he develops his own understanding of the notion of God by providing the doctrine of the transcendental ideal. Then he proceeds to a critique of three types of the proof of God’s existence. Thus, Kant’s „deconstruction“ of philosophical theology has a positive and a negative part. The present contribution analyses the positive part only, with the aim to supply a detailed reconstruction of Kant’s procedure here. The reconstruction proceeds in the following steps. First we have to elucidate Kant’s notion of ideal. Following Wolff’s differentiation of the three kinds of special metaphysics, Kant distinguishes three basic types of those notions of pure reason which, in an explicit reference to Plato, he names „ideas“. It must then be explained why Kant calls the theological idea, unlike the psychological and the cosmological ones, an ideal. My claim is that the difficulty of the chapter on the transcendental ideal derives from the fact that Kant, without adverting to it explicitly yet in accordance with his own methodology, develops one by one three alternative suggestions of how the notion of the transcendental ideal can be approached. These three suggestions are then investigated in three sections where I also attempt to answer the question as to why Kant defines the theological idea to be not only an ideal but also a transcendental one. In conclusion, I provide a reconstruction of Kantʼs explanation of the origin of the notion of the transcendental ideal in pure reason.