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Philosophical Thought

The idea of God as a condition for the reason functionning in Kant's transcendental Theology

Medova Anastasiia Anatol'evna

ORCID: 0000-0002-0637-6741

Doctor of Philosophy

Professor in Reshetnev Siberian State University of Science and Technology; Krasnoyarsk State Pedagogical University named after V. P. Astafyev.

82 Mira str., Krasnoyarsk, room 321, Krasnoyarsk Territory, 660049, Russia

Other publications by this author










Abstract: According to I. Kant, reflecting on reality, the mind inevitably comes to the idea of an entity possessing the highest perfection and absolutely necessary by its nature. The idea of God as the supreme being is considered by transcendental theology as a hypothesis of pure reason, without which its practical application is impossible. The author of the article explores why and how the concept of God plays a coordinating role in the work of speculative reason. In this regard, the structure and tasks of Kant's transcendental theology are discussed, its problematic nature as a form of cognition, the prerequisites for the emergence of the idea of God in pure reason, the possibility of proving His existence solely based on a priori concepts, the problem of excluding empirical definitions from the idea of God. The idea of God is analyzed in the light of the natural tasks of the mind formulated by Kant, as a necessary condition for the possibility of achieving them.The study is based on the analysis of Kantian texts. These are mainly the works "The only possible basis for proving the existence of God" (1763), the First and Second criticisms, manuscripts from 1778-1780 (the so-called materials for the "Critique of Pure Reason"), Lectures on Rational Theology of the winter semester of 1783/84, etc. As a result of the research, it is shown that the idea of God acts as an unprovable position, which, nevertheless, the mind must accept, since this is necessary for the completeness of its application. The author explains the organizing role of the concept of God by its a priori "genetic" connection with such categories of pure reason as reality and necessity. The concept of God is "involved" in the work of these categories and is simultaneously shaped by their application. It allows, ultimately, to think about the order and expediency of reality and satisfies the requirement of reason to be economical with respect to the number of explanatory principles. The author's special contribution to the research of the topic is to demonstrate the specifics of the transcendental approach to the stated problem. It is shown that the unprovability of the existence of God is a necessary element of transcendental theology. The very idea of the supreme essence appears in it as a limit, indicating the limit of the possibilities of the mind. In this regard, it is productive, as it allows us to idealize, model consciousness and construct a different type of rationality within the boundaries of our understanding of our own mind.


arguments of the existence of God, transcendental fraud, necessity, possibility, reality, existence, limits of applicability of reason, a priori, space, regulative principles of reason

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The idea of God in Kant's transcendental theology is a necessary hypothesis of reason, the justification of which is impossible by the forces of the same reason. But such a justification, according to Kant, is not required, since the necessity of the idea of God is obvious: without it we would not be able to think. According to Kant, the persuasiveness of the idea of God is as great for the mind as "the original objective mathematical demonstration, although it is not as strong objectively" [1, s. 304] [2, p. 188]. The idea of a supreme being is endowed with such a degree of certainty and such a power of intuitive approval that anyone intending to "use his mind and free will must necessarily assume it" [ibid.]. Whoever denies the idea of God inevitably comes to a logical and practical absurdity, since he contradicts his reason and his will.

The idea of God's existence has the same validity for us as if we rationally saw it with all the evidence. Kant calls this assumption subjectively sufficient transcendental proof of primacy and its absolute necessity, "since we cannot further leave the sphere of experience and our thinking" [1, s. 313-314] [2, p. 194]. This point of rational theology points to the connection of the idea of God with the very possibility of thinking. It is of interest for the study of the transcendental foundations of the mind. In this regard, the article is devoted to the conditioning of the principles of thinking by the idea of the supreme essence, as it is reflected in Kant's works. To solve this problem, we will first present a brief description of Kant's transcendental theology, then turn to the analysis of the origin of the idea of God, identify the transcendental perspective of introducing the idea of the supreme essence into the consideration of the work of pure reason, emphasizing the thesis of the unprovability of the existence of God, in order to finally clarify how in the system of Kantian philosophy this idea makes possible the use of reason.

I. Kant's Transcendental Theology

According to Kant, the concept of God enters into the natural tasks of the mind, which causes the need for a transcendental and, in general, rational theology. In handwritten materials from 1778-1780 (Vorlesungen ?ber Metaphysik und Rationaltheologie, AA XXVIII), Kant contrasts the theology of revelation with natural or rational theology, which arises from the threefold need of reason. First, it is the need of pure reason to think of God as its organizing principle, which entails a transcendental theology. Secondly, it is the need of the empirical mind to assume primacy for the sake of the empirical application of its principles, from which arises natural theology, including physic theology and cosmotheology (natural theology in a broad sense can be understood as the discretion of God from within the world on the basis of unity, orderliness, regularity of nature). The third need of reason is practical and at the same time moral: moral principles presuppose primacy, without which the practical application of reason would be impossible [1, p. 305-306] [2, p. 189]. Here it should be taken into account that Kant deduces the ultimate goals of the pure application of our reason from its relation to three subjects: freedom of will, the immortality of the soul and the existence of God (A 797/B 825). The highest practical purpose of our reason is the affirmation of good will. Only when this goal is achieved can the mind be satisfied (AA IV, 396) [3, p. 165]. In the second criticism, Kant refers the existence of God to the postulates of pure practical reason, introducing the concept of happiness into his argument. The rationale for the necessity of the concept of God for practical reason is as follows: the achievement of happiness is the guiding motive of human activity, the desired state of a rational being in the world when his existence corresponds to his will and desire. One cannot deprive a person of the right to happiness on a metaphysical level. The possibility of happiness presupposes the correspondence (harmony) of nature, the ultimate goal of human existence (moral state) and the main determining basis of his will, i.e. the moral law. But such a correspondence is impossible, since the moral law is a priori. Its foundations are completely independent of nature, and nature itself is independent of the motives of an acting intelligent being. Kant concludes: "there is no basis in the moral law for the necessary connection between morality and the happiness of a being commensurate with it" (AA V, 124) [3, p. 522]. If this is the case, it is impossible to talk about the proportionality of morality and happiness, and a moral person cannot hope to be happy. In order to resolve this contradiction, it is necessary to postulate the existence of a cause of the world that is different from nature, which would contain the basis of a complete correspondence between happiness and morality. Thus, only the recognition of the supreme causality of nature, which itself has a causality consistent with moral conviction, allows us to admit the possibility of the highest good in the world.

It should be noted that theology itself in any of its forms is not an obvious and undisputed event for Kant. Throughout his work, he discussed the possibility of theology as a science. Although in the precritical period he still has no doubt that the highest degree of certainty is available to theology, he already makes a reservation: this is possible only if it is possible to verify the existence of its subject, i.e. an absolutely necessary essence (AA II, 296-297) [4, pp. 185-186]. The further evolution of Kant's views will lead him to the conclusion that it is impossible to verify the existence of God in the ways of speculative theology. Neither ontotheology, cosmotheology, nor physicotheology can prove with apodictic certainty that God exists, nor can they refute it (A 591/B 619) [5, p. 465]. However, theology still has the right to exist for Kant: "It is certainly necessary to be convinced of the existence of God, but it is not at all necessary to prove it to the same extent" (AA II, 163) [6, p. 498]. Kant places his hopes on an ethicotheology in which the confirmation of the existence of God takes place in the ways of practical application of reason.

However, as Kant notes in his lectures on rational theology, if we want to understand how the concept of God is even possible, it is transcendental theology that is fundamental. The cognition of the first essence from the pure concepts of reason (ens originarium, realissimum, ens entium) is the basis of all other possible arguments about God [1, s. 308] [2, p. 191].

The Nature of the idea of God

This importance of transcendental theology is due to the nature of the idea of God. Strictly speaking, Kant's idea of God is not the idea of pure reason or pure reason, it is something more. Kant calls it the "ideal" or "prototype" of all things (A 578/B 606), but in the process of exposition we will designate it as an idea or concept, thereby emphasizing its transcendental character.

God cannot be characterized by empirical definitions or by concepts derived from knowledge of the world. To conceive of It requires the use of exceptionally pure transcendental concepts of general significance. This means that the concept of God is a kind of intellectual resource of the mind, deeply rooted in its foundations. As mentioned above, thinking about the concept of God is part of the natural tasks of the mind. In other words, the mind on the path of knowledge of the world must inevitably come to the idea of God. This thesis is characteristic of the whole of transcendental theology in its historical development, one can say this is its leitmotif. Thus, according to the Canadian theologian B. Lonergan (1904-1084), the roots of the fundamental questions and answers of the human mind, regardless of whether they are formulated as religious or non-religious, "go into the same transcendental aspiration of the human spirit, which asks: asks without limits, questions the meaning of its own questioning, and thus comes to the question of God" [7, p. 120].

Consider Kant's argumentation in handwritten sketches from 1778-1780 on why the idea of God is assumed by the very type of our rationality. To think of something that would be different from nature and could act as its cause is a natural tendency of the mind, as well as to speculate on the causes of events, seeing their randomness. The mind unites all random things, builds their causal chains and brings them together. Therefore, to think of an entity that is different from the world and is its cause is the natural task of speculative reason, while positing universal and objective foundations of morality is the natural task of practical reason. Also, our mind cannot but believe this reason to be free (otherwise it would be constrained by the necessity of nature) and reasonable. The idea of the uniqueness of God, as well as the idea of monism in general, also has rational grounds: to assume several first entities with different or even contradictory properties would mean the absence of world certainty and uniform rules of reason. Minimizing the number of prerequisites and patterns in explaining something is also typical of our rationality: the more convincing is the theory that comes from the least number of causative causes and connections. It is no coincidence that O. Comte characterizes the mature, "positive" stage of human mind development as a transition to explaining the world exclusively through patterns. Moreover, the progress of science assumes that the number of such patterns will steadily decrease, and all observed phenomena will be interpreted as special cases of one or more general facts [8, pp. 554, 559].

Here one can feel the duality of the idea of God, typical of the transcendental style of philosophizing. It remains unclear whether it is possible to talk about the objective prerequisites of the concept of the supreme essence or is it entirely generated by the needs of the mind in organized systematic activity? Anyway, the idea of a single, free, reasonable intelligentsia, different from the world, i.e. about God, is "a natural consequence of the needs of reason" [1, p. 303] [2, p. 188]. To confirm his thought, Kant uses an argument for universality: all peoples have always had and have some kind of concept of primacy, regardless of their level of cultural and civic development.

A Transcendental approach to Understanding God

The transcendental application of reason implies that no object can be given in accordance with the laws of experience [9, p. 192]. In general, Kant defines transcendental philosophy in Opus postum as the principle according to which a system of ideas constitutes itself a priori into an object of pure reason. This is the principle of the constitution of oneself (i.e. mind) into an object according to ideas, even before its self-determination in space and time (Erstes Convolut, VII. Bogen, AA XXI, 099) [10, s. 97-98]. The fact that man has the idea of the divine essence fits perfectly into these definitions of transcendental philosophy.

By definition, God is an out-of-the-world, i.e., a transcendent entity. This does not mean, according to Kant, that the original essence has some place outside this world, but that it does not belong to the world as a whole, although it is connected with all things. The mind does not allow the supreme being to think as if it interacts with things, since it is the fundamental principle of all things [1, s. 325] [2, p. 202]. But this is not essential in the idea of God, but what role it plays in our mind. Therefore, Kant's theology is precisely transcendental, not transcendental.

By the transcendental one should understand what is on the border of the mind and the reality beyond it, i.e. on the border of the possibility of the mind's applicability to reality [11] [12]. The transcendental approach emphasizes that the necessity of the idea of God for the practical application of pure reason is subjective, not objective. The recognition of God's existence is connected with the consciousness of our duty, but the idea of any obligation in general rests solely on the autonomy of the mind itself. This is an a priori idea, from which follows the postulate of pure practical reason. Kant notes: the postulate is a theoretical, but as such, unprovable position, which nevertheless is inherent in a practical law that has absolute force (AA V, 122) [3, p. 520]. Thus, the recognition of the existence of God is necessary for the mind, since only it contains the basis of its goals, the possibility of a connection between happiness and morality, etc. In relation to theoretical reason, the existence of God is only a hypothesis, and in relation to practical reason, faith, moreover, is based "on pure reason, since only pure reason (both in its theoretical and practical application) is its source" (AA V, 126) [3, pp. 523-524].

So, the idea of a supreme being is transcendental, since it is assumed by the very structure of pure reason, namely its expediency and final tasks, but it is unprovable by reason itself. However, paradoxically, it is she who allows us to think about real things, she allows the mind to turn to the integrity of the world and realize its tasks in it. Two questions arise here: 1) why is the existence of God unprovable by the forces of pure reason and 2) how does it determine the possibility of the work of this mind?

The unprovability of the Divine Being

Kant paid enough attention to the criticism of all the proofs of the existence of the supreme Absolute known to him. As E. Kanterian notes, in his early works Kant did not express any doubt that God reveals himself through the order of nature and through theoretical reason. During this period, metaphysics as a science was not problematic for him: the principles of cognition were presumably also ontological principles or had ontological significance. The turning point occurred when Kant realized that there are fundamental cognitive relationships that are not logical. From that moment on, even the modified principles of cognition that he tried to establish proved insufficient to substantiate metaphysics [13, pp. 394, 311]. And the prospects of substantiating the existence of God in the ways of pure reason were also lost.

Kant's key claims were addressed to the modal argument for the existence of God, which occupied his mind already in the Latin work "Principiorum primorum cognitionis metaphysicae nova dilucidatio" (1755). It reads as follows: "There is a being whose existence precedes even his own possibility and the possibility of all other things. Therefore, it can be described as an absolutely necessary being. This is God" (AA I, 395). This argument was shared by Leibniz, who believed that nothing can hinder the possibility of God's existence: his concept does not contain "any limits, no negation and, consequently, no contradiction" [14, p. 420]. This alone is enough to know the existence of God a priori. Therefore, it must be recognized that God necessarily exists, if only he is possible. It is not difficult to understand why this particular argument attracted Kant's greatest attention: it is completely speculative, the existence of God is justified here on the basis of concepts and logical connections of speculative reason.

In the work "The only possible basis for proving the existence of God" (1763), Kant criticizes the modal argument, arguing that his reality cannot be deduced from the concept of God. In a critical period, Kant definitively rejects: one cannot deduce the existence of God by concluding from the possible as a foundation to existence as a consequence (Cartesian proof), or, on the contrary, conclude from possible things as consequences to the existence of God as a foundation (proof by Christian Wolf) [6, p. 497] [15]. Kant's refutation is based on exposing the logical error that arises when being is necessarily predicated to God. Being is not a predicate, it is a Position, because predicates have only that which exists, i.e. already has being. Thus, the concept of higher reality, even if we must think of it with necessity, "does not contain being, because being is not reality" [1, s. 313] [2, p. 194].

This contains an important point for transcendental theology: Kant does not criticize the actual proof of the existence of God, he is concerned about the way in which the concept of God arises in the mind. As S.L. Frank notes, it is really impossible to deduce His existence from the hypothetical concept of God. But the meaning of this proof is different: "there are contents that are immediately given as realities, in relation to which a "hypothetical" concept is impossible. Being is not deduced from the concept, but is seen as necessary" [16, p. 96]. Kant would not agree with this objection. Nevertheless, we find ourselves here in the problematic area of the question of the a priori concept of God. Frank characterizes the concept of God in essentially the same way as Kant characterizes the concept of being in his work "On the only possible basis ...". Since "all our knowledge eventually boils down to further indecomposable concepts," we periodically encounter them in our thinking. Existence is precisely such an almost indecomposable concept, its signs are "only slightly clearer and simpler than the thing itself" (AA II, 73-74) [6, p. 394]. The idea of God and the idea of existence are of the same order in terms of the principles of the mind.

The first "Critique" formalizes Kant's ontological and epistemological concept, which includes the idea of a priori synthetic cognition. Along this path, it becomes clear that the existence of God is unprovable, as well as irrefutable (B 669/A 641): His existence cannot be known synthetically, since this is possible only in relation to things of possible experience. But it is also not analytically provable it is impossible to deduce his existence from the idea of God. In no way can one contemplate God, but one can know Him through the relationship in which He is to the world as its foundation [1, s. 330] [2, p. 205].

The unprovability of the existence of God is a fundamental point for transcendental theology. As noted by D. Bonhoeffer, transcendental thinking will never be able to say "God exists", since this would be objectification, completion, dogmatization. Truth "exists" only in action itself, action in relation to transcendence; the idea of God is active in relation to reason. Only in the performance of the act, in the striving of the presence to understand oneself, "there is" God as a condition, a possibility, always in the process and never ending [17, p. 29]. The existence of God must be unprovable, it seems to be embedded in the mind itself. Kant feared that if we could ever be convinced of the existence of God, the mind might stop working. He will cease to investigate "the causes of the world according to rules and order," which, in fact, is his vocation and true purpose. The intellectual evidence of God will lead to the fact that the mind will stop looking for order and patterns and will attribute everything to the divine will. But this is an audacity: "we cannot free ourselves from the use of reason" [1, s. 344] [2, p. 214].

Through pure reason, transcendental theology thinks of the supreme essence with the help of transcendental concepts alone, which leads to the assertion of its absolute independence from anything, necessity, all-sufficiency, dependence on it of all things and the foundation in it of all other entities [1, p. 309] [2, p. 191]. The legitimacy of the idea of such an entity can be justified if it is proved that this is the only condition under which the understanding can think of other objects, and the mind can fulfill its purpose, and that the opposite of such an idea is at the same time the complete elimination of all thinking.

How the concept of God makes possible the work of the mind

At first glance, it is only obvious that the concept of God sets the boundaries of reason. It is almost impossible to come to it rationally: "in order to rise to the Invisible, a very trained mind is required, as well as its more frequent tests" [9, p. 194-195]. Therefore, transcendental theology is valuable precisely for its critical function. It cannot define the Divine essence or endow it with characteristics; any qualities that a person is able to think belong to an empirical order. Transcendental theology only thinks of the concept of God analytically, deducing from it those contents that it already presupposes (reasonableness, free will, etc.). The benefits of transcendental theology are negative: it gives pure concepts of knowledge of God and purifies false ones [1, p. 307] [2, p. 190]. This is possible on the path of strict separation of pure cognitions of the mind based on a priori concepts and ideas from empirical ones.

For example, transcendental theology can be applied to natural theology in order to prevent the latter from falling into anthropomorphism. Natural theology presupposes proof of God's existence derived from empirical principles. But since God cannot be the subject of sensory experience, we are talking here about the experience of our soul, i.e., about the concepts of inner experience. This idea of Kant raises questions. In particular, since we have cognitive ability, we attribute the highest reason to the first essence [1, s. 307] [2, p. 190]; for Kant, the first essence cannot but possess reason. From the point of view of intellectual intuition, it is absurd to believe that the Supreme Being is unreasonable or not thinking. However, does this ability necessarily have to be inherent in the absolute beginning? The concept of intelligence does not follow from the concept of the original as such, it can also be thought of as spontaneous, especially since it is non-human. In this critical way, transcendental theology as a whole must be realized.

The essence of Kantian philosophy can be summarized in the thesis that the boundaries of our mind should not be considered the boundaries of things. In the lecture course on rational theology of the winter semester of 1783/84 and in the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant argues that we can accept something with reason, even if we cannot prove it. Reason accepts unprovable propositions if it is necessary for the completeness of its application; this is called "faith of reason" (A830/B 858) [5, p. 609] [9, p. 194]. However, the provisions adopted in this way must be 1) necessary, and 2) it must be possible to deduce the facts of experience from them.

What is the necessity of the idea of God for the mind and how exactly does it determine its work? The fact is that the concept of God is genetically linked in the mind with such a priori rational categories as reality and necessity. When they are activated by the cognizing mind, the idea of God is "activated", if I may say so. Even more unexpectedly, Kant connects it with space as an a priori form of sensuality. Let's look at these relationships in more detail.

The idea of God and the category of reality. In the precritical period, Kant comes to the conclusion that "only one argument can be given in favor of the existence of God; the very inner possibility of all things is considered as something that presupposes some existence" (AA II, 159) [6, p. 494]. The inner possibility or essence of things is the ultimate concept, the abolition of which destroys everything imaginable (AA II, 162-163) [6, p. 498]. The same idea is developed in the Critique of Pure Reason. Kant believes that reason defines things based on a "transcendental substrate" containing "as it were the entire stock of material from which all possible predicates of things can be derived" (A 575/B 603) [5, p. 456]. This can be understood in such a way that any representation is preceded by an intuition of the totality of existence as such, which provides the material for the possibility of all sense objects and conditions a single all-encompassing experience. Reason needs "a supreme and complete material condition for the possibility of all that exists, to which all thinking about objects in general from the side of their content should be reduced" (A 576/B 604) [5, p. 456]. Apparently, Kant says here that the possibility of contemplation as a qualitative filling of a priori concepts should be available to consciousness before encountering things, in all its completeness and diversity. It must have its own source, since the quality (material) of the sensation is in no way determined by the empirical form given a priori. Nor is it determined by things themselves (A 581-582/B 609-610).

We are talking about the ultimate foundation of reason, which is neither the idea of reason nor the idea of pure reason, it does not even fit into the boundary between the conceivable and the tangible. This is the transcendental ideal of reason and at the same time the subject of transcendental theology: the idea of omnitude (omnitudo realitatis), the most real being (entis realissimi), the concept of God in the transcendental sense. The a priori concept of reality in general can only be universal and integral; the division of reality into certain types of it is a posteriori, it arises only in experience. The discretion of all things in their diversity is based, according to Kant, on the limitation, not of the original being itself, since it is one and it is impossible to imagine its division, but "of the completeness of its consequences, which should also include all our sensuality together with all the realities in the phenomenon" (A 579/B 607) [5, p. 458]. So, the basis of the comprehensive definition of things is the concept of all-reality, although it does not follow that this ultimate reality is given objectively.

To sum up the above: two categories of pure reason reality and denial - play a leading role in the formation of the concept of God. The whole point is that, of necessity, we can only think by assumption; denial requires the initial assumption of what is being denied. Therefore, all negations are the boundaries of reality, which, in turn, imply the unlimited. Consequently, all things can be considered by the mind only insofar as there is something positive in them. Moreover, "in order to determine all things, it is necessary to assume a set of realities from which I can then determine all things" [1, s. 310] [2, p. 192]. The next logical step is the idea of the cumulative possibility of all things. It is, in fact, the idea of the infinitely positive, the aggregate reality, the all-essential essence. Without this idea, nothing can be conceivable. But is it necessary (necessity is a property of all a priori ideas)?

The idea of God and the category of necessity. According to Kant, the concept of absolute necessity is only a problem of reason, and it cannot be seen by reason itself. Something may be necessary, the opposite of which cannot be conceived. But according to our reason, the opposite of every thing is possible, and therefore there can be no absolute necessity. The opposite of a thing is impossible when it contradicts a thing. But the absence of God is conceivable, and it does not contradict the idea of God, i.e. it does not make the existence of God unthinkable [1, p. 312] [2, p. 193]. Nevertheless, the mind must necessarily think of the original essence: it is necessary as a condition of every possibility, just as "space and time are absolutely necessary in themselves, according to sensory and cosmological concepts, because they are the conditions for the possibility of the existence of things" [1, p. 324] [2, p. 201].

In the first critique, Kant characterizes the concept of necessity as the most important a priori category of pure reason. The twelve categories of pure reason, which relate a priori to the objects of contemplation in general, correspond to all possible types of logical judgments; they exhaust all intellectual activity (A 79-81/B 105-107). The category of necessity is one of the principles of the deployment of pure reason in its cognitive activity. Without the category of necessity, no explanatory strategies, neither logical nor ontological, are possible. At the same time, the knowledge of the absolute necessity of a thing is achievable only from a priori concepts (A 634/B 662). In the mind there is an inevitable linking of the concepts of necessity (there must be something necessary in itself among existing things) and higher reality (A 615/B 643). Kant argues that these concepts are in the mind in an original connection, forming a transcendental proof of the existence of God: if a higher reality exists, it must exist with necessity, since it is contradictory to think of it as devoid of existence. This is the same modal argument or ontological proof of the existence of God that Kant criticized. In fact, as Kant notes, reason would never have followed this path if not for its inner need to admit to existence something absolutely necessary and a priori reliable (A 603/B 631) [5, p. 472]. In other words, the concept of absolute necessity, which plays a key role in explaining reality, takes the form of the idea of God in pure reason.

Let us now turn to space and its relation to the idea of God. These two fundamental foundations of reason, according to Kant, have a similar nature of formation and functioning, which somewhat reveals the secret of the structure of the mind itself.

Space, along with time, plays a key role in the Kantian system. It makes possible 1) contemplation of objects, being an a priori form of sensuality, 2) categorical thinking, conditioning pure intellectual schemes and, in particular, "introducing into play" the categories of modality [18, p. 315-316], 3) experience in general, since the latter is a synthetic unity of phenomena according to concepts (A 108-110). The possibility of sensory perception (contemplation) is a priori and precedes the experience of objects. It "contains nothing but a form of sensuality that precedes all real impressions in my subject" (AA IV, 282) [3, p. 37]. Such forms of sensuality are space and time, and only in accordance with them can we perceive anything. But also rational thinking, an example of which is mathematics and geometry, directly requires spatial representations; these sciences base all their knowledge and judgments on pure contemplation of space and time (AA IV, 283) [3, pp. 37-38].

God cannot be an object of sensual contemplation, no spatial representations are applicable to the concept of the supreme being. Therefore, one cannot literally understand the thesis about the presence of God in the world. He is "present" in things as the cause of their substantiality; this presence is not local, but virtual [1, s. 347] [2, p. 215]. In this regard, Kant's maxim from the sketches of 1778-1780 raises questions: things make up unity, since everything exists through the One. The sensual representation of unity is space, thus space is "the phenomenon of divine omnipresence (Allgegenwart)" [1, s. 347] [2, p. 215]. If we try to imagine that things that are not connected by space and time exist, the idea of their connection (respectus) immediately arises. Thus, Kant concludes, even in the possibility of space and time, a being is assumed to be one; therefore, there is one being through whom everything exists (AA XXVIII, 132). Is it to be understood that space, as an a priori form of sensuality, is the reaction of our consciousness to the presence of a higher entity (the reality of which is unprovable)? This idea does not seem to be organic to Kant's teaching. It was provoked by Newton's famous assumption that space is a "sanctuary of God" (sensorium Dei). In Optics (book 3, question 28), Newton writes about the correctness of nature, both living and inanimate. He is shocked by the harmonious arrangement and expedient movement of all bodies from the movements of animals to the position of the stars. To explain this, he proposes the hypothesis of the existence of an incorporeal living intelligent omnipotent being, "which in infinite space, as if in its receptacle, sees all things up close, sees through them and understands them completely due to their close proximity to him" [19, pp. 280-281]. This hypothesis cannot be supported within the framework of the Kantian system already because space is only a regulative principle and a pure form of contemplation for the human mind. However, in lectures on rational theology, Kant argues: if we assume that a higher power supports and determines the place of things relative to each other, and space for us is an a priori way of ordering the relations of things, then we should say that God is the cause of space. Space is a phenomenon of Its omnipresence, although not spatial, but virtual (with a significant caveat: in no way can one be sure that God is acting in one case or another) [9, pp. 168-169].

Nevertheless, there is a more obvious connection between the idea of God and space, indicating the organization of pure reason and reason. Both of these givens are only regulatory principles of the mind, but so essential that the mind takes them for constitutive, i.e. for objectively existing objects. The work of reason is based on the rule of "systematic and, according to universal laws, necessary unity in the explanation of all phenomena" (A 619/B 647, 1999, p. 482). The mind needs to see manifestations of this rule in the world, otherwise it will not be able to mentally relate to its integrity. And therefore, he learns all the world's connections as if (als ob) they arose from an all-sufficient necessary cause, while hypostatizing it, i.e. giving it the status of a real being. Kant calls this process "transcendental manipulation." Similarly, space, which for the first time makes all contemplations possible, although it is only a regulatory principle of sensuality, is involuntarily accepted by reason as something unconditional, necessarily existing in itself. The principles of systematic unity in the explanation of phenomena require that all phenomena in space be presented as completely different from acts of thought (A 683/B 711). The concept of God, as the idea of the original cause and universal necessity, also falls into the orbit of this principle. Thus, the comparison of the realization of the idea of God in the mind and the spatial form of sensuality makes it possible to catch the mind "by surprise" at the moment of its constitution of reality. Kant's conclusion is as follows: "there is nothing that absolutely binds the mind to this existence" (A 617/B 645) [5, p. 481]. The mind can mentally destroy reality without any contradictions for itself, and only in thinking lies its absolute necessity.


The idea of a supreme being is in Kant's transcendental theology a necessary regulatory principle of the unity of human consciousness. It has the same powerful binding and ordering power to explain reality that the spatial form of sensuality has for its perception, while it is a priori "genetically" connected with such categories of pure reason as reality and necessity and is "involved" in their work. The whole sphere of our experience and thinking presupposes the idea of God. The concept of God does not contradict experience and organizes the activity of both practical and theoretical reason: it allows us to think about the order and expediency of reality, satisfies the requirement of our mind to be economical with respect to the number of explanatory principles (A 623/B 651) [5, pp. 484-485]; being a postulate of pure practical reason, makes it possible to realize its ultimate goals (AA V, 124) [3, p. 522].

This does not prevent the idea of God from remaining a transcendental idea. According to Kant, the concept of God has never been more than a necessary hypothesis of theoretical and practical reason. And although the idea of God in itself and according to its pure concept is not given as something real, without it a number of conditions going back to the foundations cannot be completed (A 584/B 612). Transcendental theology unfolds in a field of tension between the unprovability of God's existence and the need to believe in him. The idea of God is important because it marks the limit of the mind's possibilities; it is that unprovable position that the mind is forced to accept for the completeness of its application [5, p. 609] [9, p. 194], and at the same time its unprovability forces the mind to fulfill its purpose: to investigate the causes of the world according to rules and order [1, S. 344] [2, p. 214].

The idea of God in transcendental theology is also productive in that it allows us to build an ideal (in the sense of applying the general scientific method of idealization), i.e., the ultimate model of reason. This is a mind that does not need sensory contemplation, does not have a priori forms of sensuality, i.e., free from the space-time conditions of perception of something, and generally does not depend on objects of knowledge. He does not possess abstract thinking, because abstractions are a distraction from sensory diversity. It contains ideas as such forms of cognition, which themselves are the basis of the possibility of their subject. His representations produce the existence of their objects (In 72). For this type of mind, any cognition turns out to be self-cognition [1, pp. 328-329] [2, pp. 203-204]. The transcendental concept of God allows us to construct a different type of rationality within the boundaries of our understanding of our own mind.

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The interest in Kant's philosophy, which has remained one of the most widely read and discussed classical philosophers in recent decades, is quite understandable, especially in the coming jubilee year, when not only professional historians of philosophy, but also representatives of most other fields of philosophical knowledge return to his work again and again, therefore, the appearance of an article about one of the most difficult The points of Kantian philosophy can only be welcomed. The immediate subject of consideration in the reviewed article is the question of the dependence of the principles of thinking and cognition (these concepts are not synonymous with Kant) on the idea of God. This topic "does not lie on the surface", its significance still needs to be realized, and the fact that the author, using the materials of the sketches for the Critique of Pure Reason, shows how his chosen problem is connected with the most important subjects of Kant's theoretical and practical philosophy, testifies to research professionalism and a deep understanding of the system of critical philosophy. The comments that will be formulated below should not be perceived as an obstacle to the publication of the article, some of them can be taken into account in the working order, and some, perhaps, the author will take into account in subsequent studies. First of all, the text is far from stylistic perfection. Thus, the expression "work of the mind", presented in the title and repeated in the presentation itself, sounds bad, it is preferable to "activity", "activity" of the mind or, in other contexts, "application" of the mind (the latter expression, as is known, is used by the philosopher himself in key places of the first "Criticism"). It is also difficult to recognize the beginning of the article as successful, the reader gets the impression that the author is returning to some conversation that was interrupted or "postponed for later"; at the beginning of the presentation, it is necessary to formulate a general problem, one of the aspects of which is considered in the proposed article (in this case, this is the problem of rethinking rational theology in critical philosophy). In many cases, the stylistic "understatement" of thought also hinders the understanding of the content of what the author is trying to say, and can also raise doubts about the accuracy of his ideas about the main provisions of critical philosophy. For example, the expression "... caused by the nature of the idea of God" seems extremely unfortunate (what does "nature" mean in this case? "Specifics"?). Let's now talk about issues of theoretical importance. Attempts to evaluate Kant's critique of rational theology have been made by dozens, if not hundreds, of researchers, including domestic ones. Therefore, in the introductory part it is necessary to give a brief conceptual summary of the discussions that have already taken place, otherwise some readers will tend to see more originality in the presented article than it actually has. Approximately the same thing has to be repeated regarding the need to take into account the historical context of the emergence of Kantian philosophy. Far from all the provisions mentioned by the author should be perceived as the "discoveries" of the Konigsberg thinker, in some cases we are talking about "common places" that are repeated by a number of authors. Let's read the following statement: "God cannot be characterized by empirical definitions or by concepts derived from knowledge of the world." Is this Kant's discovery? Didn't Descartes already take this position for granted, pointing out the innate nature of the idea of God? In short, the "intimacy" of the topic does not relieve the researcher from the need to take into account the historical-philosophical and historical-cultural context, and the text of the article should be adjusted in this regard so that the reader can see the originality of the Kantian approach against the background of the tradition to which he belonged. To this end, the bibliographic list should also be expanded, which is very sparse, taking into account the wealth of literature on Kantian philosophy, and then it will not necessarily be necessary to prove all significant provisions within the framework of the article itself, in some cases it is enough to refer to the results already obtained by other researchers. Despite the seriousness of the comments made, the overall rather high theoretical level of the reviewed article allows us to recommend it for publication.