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By Frederick Charles Copleston

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Extra resources for A History of Philosophy [Vol IV]

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But he is also a moral being who is conscious of obligation. And to recognize obligation is to recognize that the moral law has a claim upon one which one is free to fulfil or reject. 1 Moreover, to recognize a moral order is to recognize implicitly that moral activity is not doomed to frustration and that ultimately human existence 'makes sense'. But it cannot make sense without immortality and God. We cannot prove freedom, immortality and God's existence scientifically. For these ideas have no place in science.

On the one hand Kant saw that the metaphysicians! tended to confuse logical relations with causal relations and to imagine that one could produce by a priori reasoning a system which would give us true and certain information about reality. But it did not seem to him at all evident that, even if we avoid this confusion, we can obtain metaphysical knowledge, say about God, by employing the principle of causality. Hence we can profitably ask whether metaphysics is possible and, if so, in what sense it is possible.

His primary aim was not so much to produce a novel philosophy, as far as content was concerned, as to produce a certain and well-ordered philosophy. And his chief enemy was scepticism rather than Scholasticism. If, therefore, he set himself systematically to doubt all that could possibly be doubted as a preliminary to the establishment of certain knowledge, he did not assume from the outset that none of the propositions which he doubted would turn out later to be certainly true. 'I argued to myself that there was no plausibility in the claim of any private individual to reform a State by altering everything and by overturning it throughout, in order to set it right again.

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