عنوان مقاله [English]
Kant contends that it is not principally possible to argue in favor of the existence of God through theoretical reasoning and attempts to consider the existence of God as the presupposition of necessity to attain the highest good through practical moral arguments, thereby proving God. The purpose of this article was to examine Ayatollah Javadi’s critiques on the moral argument from the perspective of Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi's philosophy of ethics. Javadi Amoli makes two criticisms of this argument. First, Kant's acknowledgment of the acceptance of God's existence has only moral and practical values and does not prove the "existence" of God as a fact per se. The other critique is the implication between "Ought" and "Is", while "Ought " always results from "Is" and not vice versa.
When Kant awakes from his dogmatic sleep, he realizes that none of the arguments presented to prove the existence of God are correct. He goes beyond that by claiming that it is in principle impossible to argue in favor of the existence of God through theoretical reasoning because God is not temporal and spatial; as a result, the categories of comprehension cannot be carried over to Him. Theoretical reasoning is limited to experiences and phenomena and if it goes beyond sensory objects, it goes beyond its limits while it is possible to speak about that realm neither negatively nor positively (Kant, 1998: p.153). However, he understands that by rejecting God, everything would be permissible and maintaining morality and respect for others’ rights would be meaningless. As a result, he decides to prove God through practical reasoning and keep morality alive in the society. Therefore, from Kant's point of view, moral action is the source of happiness and requires belief in the existence of God; because if there is no God, the moral law cannot be the cause of eternal happiness. Then, practical reasoning must accept God as the presupposition; however, theoretical reasoning cannot prove it. In this article, we first described Kant's practical moral argument and then investigated Ayatollah Javadi Amoli’s criticisms. Afterwards, his critiques were examined based on the principles of Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi's philosophy of morality.
According to Kant, his moral theory needs 3 presuppositions to be completed:
Freedom: Freedom is the necessary condition for the possibility of commitment to the absolute moral norms since man cannot act with absolute morality unless he is free.
Immortality of the Soul: No rational being can attain virtue in the sensible world; the soul must be eternal so that we can reach it after death.
God: The third presupposition of Kant's moral theory is the existence of God.
When Kant sees theoretical reason to be incapable of proving God, he tries to prove God through practical reasoning. He believes that virtue and happiness are the two elements of the highest good. The moral law considers the presumption of the existence of God as the necessary condition of the combined interest between virtue and happiness. In other words, happiness is the state of rational being so that everything is done according to man’s will and virtue is what man must do (Kant 1996: 5/124). Man must achieve the highest good, that is, union of what he wants with what he must do. This depends on the compatibility of material nature and human will, but man can never harmonize material nature with his own will because the ordinary being is not the creation of the universe and cannot establish the necessary relationship between happiness and virtue (Kant 1996, 5/113). The highest good in Kant's philosophy has a moral necessity and is attainable by every human being. The necessity of achieving the highest good indicates the possibility of achieving it (Kant 1996: 5/143). Thus, to harmonize between virtue and happiness, we must assume the existence of the cause of the world, which can establish harmony and unity between the virtue and happiness. Therefore, God, the Omnipotent and Omniscient, must exist to reconcile the moral virtue with a blissful result.
Javadi Amoli presents two objections to Kant's argument:
His first objection is that this argument is never an argument for the existence of God because, according to Kant, when rational concepts are not associated with sensory intuition, they have no anecdote about the outside world and do not tolerate any meaning concerning the reality; therefore, this argument has only a moral value and does not open the way to the real world. This argument does not convince the skepticism of the existence of God; rather, it only says that if one wants to think morally, he must accept the existence of God as the presupposition of moral rules. According to Kant, if one wants to acknowledge priori judgments of practical reason, which are the same as moral rules, he or she must also accept the presuppositions of these priori rules, which are the existence of the free will, eternal soul, and God. Nevertheless, from Kant's point of view, this acknowledgment of the existence of God has only moral and practical values and does not prove the "existence" of God (Javadi Amoli, 2007: pp. 284-285).
Javadi Amoli's second objection is the implication of moral judgments on theoretical propositions, such as the existence of God and immortality of the soul. He says that moral judgments, which are related to practical reason, have special subjects and predicates. These propositions, as Kant acknowledges, contain some self-existent propositions that are inherently acceptable to practical reasoning. According to him, the propositions related to theoretical reasoning are never deduced from the propositions that are related to practical reasoning, but this implication is from the side of theoretical reasoning. He says that for man to reach a practical judgment, he always has to form some deductions, the minor and major of which are theoretical and practical verdicts, respectively. From the combination of these two propositions, a moral deduction is formed, the result of which is the quantity, quality, practicality, or theoreticality of the function of the lowest two propositions. Since one of the propositions is derived from practical wisdom, the result that is drawn will be always the result of practical wisdom and not the theoretical result (Javadi Amoli, 2007: pp. 285 and 286).
Nonetheless, Mesbah Yazdi believes that philosophically, the “Ought” and “not-Ought” are deducted from the “Is” and “not-Is”, so there is nothing wrong with drawing an "Ought" conclusion from the premises, which are all about the “Is”. Therefore, it must be deliverable to the “Is” with no difference. As Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi considers moral propositions, both the informing and compositional propositions are deducted from the “Is”. As a result, Ayatollah Javadi's objections to Kant are not sound according to his views. Ayatollah Javadi Amoli believes that because moral sentences are compositional, they are the lowest compared to the informing sentences and combination of informing and compositional propositions. The result would be always compositional since the compositional proposition is the lowest and there is no possibility of deduction, one of the premises of which is a moral (compositional) proposition to give a conclusion that would contain the concept of "Is" and be thus informing. However, according to Ayatollah Mesbah, who maintains that moral propositions are also informing and can be delivered to the universe, moral propositions will no longer be the lowest; hence, it is possible to infer moral propositions from cosmological propositions and at least, there is no barrier to being compositional. In the end, we conclude that according to the principles of Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi's philosophy of ethics, Ayatollah Javadi Amoli’s objections do not apply to Kant's moral argument, while Ayatollah Mesbah's point of view seems more accurate.