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Document Details :
Title: Kant en de eeuwigheid van de wereld - Kant and the Eternity of the World
Subtitle: Een historisch-kritische lezing van de eerste antinomie - A Historico-Critical Reading of the First Antinomy
Author(s): VAN VELDHUIJSEN, Peter
Volume: 56 Issue: 1 Date: 1995
The land of truth, 'ein reizender Name', is according to Kant 'umgeben von einem weiten und stürmischen Ozeane, dem eigentlichen Sitze des Scheins, wo manche Nebelbank, und manches bald wegschmelzendes Eis neue Länder lügt, und indem es den auf Entdeckungen herumschwärmenden Seefahrer unaufhörlich mit leeren Hoffungen täuscht, ihn in Abenteuer verflechtet, von denen er niemals ablassen, und sie doch auch niemals zu Ende bringen kann' (KrV B 295). The geographer of human reason has made it his task to set bounds to this island of the truth. (B 788, 823) Just as in rational psychology and theology veils and illusions are likewise raised up in rational cosmology, so that those who seek after sound ground in the question of the origin of duration of the world are only hurled to and from between pseudo-solutions.
The question of this article concerns the following problem: How strong is the position of the so-called first antinomy for Kant's thesis, that reason tangles itself up in unsoluble discrepancies when it is occupied with questions that exceed experience? Kant holds the view that regarding the ancient question on the eternity of the world are always taken up two positions (the world is finite contra the world is infinite) that are mutually exclusive, because each for itself claims apodictic argumentation. But from discussions that Thomas Aquinas made with Aristotle and Bonaventure on time and the infinite appears that the argumentation in the first antinomy is not so apodictic as Kant imagined. So it seems that there are reasons to doubt if reason gets entangled when it is engaged in matters that exceed experience.