nLab transcendental ideal






The basis of it all

 Set theory

set theory

Foundational axioms

foundational axioms

Removing axioms



The transcendental ideal is the embodiment of all predicative possibilities - Inbegriff aller Möglichkeiten - in Kant’s transcendental philosophy and as such it reconstructs the role of the concept of ‘ens perfectissimum’ in the ontological proof of the existence of god in the rational theology of Leibniz and Wolff.

Kant’s innovation with respect to the tradition is that he suspends existential import and substantiality of the concept and gives a thoroughly (meta)logical derivation instead which exhibits the functional role of the ideal as a ‘guideline’ in all reasoning.

This relocation of theology from ontology to logic proved to be consequential in the philosophy of the world age of the mature Schelling where it becomes a key concept (Hogrebe 1989), as well as (indirectly) on the overall architectonic structure of Hegel’s system as a self determination of the idea.


  • P. Baumanns, Kants vierte Antinomie und das Ideal der Vernunft, Kant-Studien 79 (1988) pp.183-200.

  • J. Ferrari, Das Ideal der reinen Vernunft, pp.391-424 in Mohr, Willaschek (eds.), Klassiker Auslegen - Immanuel Kant: Kritik der reinen Vernunft, Akademie Verlag Berlin 1998.

  • O. Höffe, Kants Kritik der reinen Vernunft, Beck München 2003. (pp.258-60)

  • W. Hogrebe, Prädikation und Genesis, Suhrkamp Frankfurt a. M. 1989.

  • I. Kant, Kritik der reinen Vernunft 2, Suhrkamp Frankfurt a. M. 1985[1781, rev. 1787]. (B 600-11/ A 572-84)

  • S. Kovač, The totality of predicates and the possibility of the most real being , Journal of Applied Logics—IfCoLog Journal of Logics and their Applications 5 no. 7 (2018) pp.1523-1552. (pdf)

  • P. Rohs, Kants Prinzip der durchgängigen Bestimmung alles Seienden, Kant-Studien 69 (1978) pp.170-180.

  • P. Rohs, Wahrnehmungsurteile und Erfahrungsurteile, pp.166-189 in Schönrich, Kato (eds.), Kant in der Diskussion der Moderne, Suhrkamp Frankfurt a. M. 1996. (pp.182ff)

  • F. W. J. Schelling, Zweites Buch. Philosophische Einleitung in die Philosophie der Mythologie oder Darstellung der reinrationalen Philosophie (Zwischen 1847 und 1852), pp.263-582 in Schelling, Ausgewählte Werke Band 5, Suhrkamp Frankfurt a. M. 1985. (Lecture 12, pp.294ff)

  • H. Sidgwick, Lectures on the Philosophy of Kant and Other Philosophical Lectures and Essays, Macmillan London 1905.

  • N. Stang, Kant on Complete Determination and Infinite Judgement, Brit. J. Hist. Phil. 20 no. 6 (2012) pp.1117-1139.

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