The search for God is dictated not from without but from a profound sense of one's own moral being and worthiness to be happy. The core of Immanuel Kant's argument remains relevant to the experience of ordinary men and women. He wished to strengthen, not undermine, belief in God and in the spiritual nature of humankind.
This 1763 essay is imporrtant in understanding the development of Kant's thought. It exposed the flaw in the Cartesian argument that the existence of a perfect being could be deduced from an idea or concept of such. Similarly, Kant saw the problem inherent in the Leibnizian view of a philosophical system modeled on mathematics: a philosopher who, like a mathematician, began with an arbitrary definition remained trapped in a circle of words. In The One Possible Basis for a Demonstration of the Existence of God, Kant diverged from the familiar forms of ontological argument. The result was a brilliant approach to divine being that anticipated his mature Critique of Pure Reason.
With this Bison Book edition, The One Possible Basis appears in paperback for the first time. Gordon Treash's English translation, the only modern one, faces pages containing the original German. Treash, who is a professor of philosophy at Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick, edited, with Paul A. Bogaard, Metaphysics as Foundation: Essays in Honor of Ivor Leclerc. Also available as a Bison Book is Kant's last major essay, The Conflict of the Faculties (1992).