Parallel Worlds

As if it were not already enough for there to exist a large number of planets in the universe inhabited by beings capable of suffering, we must also reckon – at least if we are to trust Kant’s account of this matter – with a large number of different universes which stand in no causal connection one to the other. Thereby clearly increases exponentially the conceivable number of suffering beings. In 1746, while still a young man, Kant formulated, in his Thoughts on the True Estimation of Living Forces, a hypothesis which was later to be discussed in science fiction and in quantum physics under the title “multiverses”:

“Not correct, then, is the doctrine one hears expounded in the lecture halls of our wisest scholars to the effect that, in the metaphysical sense, there can only ever be a single world. It really is possible that God may have created many millions of worlds, even where ‘world’ is understood in its metaphysical sense; for this reason it remains an undecided matter whether these worlds really exist or not.” (Thoughts on the True Estimation of Living Forces, § 8). And in 1770 Kant develops this thought in his Form and Principles of the Sensible and Intelligible World. According to Kant’s argument in this work “multiverses” are possible precisely if it is not the case “that there exists only one single necessary cause of everything” (Form and Principles of the Sensible and Intelligible World § 21) Since such parallel worlds exist in no causal relationship to our own reality we will never know how the beings that inhabited them fared.

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