Earlier thinkers had long
pondered how to make
sense of pairs of ideas that both seemed true, but resisted being
brought into a common space of understanding.
Typical of such pairs of ideas are
freedom versus determinism, or continuity versus discontinuity, or
totality versus infinity. Before Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
kinds of contradictory
ideas were construed usually either as evidence of an inherent
aptitude for error
or as a way in which God showed Himself to us as beyond the
comprehension of the intellect. Kant tried to use such pairs of
ideas (he called them antinomies
) to map necessary
forms of mental experience.