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Kant and the New Philosophy of Religion

Edited by Chris L. Firestone and Stephen R. Palmquist

Publication Year: 2006

While earlier work has emphasized Kant's philosophy of religion as thinly disguised morality, this timely and original reappraisal of Kant's philosophy of religion incorporates recent scholarship. In this volume, Chris L. Firestone, Stephen R. Palmquist, and the other contributors make a strong case for more specific focus on religious topics in the Kantian corpus. Main themes include the relationship between Kant's philosophy of religion and his philosophy as a whole, the contemporary relevance of specific issues arising out of Kant's philosophical theology, and the relationship of Kant's philosophy to Christian theology. As a whole, this book capitalizes on contemporary movements in Kant studies by looking at Kant not as an anti-metaphysician, but as a genuine seeker of spirituality in the human experience.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion


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pp. ix-x

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Foreword by Michel Despland

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pp. xi-xviii

Everyone reading Kant today will sooner or later find passages that seem so ridiculous that one is tempted to meet them only with laughter and not bother with refutation. Three come to my mind. First, practically all his texts on women, and his definition of marriage. Then his view on lying from philanthropic motives, showing him singularly inept at weighing probabilities and lacking in usage du monde. ...

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pp. xix-xxiv

A myriad of important questions is bound to arise in the mind of any reader who, attempting to grasp the whole of Kant’s philosophy, tries to make sense of his specific views on God and religion, especially those expressed in Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason (1793) and The Conflict of the Faculties (1798). Does religion play a constitutive role in Kant’s philosophical system, or is he merely addressing a side issue? ...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xxv-xxvi

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Editors' Introduction

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pp. 1-39

In the two centuries since Kant’s death, the interpretation and reception of his philosophy of religion have been characterized by two very different tendencies. According to Gordon Michalson, one tendency in reading and appropriating Kant is theologically affirmative, ‘‘veering off in the direction of constructive theological efforts to accommodate Christian faith and critical thinking.’’1 ...

Part 1. Philosophical Foundations for Kantian Theology

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pp. 41

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1. The Tree of Melancholy: Kant on Philosophy and Enthusiasm

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pp. 43-61

Kant is commonly regarded as a partisan of the Enlightenment and an opponent of religious and philosophical enthusiasm (Schwärmerei).1 I wish to argue, however, that Kant’s attitude toward enthusiasm throughout his philosophical career is better described as ambivalent fascination rather than unalloyed hostility. My case is based upon two considerations regarding Kant’s account of enthusiasm’s basis in human nature. ...

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2. Kant on the Rational Instability of Atheism

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pp. 62-78

This essay has five sections. In the first I will talk about Kant’s view of morally good people who are not theists. In the second I will discuss his moral criticisms of atheism. The third topic is some passages in Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason that have been taken to deny that the moral life requires believing that God exists. In the fourth section I will mention briefly some ways Kant thinks theism helps in the attempt to lead the moral life. ...

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3. Overcoming Deism: Hope Incarnate in Kant's Rational Religion

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pp. 79-89

...Allen Wood certainly believes this was the case. In his straightforwardly titled paper ‘‘Kant’s Deism,’’ he does a good job of substantiating just this sort of claim. He posits that the kind of deism described by John Dryden as ‘‘the opinion of those that acknowledge one God, without the reception of any revealed religion,’’ fits Kant very well.1 ...

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4. The Anatomy of Truth: Literary Modes as a Kantian Model for Understanding the Openness of Knowledge and Morality to Faith

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pp. 90-104

This famous sentence from the first Critique seems to render more plausible than most Kant criticism acknowledges that the entire critical project has a theological or religious telos. However, when the religious motive in Kant is pointed out, interpreters often assume it reduces to an entirely negative theology, Modernism, or perhaps even humanism.2 ...

Part 2. Theological Applications for Kantian Religion

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pp. 105

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5. Reading Kant through Theological Spectacles

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pp. 107-123

Dangerous shoals await those who use theological charts and compass as prime navigational aids in exploring the complexities of Kant’s thought. Yet those same aids sometimes can provide direction for routes to and through domains of Kant’s work and its development that are not readily accessible—or seemingly even closed off—from ‘‘standard’’ philosophical mappings of his critical project and its significance.1 ...

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6. Kant's Prototypical Theology: Transcendental Incarnation as a Rational Foundation for God-Talk

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pp. 124-140

Three main questions face theology in and around Kant’s philosophy: (1) Does Kant’s philosophy leave room for meaningful theological discourse? (2) If so, where is this room and what is the nature of the theology that fills it? (3) Given the relationship between such theology and Kant’s philosophy, is it desirable to be both a theologian and a Kantian? ...

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7. Making Sense Out of Tradition: Theology and Conflict in Kant's Philosophy of Religion

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pp. 141-156

One of the surest ways of identifying an example of the traditional interpretation of Kant is to look for a shrinking level of confidence in the cogency of his writings after the Critique of Pure Reason (1781).1 If an interpretation’s confidence in Kant erodes as his philosophy advances through the Critique of Practical Reason (1787) to the Critique of Judgment (1790), and then disappears altogether with Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason (1793), you can be pretty sure you are dealing with a traditional interpretation. ...

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8. Kant and Kierkegaard on the Need for a Historical Faith: An Imaginary Dialogue

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pp. 157-175

...The two great scholars of philosophy and religion are familiar with one another’s writings. Thanks to the work of Gill, Glenn, Mehl, Perkins, Green, and others in the last quarter of the twentieth century, it is now well known that Kierkegaard constructed much of his thinking on the foundation of Kant’s philosophy.1 Kant’s familiarity with Kierkegaard is more recent—one aspect of the education program he has gone through in the decade since his ‘‘reanimation’’ was accomplished by means of modern genetic science and computer technology. ...

Part 3. Religious Instantiations of Kantian Philosophy

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pp. 177

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9. Kant and "A Theodicy of Protest"

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pp. 179-189

Kant’s perceptive account of the innocent and morally righteous sufferer in his 1791 essay ‘‘On the Failure of All Attempted Philosophical Theodicies’’ was the seed that enabled my own theological preoccupation with theodicy to take root. In the first chapter of Kant and Theology: Was Kant a Closet Theologian? I argued that though Kant is willing to reject traditional theodicies, he still offers his own positive approach to theodicy, one that is consistent with, in fact, integral to, the theology at work in his moral argument for the existence of God. ...

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10. A Kantian Model for Religions of Deliverance

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pp. 190-209

About thirty years ago I was seeking supplementary reading for a philosophy of religion course and found myself browsing through Kant’s essays on religion within the limits of reason.1 Kant captivated me. An Enlightenment philosopher was confronting a fundamental problem in confessing Christian theism as opposed to mere theism or deism. It is Anselm’s problem: Cur Deus homo? ...

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11. Kant's Approach to Religion Compared with Quakerism

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pp. 210-229

As a philosopher who has studied Kant’s philosophy of religion and has also become a member of the Religious Society of Friends, I think I discern some deep affinities between the two. I have previously written a short article introducing Kant’s philosophy to Quakers.1 In the present essay I attempt a more systematic comparison between Kant’s approach to religion and Quaker thought and practice; this also may serve to introduce the latter to students of religion who are not familiar with it. ...

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12. Philosophers in the Public Square: A Religious Resolution of Kant's Conflict (with an appendix coauthored by Richard W. Mapplebeckpalmer)

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pp. 230-254

In opposition to the common belief that philosophy is a discipline belonging solely in the university, where it can be safely insulated from influencing or being influenced by the way ordinary people live their lives, a movement has arisen over the past decade or so, commonly known as ‘‘Philosophical Practice.’’ Some trace its early organization back to 1992, when several French philosophers and friends casually met one Sunday morning in a Paris café to discuss an issue of mutual concern. ...


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pp. 255-256


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pp. 257-270

E-ISBN-13: 9780253111616
E-ISBN-10: 0253111617
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253346582

Page Count: 304
Illustrations: 2 figures, 1 index
Publication Year: 2006

Series Title: Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion