Advertisement

The implied theodicy of Kant’s Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason: love as a response to radical evil

  • Matthew RukgaberEmail author
Article
  • 116 Downloads

Abstract

This article begins with a brief survey of Kant’s pre-Critical and Critical approaches to theodicy. I maintain that his theodical response of moral faith during the Critical period appears to be a dispassionate version of what Leibniz called Fatum Christianum. Moral rationality establishes the existence and goodness of God and translates into an endless and unwavering commitment to following the moral law. I then argue that Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason offers a revision of Kant’s 1791 conception of “authentic theodicy.” Kant comes to recognize that the ends of morality and virtue, as well as the action needed to respond to the noumenal evil at the heart of humanity, outstrip the “religion of good life conduct.” This leads Kant to argue in favor of a new form of moral life embedded in a religious community and based on the love of God and of one’s fellow humans. Such a life is rooted in the incorporation of a holy principle in our noumenal selves that he terms “divine blessedness.”

Keywords

Theodicy Love KANT Leibniz Moral faith Radical evil 

Notes

References

  1. Ameriks, K. (2012). Kant’s elliptical path. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baron, M. (2002). Love and respect in the doctrine of virtue. In M. Timmons (Ed.), Kant’s metaphysics of morals: Interpretative essays (pp. 391–407). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Brachtendorf, J. (2002). Kants Theodizee-Aufsatz–Die Bedingungen des Gelingens philosophischer Theodizee. Kant-Studien.  https://doi.org/10.1515/kant.93.1.57.Google Scholar
  4. Caro, H. (2012). The best of all possible worlds? Leibniz’s optimism and its critics 1710–1755. Doctor of Philosophy Thesis. Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. http://edoc.hu-berlin.de/dissertationen/caro-hernan-d.-2012-11-12/PDF/caro.pdf.
  5. Cavallar, G. (1993). Kants Weg von der Theodizee zur Anthropodizee und retour: Verspatete Kritik an Odo Marquard. Kant-Studien.  https://doi.org/10.1515/kant.1993.84.1.90.Google Scholar
  6. Davies, P. (1998). Sincerity and the end of theodicy: Three remarks on Levinas and Kant. Research in Phenomenology.  https://doi.org/10.1163/156916498X00083.Google Scholar
  7. Despland, M. (1973). Kant on history and religion. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Duncan, S. (2012). Moral evil, freedom and the goodness of god: Why Kant abandoned theodicy. British Journal for the History of Philosophy.  https://doi.org/10.1080/09608788.2012.718860.Google Scholar
  9. Eberhard, J. A. (2016). Preparation for natural theology: With Kant’s notes and the Danzig rational theology transcript. London and New York: Bloomsbury. (V-Th/Baumbach).Google Scholar
  10. Fantasia, F. (2016). Das Ende Aller Dinge: The Duratio Noumenon and the Problem of the Atemporality of the Gesinnung. In R. Hanna, et al. (Eds.), Kant’s shorter writings: Critical paths outside the critiques (pp. 154–170). New Castle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars.Google Scholar
  11. Fenves, P. (2003). Late Kant: Towards another law of the earth. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Galbraith, E. (1996). Kant and theology: Was Kant a closet theologian?. San Francisco: International Scholars.Google Scholar
  13. Galbraith, E. (2006). Kant and ‘A Theodicy of Protest’. In C. Firestone & S. Palmquist (Eds.), Kant and the new philosophy of religion (pp. 179–189). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Geyer, C.-F. (1982). Das “Jahrhundert der Theodizee”. Kant-Studien.  https://doi.org/10.1515/kant.1982.73.1-4.393.Google Scholar
  15. Grenberg, J. (2010). Social dimensions of Kant’s conception of radical evil. In S. Anderson-Gold & P. Muchnik (Eds.), Kant’s anatomy of evil (pp. 173–194). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Guyer, P. (2005). Kant’s system of nature and freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hare, J. (1996). The moral gap: Kantian ethics, human limits, and god’s assistance. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Huxford, G. G. (2015). The scope and development of Kant’s Theodicy. Dissertation. King’s College London. https://kclpure.kcl.ac.uk/portal/en/theses/the-scope-and-development-of-kants-theodicy(5bff5c24-3d04-4186-9d2d-fddc943733ae).html.
  19. Kant, I. (1900ff.). Gesammelte Schriften, Hrsg.: Bd. 1–22 Preussische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Bd. 23 Deutsche Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin, ab Bd. 24 Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen. Berlin. (AA).Google Scholar
  20. Kant, I. (1992a). Theoretical philosophy, 1755–1770. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (VBO, TG).Google Scholar
  21. Kant, I. (1992b). Lectures on logic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Log).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kant, I. (1996a). Religion and rational theology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (MpVt, RGV, V-Th/Pölitz, EAD).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kant, I. (1996b). Practical philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (KpV).Google Scholar
  24. Kant, I. (1998). Critique of pure reason. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (KrV).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kant, I. (2000). Critique of the power of judgment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (KU).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kant, I. (2007). Anthropology, history, and education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (MAM).Google Scholar
  27. Kant, I. (2012). Natural science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (VUE, GNVE).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kivistö, S., & Pihlström, S. (2016). Kantian anti-theodicy and job’s sincerity. Philosophy and Literature, 15, 12.  https://doi.org/10.1353/phl.2016.0024.Google Scholar
  29. Kravitz, A. (2016). ‘Absolute’ counterpurposiveness? On Kant’s first arguments against theodicy. Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie.  https://doi.org/10.1515/agph-2016-0004.Google Scholar
  30. Leibniz, G. W. (1985). Theodicy. La Salle: Open Court.Google Scholar
  31. Lorini, G. (2016). “Till I Die I Will Not Remove Mine Integrity From Me”: On Kant’s “Anthropological” theodicy. In R. Hanna, et al. (Eds.), Kant’s shorter writings: Critical paths outside the critiques (pp. 116–131). New Castle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars.Google Scholar
  32. Marquard, O. (1989). Farwell to matters of principle: Philosophical studies. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Mercer, C. (2014). Prefacing the theodicy. In L. Lorgensen & S. Newlands (Eds.), New essays on Leibniz’s theodicy (pp. 13–42). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Neiman, S. (1994). The unity of reason. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Neiman, S. (2002). Evil in modern thought. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Nuzzo, A. (2005). Kant and the unity of reason. West Lafayette: Purdue University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Palmquist, S. (2000). Kant’s critical religion. Aldershot and Burlington: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  38. Pereboom, D. (1996). Kant on god, evil, and teleology. Faith and Philosophy.  https://doi.org/10.5840/faithphil199613444.Google Scholar
  39. Poma, A. (2013). The impossibility and necessity of theodicy: The “Essais” of Leibniz. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rukgaber, M. (2014). Kant’s criticisms of the ontological and onto-theological arguments for the existence of god. Kant Yearbook.  https://doi.org/10.1515/kantyb-2014-0106.Google Scholar
  41. Rukgaber, M. (2015). Irrationality and self-deception within Kant’s grades of evil. Kant-Studien.  https://doi.org/10.1515/kant-2015-0021.Google Scholar
  42. Rukgaber, M. (2018). Immaterial spirits and the reform of first philosophy: The compatibility of Kant’s pre-critical metaphysics with the arguments in Dreams of a Spirit-Seer. Journal of the History of Ideas.  https://doi.org/10.1353/jhi.2018.0022.Google Scholar
  43. Schönfeld, M. (2000). The philosophy of the young Kant. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Schulte, C. (1991). Zweckwidriges in der Erfahrung. Zur Genese des Misslingens allerphilosophischen Versuche in der Theodizee bei Kant. Kant-Studien.  https://doi.org/10.1515/kant.1991.82.4.371.Google Scholar
  45. Shell, S. M. (2011). Kant’s secular religion: Philosophical theodicy and the book of job. In O. Thorndike (Ed.), Rethinking Kant (Vol. 3, pp. 20–32). Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars.Google Scholar
  46. Steinbrecher, T. (2007). La Théodicée réhabilitée ou Kant versus Elihu. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43038454.
  47. Surin, K. (1983). Theodicy? Harvard Theological Review.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S0017816000001310.Google Scholar
  48. Sussman, D. (2010). Something to love: Kant and the faith of reason. In B. Lipscomb & J. Krueger (Eds.), Kant’s moral metaphysics (pp. 133–148). Berlin and New York: De Gruyter.Google Scholar
  49. Theis, R. (2009). La question de l’optimisme dans la première pensèe de Kant. In P. Rateau (Ed.), L’idée de théodicée de Leibniz à Kant: héritage, transformations, critiques (pp. 157–164). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner.Google Scholar
  50. Velkley, R. (1989). Freedom and the end of reason. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Welz, C. (2008). Love’s transcendence and the problem of theodicy. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.Google Scholar
  52. Wilford, P. (2014). A look at Kantian theodicy: Rational faith and the idea of history. American Dialectic, 4, 172–203.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Eastern Connecticut State UniversityWillimanticUSA
  2. 2.Gateway Community CollegeNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.WillimanticUSA

Personalised recommendations