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

  • Matthew RukgaberEmail author


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.”


Theodicy Love KANT Leibniz Moral faith Radical evil 



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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

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

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