Kant and Schelling on the ground of evil

  • Dennis Vanden AuweeleEmail author


Schelling’s views of evil in Philosophical Inquiries into the Nature of Human Freedom is usually thought of as a radicalization of Kant’s argument for the propensity to evil in human nature in Religion within the Bounds of Mere Reason. In this paper, I argue that (1) Kant does not provide a full transcendental deduction for the ground of evil in human nature because this would give a rational reason for there to be evil (i.e. evil would not be its own ground), (2) Schelling provides a theological–metaphysical reconstruction of Kant’s argument by providing a non-rational ground (Unground) for evil and (3) the difference between Kant and Schelling lies in how they conceive of the actualization of the ground of evil—through intelligible deed or protohistorical choice—which has repercussions for how they think of conversion.


Radical evil Ground of evil Schelling Kant Conversion 



An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Leuven Kant Conference (2017). I wish to express my gratitude to all participants for their helpful comments and to the anonymous reviewer of International Journal for Philosophy of Religion for his or her helpful and detailed feedback.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Metaphysics, Philosophy of Religion and Philosophy of Culture, Institute of PhilosophyKU Leuven (University of Leuven)LeuvenBelgium

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