Kant and Kierkegaard on the Possibility of Metaphysics — a Reply to Professor Evans

  • Michael Weston
Part of the Claremont Studies in the Philosophy of Religion book series (CSPR)


Professor Evans’ paper raises two central questions. Is the (‘realist’) account he provides of religion persuasive? And is it, as he wishes to claim, Kierkegaard’s? My answer to each is negative. As to the first, philosophical realism is not so much mistaken as confused, as is, therefore, its negation in anti-realism. In such philosophical theories language ‘goes on holiday’, is removed from the contexts of its application where it has sense. What is needed to remove the confusions is the recall of language to those contexts: in the case of ‘realist’ and ‘anti-realist’ theories of religion, the recall to the use of religious language in the religious lives of believers. As to the second question, I shall suggest that the peculiar form of Kierkegaard’s pseudonymous production is to be understood as determined by the attempt to remove such confusions in a situation where they are part of an individual’s self-deception that they are religious or would become so under certain circumstances. The structure of Concluding Unscientific Postscript, for example, is intended to precipitate a self-recognition on the part of the reader of her complicity in a desire to intellectualize Christianity. There is no metaphysics, realist or anti-realist, in Kierkegaard: rather, an antidote to such temptations. Kierkegaard would have concurred with Wittgenstein’s remark (Wittgenstein, 1980, p. 18e): ‘I ought to be no more than a mirror in which my reader can see his own thinking with all its deformities so that, helped in this way, he can put it right.’


Religious Faith Religious Believer Religious Language Religious Knowledge Eternal Truth 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Weston

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