By George di Giovanni
The theologians of the overdue German Enlightenment observed in Kant's Critique of natural cause a brand new rational defence in their Christian religion. in reality, Kant's severe conception of which means and ethical legislation absolutely subverted the spirit of that religion. This not easy new examine examines the contribution made by way of the Critique of natural cause to this transformation of that means. George di Giovanni stresses the innovative personality of Kant's severe idea but additionally unearths how this suggestion used to be being held hostage to unwarranted metaphysical assumptions that brought on a lot confusion and rendered the 1st Critique at risk of being reabsorbed into modes of notion standard of Enlightenment well known philosophy. among the outstanding beneficial properties of this ebook are nuanced interpretations of Jacobi and Reinhold, a lucid exposition of Fichte's early notion, and a unprecedented, exact account of Enlightenment well known philosophy.
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Additional info for Freedom and Religion in Kant and his Immediate Successors: The Vocation of Humankind, 1774-1800
They treated them, rather, not unlike Kantian noumena, as conceptual constructs that carry no objective evidence on their own but must be put in rational circulation nonetheless in order to satisfy other pressing nonconceptual yet existential (“subjective,” as Kant says) needs. One must not forget that metaphysics developed in the Christian West in the matrix of theology; that it was implicated from the beginning in the larger Christian cultural project (still apparent in Spalding’s essay) of ﬁnding some rational expression for truths already held on faith yet admittedly escaping strict conceptual determination.
Spinoza, according to Kant, lacked the conceptual basis for attributing such an interiority to nature in any way, even if only ideally. In one of his earlier critical essays, Kant had also employed a similar strategy when suggesting the principle of a possible critical philosophy of history. In his view, nature is to be conceived as promoting the realization in this world of such conditions as would obtain ideally in a purely intelligible world. It does so mechanically, according to laws governing phenomena, but under the steering of a secret internal plan.
Chapters 1 to 4 presuppose a general acquaintance with Kant’s Critique of Reason. Chapter 5 focuses on his moral theory, and in particular on the idea of freedom that governs it. This idea harbors metaphysical assumptions that, though allegedly critically neutralized, in fact affect Kant’s whole moral theory. It makes for an element of irrationality that has far-reaching consequences for Kant’s vision of moral nature. In effect, Chapter 5 develops the point already made by Rehberg in nuce. There is indeed a transcendental story in Kant, and his moral theory is the place where its deleterious effects are most noticeable.