Kant, God and Metaphysics

Kant, God and Metaphysics : The Secret Thorn

By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available soon, pre-order now.
When will my order arrive?

58 days to go
Pre-order Add to wishlist


Kant is widely acknowledged as the greatest philosopher of modern times. He undertook his famous critical turn to save human freedom and morality from the challenge of determinism and materialism. Intertwined with his metaphysical interests, however, he also had theological commitments, which have received insufficient attention. He believed that man is a fallen creature and in need of ‘redemption’. He intended to provide a fortress protecting religious faith from the failure of rationalist metaphysics, from the atheistic strands of the Enlightenment, from the new mathematical science of nature, and from the dilemmas of Christian theology itself. Kant was an epistemologist, a philosopher of mind, a metaphysician of experience, an ethicist and a philosopher of religion. But all this was sustained by his religious faith. This book aims to recover the focal point and inner contradictions of his thought, the ‘secret thorn’ of his metaphysics (as Heidegger once put it). It first locates Kant in the tradition of reflection on the human weakness from Luther to Hume, and then engages in a critical, but charitable, manner with Kant’s entire pre-critical work, including his posthumous fragments. Special attention is given to The Only Possible Ground (1763), one of the most difficult, interesting and underestimated of Kant’s works. The book takes its cue from an older approach to Kant, but also engages with recent Anglophone and continental scholarship, and deploys modern analytical tools to make sense of Kant. What emerges is an innovative and thought-provoking interpretation of Kant’s metaphysics, set against the background of forgotten religious aspects of European philosophy.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 156 x 234mm
  • Taylor & Francis Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1138908584
  • 9781138908581

Table of contents

Contents Acknowledgements Introduction Chapter One: From Luther to Hume – the Weakness Motif in the Tradition Introduction 1.1 The First Circle: The Certainty of Salvation Erasmus Luther The Problem of Evidence Further Developments 1.2 The Second Circle: The Rise of Protestant Orthodoxy Securing Faith The Return of Aristotle Further Developments 1.3 The Third Circle: The New Science and its Philosophy From Copernicus to Montaigne Descartes The Reaction to Descartes Spinoza Further Developments Pascal and Bayle 1.4 The Fourth Circle: Triumph and Peril of Reason Newton Leibniz Pietism and Thomasius Wolff Boyle and Locke English Deism, Hume and French Atheism 1.5 Conclusion Chapter Two: The Early Works 2.1 Introduction 2.2 The Beginning: Thoughts on the True Estimation of Living Forces 2.2 God’s Glory: The Universal Natural History The Character of the Work Cosmology and Cosmogony: Kant’s Celestial Mechanics Physico-theology: God and His Creation The Abyss and the Sinking Religion and Science: Some Predecessors The Central Motifs Anxiety, Fallenness, Faith and Revelation The Chain of Creation: Glory and Vanity The Human Fate The Holy in Kant 2.3 From Physico-Theology to Onto-Theology: The New Elucidation The Principle of Sufficient Ground The Theological Argument Sin and Free Will More on the Principle of Determining Ground Causation and God 2.4 The Modal Argument in the New Elucidation Kant’s Modal Argument Baumgarten’s Metaphysics of Possibility Fragment R3733 Conclusion Chapter Three: Intermission – The Period 1756-1762 3.1 The Physical Monadology, the New Theory of Motion, and the False Subtlety Essay 3.2 The Question of Optimism The Optimism Essay The Funk Essay Two Optimism Models: Pope and Spalding Crusius’s Optimism Fragments R3704 and R3705 Chapter Four: The First Fortress: The Only Possible Ground of Proof for a Demonstration of the Existence of God 4.1 Preliminary: The Frailty of Theory 4.2 Existence Existence is not a Predicate, but Absolute Position Existence Goes Beyond Possibility Discussion of Kant’s Thesis about Existence An Objection Discussion Continued 4.3 Possibility A Digression: Actualism The Impossibility of no Possibility Formalising Kant’s Argument Another Formal Attempt The Modal Principle Again The Necessary Being The Uniqueness Of the Necessary Being Simplicity and Uniqueness Immutability and Eternity The Highest Being The Theistic Property: Personhood Perfection The Status of the Modal Argument 4.4 Physico-Theology, Naïve and Improved Life and the Supernatural Miracles Naïve Physico-theology The Question of Certainty Three Objections to Naïve Physics-Theology Improved Physico-theology All-sufficiency 4.5 Conclusion: The Status of Onto-Theology Chapter Five: First Cracks in the Wall 5.1 Introduction 5.2 The Prize Essay Mathematics versus Philosophy Certainty in Philosophy and the Newtonian Model Certainty in Metaphysics Certainty in Theology 5.3 Negative Magnitudes Chapter Six: The ‘Sceptical’ Period 6.1 The Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime 6.2 The Remarks on the Observations and Rousseau’s Influence 6.3 Turning Against Metaphysics: The Mid-1760s Two Notions of Metaphysics Dreams of a Spirit-Seer The Concept of a Spirit The Immaterial Realm Morality Towards a Logic of Philosophical Illusion A Theoretical Conclusion The Limits of Knowledge and Moral Faith Chapter Seven: Religious Roots and Sources of the Critical Turn 7.1 God and Metaphysics in the Reflexionen of 1760-1768 7.2 The Antinomial Structure of Reason: Theological Roots and Models 7.3 Kant’s Theological Teachers: Knutzen and Schultz 7.4 The Humean Model 7.5 New Building Blocks: the Reflexionen in 1769 The Antinomies and the Weakness Motif Further Reflections on Reason’s Weakness The Void The World God Epilogue: An Unfinished Drama Appendix Literature Indexshow more

Review quote

"This seminal work integrates Kant's approach to the most profound questions. His thought is historically and conceptually situated in a manner at once analytically rich and entirely accessible. A 'must read' for students and teachers of Kantian philosophy." Dan Robinson, University of Oxford, UKshow more

About Edward Kanterian

Edward Kanterian is senior lecturer in philosophy at the University of Kent. Previously he was lecturer in philosophy at the University of Oxford. His research interests include metaphysics, the philosophy of logic and language, and modern philosophy. He is the author of several books, the most recent of which is on Frege’s logic.show more