Kant, God and Metaphysics
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Kant, God and Metaphysics : The Secret Thorn

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Description

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 present 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.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 444 pages
  • 159 x 235 x 31.75mm | 1,012g
  • ROUTLEDGE
  • 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, Naive and Improved


Life and the Supernatural


Miracles


Naive Physico-theology


The Question of Certainty


Three Objections to Naive 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


Index
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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, UK
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About Edward Kanterian

Edward Kanterian is Senior Lecturer in philosophy at the University of Kent. Previously he was a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Oxford. His research interests include metaphysics, the philosophy of logic and language, the ethics of memory, and modern philosophy. He is the author of several books, the most recent of which is on Frege's logic.
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