Kant on God, Evil, and Teleology

Faith and Philosophy 13 (4):508-533 (1996)
Abstract
In his mature period Kant maintained that human beings have never devised a theory that shows how the existence of God is compatible with the evil that actually exists. But he also held that an argument could be developed that we human beings might well not have the cognitive capacity to understand the relation between God and the world, and that therefore the existence of God might nevertheless be compatible with the evil that exists. At the core of Kant’s position lies the claim that God’s relation to the world might well not be purposive in the way we humans can genuinely understand such a relation. His strategy involves demonstrating that the teleological argument is unsound - for this argument would establish that the relation between God and the world is purposive in a way we can grasp - and showing that by way of a Spinozan conception we can catch an intellectual glimpse of an alternative picture of the relation between God and the world.
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