Kant identifies knowledge [Wissen], belief [Glaube], and opinion [Meinung] as our three primary modes of “holding-to-be-true” [Fürwahrhalten]. He also identifies opinion as making up the greatest part of our cognition. After a preliminary sketch of Kant’s system of propositional attitudes, this paper will explore what he says about the norms governing opinion and empirical hypotheses. The final section will turn to what, in the Critique of Pure Reason and elsewhere, Kant refers to as “General Applied Logic”. It concerns the “contingent (...) conditions of the subject, which can hinder or promote” good inquiry; and, though rarely mentioned in the secondary literature, it offers Kant’s methodological alternative to the traditional epistemological goal of finding “a sufficient and at the same time general criterion of truth”. (shrink)
This book offers a complete and internally cohesive interpretation of Religion. In contrast to the interpretations that characterize Religion as a litany of “wobbles”, fumbling between traditional Christianity and Enlightenment values, or a text that reduces religion into morality, the interpretation here offered defends the rich philosophical theology contained in each of Religion’s four parts and shows how the doctrines of the “Pure Rational System of Religion” are eminently compatible with the essential principles of Transcendental Idealism.
The Many Gods Objection (MGO) is widely viewed as a decisive criticism of Pascal’s Wager. By introducing a plurality of hypotheses with infinite expected utility into the decision matrix, the wagerer is left without adequate grounds to decide between them. However, some have attempted to rebut this objection by employing various criteria drawn from the theological tradition. Unfortunately, such defenses do little good for an argument that is supposed to be an apologetic aimed at atheists and agnostics. The purpose of (...) this paper is to offer a defensive strategy of a different sort, one more suited to the Wager’s apologetic aim and status as a decision under ignorance. Instead of turning to criteria independent of the Wager, it will be shown that there are characteristics already built into its decision theoretic structure that can be used to block many categories of theological hypotheses including MGO’s more outrageous “cooked-up” hypotheses and “philosophers’ fictions”. (shrink)
Kant follows Christian tradition by asserting that humanity is sinful by nature, that our sinful nature burdens us with an infinite debt to God, and that it is possible for us to undergo a moral transformation that iberates us from sin and from its debt. Most of the secondary literature has focused on either Kant’s account of sin or our liberation from it. Far less attention has been paid to the debt in particular. The purpose of this paper is to (...) explore the nature of this debt, why Kant regards it as infinite, and what becomes of it for those who undergo a moral ransformation. (shrink)
There is much more said in the Critique of Pure Reason about the relationship between God and purposiveness than what is found in Kant's analysis of the physico-theological (design) argument. The ‘Wise Author of Nature’ is central to his analysis of regulative principles in the ‘Appendix to the Transcendental Dialectic’ and also appears in the ‘Canon’, first with regards to the Highest Good and then again in relation to our theoretical use of purposiveness. This paper will begin with a brief (...) discussion of the physico-theological argument before moving on to the Appendix and the Canon. Finally, it will consider some changes to the role of the Wise Author in the Critique of Judgement. (shrink)
This paper offers an account of the historical development of Kant's understanding of belief ( Glaube ) from its early ties to George Friedrich Meier's Auszug aus der Vernunftlehre through various stages of refinement. It will be argued that the Critique of Pure Reason reflects an important but not final stage in Kant's understanding of belief. Its structure is further refined and its scope narrowed in later works, including the Critique of Practical Reason and Critique of Judgment . After charting (...) these stages, an analysis of how belief relates to the Fact of Reason will be presented. (shrink)
In the Canon of the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant endorses both a Moral Belief in God as well as what he there calls Doctrinal Belief. The former mode of belief is well known and can be found throughout the Kantian Corpus. The latter, however, is far more obscure and thus far has not been carefully studied. Doctrinal Belief only appears explicitly in the Canon, but is related to a number of issues in the Transcendental Dialectic as well as the (...) Critique of Judgment. This paper will provide an account of the Doctrinal Belief in God and consider its compatibility with Kant’s other discussions of the projected ground of the principle of purposiveness. (shrink)
This paper explores the moral status of various gambling maxims, particularly as they relate to the bettor’s interest in profit and the mathematical expectation of the game being played. Certain difficulties with the prevailing interpretations of the Formula of Universalizability will also be discussed, particularly in relation to games for which the bettor can have a positive expectation.
The Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals is one of the most important works of moral philosophy ever written, and Kant's most widely read work. It attempts to demonstrate that morality has its foundation in reason and that our wills are free from both natural necessity and the power of desire. It is here that Kant sets out his famous and controversial "categorical imperative", which forms the basis of his moral theory. This book is an essential guide to the Groundwork (...) and the many important and profound claims that Kant raises. The book combines an invaluable introduction to the work offering an exploration of these arguments and setting them in the context of Kant's thinking, along with the complete H. J. Paton translation of the work, and a selection of six of the best contemporary commentaries. (shrink)
This paper is structured as follows. First, it offers a brief presentation of the Twin Earth thought experiment. Second, it offers an interpretation of Putnam'santi-realism. Third, it argues for the incompatibility of anti-realism and the semantic role of extension that Twin Earth is supposed to establish.
Just prior to The Critique of Pure Reason's examination of the various arguments for God's existence, Kant discusses the conceptual relationship between the idea of an ens realissimum and that of a necessary being. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the extent to which this discussion informs his claim that the cosmological argument depends upon the ontological argument.