Authors
Ryan S. Kemp
Wheaton College, Illinois
Abstract
In Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, Kant claims that all human beings are originally and radically evil: they choose to adopt a ‘supreme maxim’ that gives preference to sensibility over the moral law. Because Kant thinks that all agents have a duty to develop good character, part of his task in the Religion is to explain how moral conversion is possible. Four years after Kant publishes the Religion, J. G. Fichte takes up the issue of conversion in slightly different terms: he is interested in how people he characterizes as ‘dogmatists’ become ‘idealist’. Against recent interpreters, I argue that Fichte characterizes the choice to convert from dogmatism to idealism as one that is grounded in a non-rational choice. Along the way, I consider Daniel Breazeale and Allen Wood’s recent arguments to the contrary, alternative accounts of what it might mean for a conversion to count as ‘rational’, and how well my conclusion harmonizes with Fichte’s views on education.
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DOI 10.1080/09608788.2017.1301372
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References found in this work BETA

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