Kant And Kierkegaard: The Subjectivization Of Faith

Animus 3:145-182 (1998)

Antoinette Marie Stafford
Memorial University of Newfoundland
This essay explores the relationship between Kant's and Kierkegaard's treatment of morality and religious faith. In Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone Kant invokes Christian categories in an effort to resolve certain contradictions which arise in consequence of the introduction of the notion of radical evil. I initially argue that Kant's Enlightenment confidence in the autonomy of ethical selfhood ultimately entails the subordination of these categories to the demands of rational ethical subjectivity. I then suggest that Kierkegaard's defence of the independence of Christian faith, against the encroachments of Kantian Enlightenment humanism, largely proceeds on a foundation of shared epistemological principles, such that the Kierkegaardian existential individual's paradoxical Christian faith offers no genuine alternative, but rather a radically subjectivized extension of Kant's demythologized version of orthodox Christian principles
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