Philosophy 30 (115):318 - 332 (1955)

Thus Pascal sets forth the romanticist thesis that reason has nothing to do with the deep intimations of the worshipping soul. Religion is an affair of the heart, and the productive Source of all things cannot be comprehended by the exercise of the finite intellect. This doctrine foreshadows the Kantian dichotomy between phenomena and noumena: the understanding can legitimately operate only within the sphere of space, time and natural causality, as it knows nothing of the transcendental postulates of the moral life. In Kant's case, however, the opposition is worked out by means of a sustained and systematic analysis of man's faculties of cognition, and the intuitions of moral feeling are not without a rationality of their own. One might say that in Kant's view there is a logic of ethical sentiment as well as a logic of the scientific understanding, the former being practical, the latter theoretical. In the practical domain of morality the categories of the scientific understanding do not apply: the individual who acts from a sense of duty is free and immortal, besides being destined to receive rewards from the hand of God according to his deserts. The practice of the moral life therefore creates a sort of categoreal vacuum, the individual becoming a noumenon, emancipated from the shackles of the sensible world; from an empirical point of view, morality means self-transcendence
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DOI 10.1017/S0031819100034999
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