Why Does Kant Think We Must Believe in the Immortal Soul?

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (1):114-129 (2020)

Authors
Jessica Tizzard
University of Connecticut
Abstract
Making sense of Kant’s claim that it is morally necessary for us to believe in the immortal soul is a historically fraught issue. Commentators typically reject it, or take one of two paths: they either restrict belief in the immortal soul to our subjective psychology, draining it of any substantive rational grounding; or make it out to be a rational necessity that morally interested beings must accept on pain of contradiction. Against these interpreters, I argue that on Kant’s view, belief in our immortality is necessary because it further determines and enriches the cognitive content contained in the concept of the highest good. Through this sharpened conceptual content, we acquire the resources to withstand theoretical skepticism about our moral vocation.
Keywords Kant  Philosophy of religion  Early modern philosophy  Moral psychology
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DOI 10.1017/can.2019.10
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References found in this work BETA

Kant on Moral Sensibility and Moral Motivation.Owen Ware - 2014 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 52 (4):727-746.
Kant’s Postulate of the Immortality of the Soul.Chris W. Surprenant - 2008 - International Philosophical Quarterly 48 (1):85-98.
Kant on the Inapplicability of the Categories to Things in Themselves.Markus Kohl - 2015 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 23 (1):90-114.
Two Conceptions of the Highest Good in Kant.Andrews Reath - 1988 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 26 (4):593-619.
Kant's Gesinnung.Julia Peters - 2018 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 56 (3):497-518.

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