In this study Professor Michalson attempts to clarify the complex tangle of issues connected with Kant's doctrines of radical evil and moral regeneration, and to set the problems resulting from these doctrines in an interpretive framework that tries to make sense of the instability of his overall position. In his late work Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone, Kant charts out these doctrines in a manner that represents a fresh development in his own thinking on moral and relgious (...) matters, apparently at variance with the mainstream Enlightenment outlook which Kant otherwise embodies. His position appears to amount to a retrieval of the supposedly outmoded Christian doctrine of original sin, and this ambivalence is seen to stem from his desire to do justice both to the Protestant Christian, and the Enlightenment rationalist, tradition, which weigh equally heavily upon him. In this study Professor Michalson attempts to clarify the complex tangle of issues connected with Kant's doctrines of radical evil and moral regeneration, and to set the problems resulting from these doctrines in an interpretive framework that tries to make sense of the instability of his overall position. (shrink)
In this collection of seven essays, Raymond Geuss brings his distinctive philosophical perspective to bear on the interrelations among the three issues announced in his title. At one point calling his approach an “excursion into conceptual history”, Geuss manages to keep his potentially intractable topic under control by integrating very broad thematic elements with extended moments of textual analysis, focusing on such thinkers as Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Theodor Adorno, and Ernst Tugendhat. Although the essays range fairly widely, it becomes evident (...) that the two central figures in Geuss’s loosely connected concerns are, in the end, Nietzsche and Adorno, signaling the volume’s chief preoccupation with the interrelations between art and morality in modern culture. In the pursuit of these and other complexities, the author’s deep learning is coupled with a style that is virtually crystalline. (shrink)
This paper explores the implications of Manfred Kuehn’s observation that Kant’s claim in Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason that the ethical community must be a community under God seems “a bit strained.” After clarifying Kant’s train of thought that results in his conception of the ethical community in the form of the “visible church,” the paper argues that the seemingly strong religious dimension may be misleading. If we understand the ethical community to be the development of the kingdom (...) of ends in the Groundwork, it becomes apparent that Kant’s notion of God’s “sovereignty” over the ethical community is a shared sovereignty lodged in rationality and not in God’s own will. The “strain” that Kuehn senses thus suggests the potentially gratuitous nature of Kant’s references to God’s sovereignty over the ethical community. Despite the initial appearances, Kant’s account of the ethical community in the form of the visible church is, over the long term, closer to a secularizing move than to a robustly religious one. (shrink)
Immanuel Kant is often referred to as the 'philosopher of Protestantism' because he provides a model for mediating successfully between a modern scientific world view and theism. This radical new reading of Kant's religious thought suggests that he is in fact more accurately read as a precursor to nineteenth-century atheism than to liberal Protestant theology.
I said that the book is brilliant. This is not so much because of the conclusions eventually reached about the inadequacy of a purely naturalistic approach to mind. These conclusions are already familiar in the work of Donald Davidson and others. Rather, it is because of the accumulation of historical detail and insight on the basis of which these conclusions are reached. It is often said, for instance, that Kant is a watershed figure, in some sense synthesizing and then moving (...) beyond both empiricism and naturalism. Hatfield uses these terms. But he reinvests them with meaning and energy and in the process shows how radical Kant was in refocusing, by way of a sharp distinction between empirical and transcendental inquiries, the central questions of philosophy. (shrink)
This study was a preliminary exploration of the value changes taking place in the United States since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York, which was a significant emotional event or cultural upheaval. Rokeach told us that "a person's total value system may undergo change as a result of socialization, therapy, or cultural upheaval..." (Rokeach, The Nature of Human Values, 1973, p. 37). The researchers explored the value changes of 500 aviation industry employees (...) before the attack and 500 after the attack. The statistically significant research results showed a total of twenty-seven of thirty-six values changed. Before the attack respondents valued much higher self-esteem and self-actualization values like A Sense of Accomplishment and Self-Respect. After the attack respondents placed a much higher value importance on survival, safety and security values like A World at Peace, Freedom, Family Security, National Security, Mature Love, Salvation, and True Friendship. (shrink)
This essay underscores the significant contribution Firestone and Jacobs make through the very thorough way their book surveys the wide range of recent scholarship bearing on Kant’s Religion. The essay then argues, however, that the complex scaffolding designed to summarize and categorize the varied responses to Kant has the effect of muting the authors’ own very bold interpretive stance. This point is particularly true with respect to their account of the compatibility of Kant’s Religion with the Christian tradition. In addition, (...) the essay suggests that the judicial metaphor of “defense” is overplayed, forcing certain interpretations of Kant into potentially misleading positions for the sake of the interpretive scheme. (shrink)
Kant's Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason was written late in his career. It presents a theory of 'radical evil' in human nature, touches on the issue of divine grace, develops a Christology, and takes a seemingly strong interest in the issue of scriptural interpretation. The essays in this Critical Guide explore the reasons why this is so, and offer careful and illuminating interpretations of the themes of the work. The relationship of Kant's Religion to his other writings is (...) discussed in ways that underscore the importance of this work for the entire critical philosophy, and provide a broad perspective on his moral thought; connections are also drawn between religion, history, and politics in Kant's later thinking. Together the essays offer a rich exploration of the work which will be of great interest to those involved in Kant studies and the philosophy of religion. (shrink)
Traditional accounts stress certain features of theoretical objects such as their alleged imperceptibility, that are taken to raise epistemological difficulties. But these accounts do not show how theoretical objects, rightly understood, either differ in kind from more ordinary sorts of objects or make science possible. I sketch a new account that focuses on the underdetermination and similarity of theoretical objects, features closely connected to the explanatory roles they play, and construes them on an algebraic model.
Despite the fact that they are in most respects environmentally benign, electricity-generating wind turbines frequently encounter a great deal of resistance. Much of this resistance is aesthetic in character; wind turbines somehow do not "fit" in the landscape. On one (classical) view, landscapes are beautiful to the extent that they are "scenic," well-balanced compositions. But wind turbines introduce a discordant note, they are out of "scale." On another (ecological) view, landscapes are beautiful if their various elements form a stable and (...) integrated organic whole. But wind turbines are difficult to integrate into the biotic community; at least in certain respects, they are like "weeds." Moreover, there is a reason why the 100-meter, three bladed wind turbines now favored by the industry cannot very well be accommodated to any landscape view. They are, as Albert Borgmann would put it, characteristic of contemporary technology, distanced "devices" for the production of a commodity rather than "things" with which one can engage. It follows that the only way in which the aesthetic resistance to wind turbines can be overcome is to make them more "thing-like." One such "thing-like" turbine is discussed. (shrink)