The 'ethical commonwealth', the central social element in Kant's account of religion, provides the church, as 'the moral people of God', with a role in establishing a cosmopolitan order of peace. This role functions within an interpretive realignment of Kant's critical project that articulates its central concern as anthropological: critically disciplined reason enables humanity to enact peacemaking as its moral vocation in history. Within this context, politics and religion are not peripheral elements in the critical project. They are, instead, complementary (...) social modalities in which humanity enacts its moral vocation to bring lasting peace among all peoples. (shrink)
"The essays, both philosophical and historical, demonstrate the continuing significance of a neglected aspect of Kant’s thought."—Religious Studies Review Challenging the traditional view that Kant's account of religion was peripheral to his thinking, these essays demonstrate the centrality of religion to Kant's critical philosophy. Contributors are Sharon Anderson-Gold, Leslie A. Mulholland, Anthony N. Perovich, Jr., Philip J. Rossi, Joseph Runzo, Denis Savage, Walter Sparn, Burkhard Tuschling, Nicholas P. Wolterstorff, and Allen W. Wood.
Discussions about theological realism within analytic philosophy of religion, and the larger conversation between analytic and continental styles in philosophy of religion have generated relatively little interest among Catholic philosophers and theologians; conversely, the work of major figures in recent Catholic theology seems to evoke little interest from analytic philosophers of religion. Using the 1998 papal encyclical on faith and reason, Fides et ratio, as a major point of reference, this essay offers a preliminary account of the bases for such (...) seeming mutual indifference and offers some suggestions for future dialogue. (shrink)
Evil in Modern Thought, Susan Neiman's account of the intellectual trajectory of modernity, employs the trope “homeless” to articulate deep difficulties that affirmations of divine transcendence and of human capacities to acknowledge transcendence face in a contemporary context thoroughly marked by fragmentation, fragility, and contingency. The “hospitality” of the Incarnation, which makes a fractured world a place for divine welcoming of the human in all its contingency and brokenness, is proposed as locus for theological engagement with Neiman's appropriation of a (...) Kantian sense of hope as the readiness to resist evil in a world seemingly bereft of welcome. (shrink)
Sixteen peer-reviewed essays that explore the work of God's grace in today's world. Major contributors include David Burrell (Notre Dame and Uganda Martyrs University) and Denis Edwards (Flinders University in Australia) on the role of God's grace in creation, and Ilia Delio on the Trinity (Georgetown University).
Immanuel Kant’s critical philosophy pays little explicit attention to the concept of ‘wisdom’ in its taxonomy of the functions of human reason in its work of rendering intelligible the world and the human place in the world. On the basis of some crucial texts in Kant’s writings, this essay argues that wisdom has a role to play in the task Kant assigns to practical reason; this task is to make the world in which humans dwell intelligible morally, i.e., to make (...) sense of the world as locus in which good and evil take form in function of the exercise of human freedom. In such a world, the function of wisdom is ‘cosmopolitan’ in that it provides a horizon of a social hope that recognizes human solidarity, vulnerability, and otherness, as signal instances of the inclusive moral relationality necessary for sustaining both an ‘outer’ world order for peace and the ‘inner’ dynamic of full moral relationality that Kant terms ‘the ethical commonwealth’. (shrink)
In the texts in which Immanuel Kant discusses the principles governing international relations—including texts explicitly dealing with the sources leading states to armed conflict and the circumstances enabling its cessation—he does not directly engage the question “What constitutes victory in war?” This should not be surprising, given that Kant’s treatment of war may be read as consonant with just war thinking for which victory seems an unproblematic concept Yet there are elements in the tone and the substance of his discussion (...) that destabilize a placement of his views as unproblematically part of that tradition. The mordant tone of his dismissal of the Realpolitik guiding “political moralists” suggests a trenchant skepticism about almost any justification offered for leading a state into war. More substantively, an antinomy is at work in the contrast Kant makes, in the two sets of articles for perpetual peace, between a “state of nature” that, construed from the standpoint of the theoretical use of reason, defines the order of international relations as necessarily one of constant war, and the radical transformation of that order, enacted by moral reason in the definitive articles of perpetual peace, into a cosmopolitan order that heeds the categorical imperative “there shall be no war.” In consequence, one may construct a Kantian answer to the question “What constitutes victory in war?” by framing it in reference to this cosmopolitan hope for an international order securing enduring peace. Within the moral horizon of cosmopolitan hope, victory in war—like war itself—is unmasked as morally unintelligible. (shrink)
In response to the five essays commenting on The Ethical Commonwealth in History, I provide an exploration of three themes—the character of the highest good, the possibility of attainment of the highest good, and the agency for its attainment—as a basis for dealing with the concerns these essays raise about my interpretation of Kant’s critical project. On my interpretation, Kant’s project of “critique” is primarily an anthropological one, with its central focus on the moral vocation to which finite reason calls (...) humanity as a species: To bring about a world of enduring peace as an essential element in the enactment of the highest good. These concerns bear upon: my characterization of the social and religious dimensions both of the highest good and of the finite human reason for which it serves as the final end; the historical dimensions that I claim for the community that is the locus for the attainment of the highest good; and the roles for human and for divine agency in such attainment. (shrink)