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Title: The unity of strangers : spirit and letter in Kant's philosophy of religion.
Author: Davidson, Hilary Scott.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3407 8680
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 1996
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For Kant the religious is less an independent domain of consciousness with its own laws of synthesis than a contested territory which critique must defend against both the dogmatic pretensions of speculative philosophy and an ecclesiastical orthodoxy determined to deprive reason of its authority. The result is a religion within the limits of reason alone, a rational faith which resists the false promise of knowledge through transcendent revelation but yields a practical faith in the immanent field of action. It is traditionally asserted that Kant's rational faith is the most refined expression of the aporia at which the Enlightenment arrives when philosophy and religion, rational and positive authority, become opposed. This thesis addresses the way in which Kant's confidence in the idea of an invisible church as the natural meeting-place of religion and philosophy - and to which all belong by virtue of their reason - is modulated by his understanding of the necessity of the visible church as an institution that, given certain precautions, can mediate the political concern with coercive law and the philosophical concern with freedom. The thesis has an Introduction and a Conclusion. The main body of the text divides into two sections, the first with two chapters, the second with four. The Introduction gives an account of the Enlightenment diremption between religion and philosophy, faith and reason, and its genesis in the Reformation. In the first chapter, we assess Kant's treatment of the speculative proofs in the light of Mendelssohn's description of him as der Allzermalrnende, the restricted role he retains for transcendental theology and the Ideal, and the light this sheds upon his alleged Deism. In the second, we discuss his moral proof and ethicotheology and the conjunction of ethics and religion that this necessitates. Section Two addresses the genesis of his realisation that the visible, institutional church must assume the responsibility for the preparation of the establishment of a divine ethical state on earth: chapter three considers the issue of censorship surrounding Kant's religious writings and the notion of religion as the 'focal point of Enlightenment'; chapter four, Kant's notion of the visible, its relation to what we shall formulate as the logic of the staff, and the development of the concept of the exemplarity of Christ; chapter five, the concept of the expedient as a figure which dictates the function of the letter and historical faith in their relation to the visible church; chapter six, Kant's defence of ethics and religion against the dangers of fanatical interiority and the corresponding attempt to balance out the political duty to civil society and the rational duty to the ethical commonwealth. In the Conclusion, we address the question of why Kant's philosophy of religion was to offend both the religious orthodox and the philosophical Enlightenment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Immanuel Kant; Theology