Kant’s Critique of Religion: Epistemic Sources of Secularism

Diametros 54:7-29 (2017)
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Abstract

The secular interpretation of Kant is widespread and Kant is viewed as the most prestigious founding father of liberal secularism. At the same time, however, commentators note that Kant’s position on secularism is in fact much more complex, and some go as far as to talk about an ambiguous secularism in his work. This paper defends a refined version of the secular interpretation. According to this refined version, Kant can offer a limited, political secularism on the basis of a simple argument which focuses on the distinct epistemic statuses of political and religious claims; however, the paper argues, a more general secularism is unwarranted on the basis of the same argument. If my argument is correct, then it will account at least in part for the plurality of interpretations. Moreover, any further attempt to show that Kant’s relation to secularism is ambiguous or dismissive should take into consideration the argument from epistemic grounds presented here.

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Sorin Baiasu
Keele University

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References found in this work

The metaphysics of morals.Immanuel Kant - 1797/1996 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Mary J. Gregor.
Groundwork of the metaphysics of morals.Immanuel Kant - 2007 - In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Late modern philosophy: essential readings with commentary. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1785/2002 - In Practical Philosophy. Cambridge University Press. pp. 37-108.
Inspirations from Kant: essays.Leslie Forster Stevenson - 2011 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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