From epistemology to ethics: Theoretical and practical reason in Kant and Douglass

Journal of Religious Ethics 40 (4):603-628 (2012)

Abstract

The aim of this essay is to provide a philosophical discussion of Frederick Douglass's thought in relation to Christianity. I expand upon the work of Bill E. Lawson and Frank M. Kirkland—who both argue that there are Kantian features present in Douglass as it relates to his conception of the individual—by arguing that there are similarities between Douglass and Kant not only concerning the relationship between morality and Christianity, but also concerning the nature of the soul. Specifically, I try to show that the moral weakness of slaveholding Christianity that Douglass attacked is found in the ecclesial formation of the slaveholding Christian church; it is a formation that begins with epistemology, but ignores ethics. I conclude, in part, that both Douglass and Kant reject a Cartesian psychological dualism in favor of a conception of the soul that is more attentive to one's moral development

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References found in this work

Critique of Pure Reason.Immanuel Kant - 1998 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Critique of Pure Reason.Immanuel Kant - 1781/1998 - In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. Blackwell. pp. 449-451.
Practical Philosophy.Immanuel Kant - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
Critique of Judgment.Immanuel Kant - 1790 - Barnes & Noble.

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