Kant Yearbook 10 (1):199-217 (2018)

Rachel Zuckert
Northwestern University
In the Critique of Practical Reason, Kant argues that morality obliges us to believe in the immortality of the soul and the existence of God. I argue, however, that in two late essays – “The End of All Things” and “On the Miscarriage of all Philosophical Trials in Theodicy” – Kant provides moral counterarguments to that position: these beliefs undermine moral agency by giving rise to fanaticism or fatalism. Thus, I propose, the Kantian position on the justification of religious belief is ultimately antinomial. One ought, moreover, to understand Kant’s considered position concerning the immortality of the soul and the existence of God to be similar to that he proposes concerning the theoretical ideas of reason in the Appendix to the Dialectic of the Critique of Pure Reason: they are necessary as regulative ideas guiding moral action, not endorsed or even postulated as propositions. In other words, they are subject matters not of belief, but of hope.
Keywords Kant  moral philosophy  antinomy  immortality  God  theodicy  practical reason  moral proof  philosophy of religion
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DOI 10.1515/kantyb-2018-0010
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