In Defense of Kant's Religion

In Defense of Kant's Religion

Chris Firestone and Nathan Jacobs, Nicholas Wolterstorff
Distribution: World
Publication date: 10/09/2008
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-22014-1
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Chris L. Firestone and Nathan Jacobs integrate and interpret the work of leading Kant scholars to come to a new and deeper understanding of Kant's difficult book, Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason. In this text, Kant's vocabulary and language are especially tortured and convoluted. Readers have often lost sight of the thinker's deep ties to Christianity and questioned the viability of the work as serious philosophy of religion. Firestone and Jacobs provide strong and cogent grounds for taking Kant's religion seriously and defend him against the charges of incoherence. In their reading, Christian essentials are incorporated into the confines of reason, and they argue that Kant establishes a rational religious faith in accord with religious conviction as it is elaborated in his mature philosophy. For readers at all levels, this book articulates a way to ground religion and theology in a fully fledged defense of Religion which is linked to the larger corpus of Kant's philosophical enterprise.

Author Bio

Chris L. Firestone is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Trinity College in Deerfield, Ill. He is editor (with Stephen R. Palmquist) of Kant and the New Philosophy of Religion (IUP, 2006).

Nathan Jacobs is Assistant Professor of Theology in the School of Biblical and Religious Studies at Trinity College in Deerfield, Ill. He has authored many articles on Kant and other topics, and is a contributor to Kant and the New Philosophy of Religion.


“Invaluable in courses on Kant's philosophy of religion. There is a sizeable literature on the topic, but none that gives such a comprehensive overview of the scholarship in the course of developing its own interpretation.”
 — Merold Westphal, Fordham University

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Nicholas Wolterstorff
Note on Text Quotations

People vs. Religion

Part 1. Perspectives on Kant's Religion
1. The Metaphysical Motives behind Religion
Witness for the Prosecution: Vincent McCarthy
Witness for the Defense: Stephen R. Palmquist
Witness for the Prosecution: Keith Ward
Witness for the Defense: Allen W. Wood
2. The Philosophical Character of Religion
Witnesses for the Prosecution: Philip Quinn and Nicholas Wolterstorff
Witness for the Defense: Ronald M. Green
Witness for the Defense: Adina Davidovich
Witnesses for the Defense: Bernard M. G. Reardon and John E. Hare
3. The Indictment of Religion
The Predisposition-Propensity Conflict
The Innate-but-Freely-Chosen Predicament
The Universal-Contingent Puzzle
The Stoic-Saint Dilemma
The Before-and-After Problem
The Hermeneutic Circularity Crisis
The Unnecessary Necessity Paradox
Part 2. The Defense of Kant's Religion
4. Kant's Philosophy of Religion Reconsidered—Again
Pure Cognition and Rational Faith
Kant's Two Experiments in Religion
The Moral Disposition and the Pursuit of Virtue
5. Book One of Religion
Kant's Case for Moral Rigorism
Kant's Anthropology and Humanity's Moral Bent
Humanity's Moral Disposition
6. Book Two of Religion
The Prototype of Perfect Humanity
Practical Faith in the Son of God
The Anatomy of Moral Hope
7. Book Three of Religion
The Need for and Nature of the Ethical Commonwealth
Ecclesiastical Faith as the Vehicle for Pure Religious Faith
The Rational Merits of Christianity
8. Book Four of Religion
Kant on Revelation and Rationalism
Christianity as a Natural and Learned Religion
Concerning the Counterfeit Service of God

Closing Statement

Selected Bibliography