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Kant on the concept of God

Kant talks about God (and hence religion) in both the theoretical mode and the practical mode. In very broad strokes, his signal contribution to the philosophy of religion consists in a displacement of religious concerns from the theoretical to the practical domain: Rather than being an object of knowledge, Kant's God is a necessary posit for thoroughly moral conduct. God's role in the theoretical domain is the purely formal one of suggesting an ultimate coherence at the end and foundation of empirical inquiry.

Tonight will feature a live, cooperative reading of the Critique of Pure Reason A568/B596 and following. In these pages, Kant first discusses what ideals in general are (with some particularly keen remarks on moral ideals) and then turns to "God" as the concept of an ontological ideal.

This part of the Critique offers one of the most rigorous and systematic expositions ever written of what could possibly be meant by "perfect being". Kant's prose style almost guarantees that we won't get far in the text itself, but the richness and clarity of his thinking will more than make up for that.



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  • A former member
    A former member

    thanks to everyone for sharing your time and your mind! fun night!

    January 11, 2014

  • Ann

    Five stars all around!

    January 10, 2014

  • Rohit

    Stuck in traffic, won't be able to make it on time. Sorry!

    1 · January 9, 2014

  • john c.

    Oh my God (or Kant's God rather), please try to get me in for this one. It sounds awesome.

    January 8, 2014

    • Poe

      You can take my spot! I have been working late at work all week trying to catch up. ;_; Let me know how it goes!

      January 9, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    According to a cheesy book on Alchemy I have been reading, "why" questions point to the future and "how" questions point to the past. So if we take some philosopher's God perhaps there must be at least one "why" question. Perhaps if there is at least one why question there must be a future of meaning, whence a place for consequences, whence reason for ethics. QED :)

    2 · January 8, 2014

  • Peter R.

    Kant seems to sum up his thoughts on this at the end of the 3rd critique - General Remark on Teleology. It doesn't differ from what he says in the 1st critique, but it shows all of his cards.

    December 28, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Any preferred translation of die erste Kritik to bring along for the reading?

    December 15, 2013

    • Thrashionalist

      Norman Kemp Smith seems to be the most commonly-owned translation among members who've attended Kant meetups. So we could reasonably take it as a default.

      December 15, 2013

    • Derwin

      I like the blue 1999 Cambridge edition translated by Allen Wood and Paul Guyer.

      December 16, 2013

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