Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

The religious framework of Kant’s philosophy: practical knowledge, evil and religious faith

Head, Jonathan

The religious framework of Kant’s philosophy: practical knowledge, evil and religious faith Thumbnail



This thesis explores the religious underpinnings of Kant’s thought through a consideration of the related topics of the problem of evil, the nature of religious faith, the possibility of practical knowledge, and the nature of philosophy, as well as his approach to various aspects of Christian theology, such as Scripture, eschatology, and Christology. Texts from both the pre-Critical and Critical period of Kant’s works are considered, building up a picture of Kant as a philosopher deeply concerned with the cultivation and maintenance of religious faith within the bounds of reason. The links between the philosophies of Kant, Leibniz and the Pietists are also considered in order to emphasise their shared commitments in using philosophy to complement moral faith. Further, it is argued that Kant is also concerned to combat superstition, enthusiasm and immorality in the Church, which are seen as barriers to ‘true’ faith. Through these considerations, we also discern an underlying realist religious framework to discussions on religious topics in Kant’s works, even in the Critical philosophy. It is argued that Kant’s philosophy of religion and ethical theory are intended to be not only compatible with but complementary to orthodox Christianity. As a result, a number of contemporary interpretive lines surrounding Kant’s philosophy of religion that intend to dilute the Christian commitments of the Critical system are rejected. These discussions are then employed to provide context for a reading of Religion within the Bounds of Mere Reason (1793) as lying within a realist religious framework. Current interpretive issues in the literature surrounding Religion are discussed in relation to this framework.


You might also like

Downloadable Citations