Peter Byrne presents a detailed study of the role of the concept of God in Kant's Critical Philosophy. After a preliminary survey of the major interpretative disputes over the understanding of Kant on God, Byrne explores his critique of philosophical proofs of God’s existence. Examining Kant’s account of religious language, Byrne highlights both the realist and anti-realist elements contained within it. The notion of the highest good is then explored, with its constituent elements - happiness and virtue, in pursuit of an assessment of how far Kant establishes that we must posit God. The precise role God plays in ethics according to Kant is then examined, along with the definition of religion as the recognition of duties as divine commands. Byrne also plots Kant’s critical re-working of the concept of grace. The book closes with a survey of the relation between the Critical Philosophy and Christianity on the one hand and deism on the other.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; God and Kant's critical project; Kant on natural theology I; Kant on natural theology II; Religious language and the boundaries of sense; The positive case for God; Kant on the elements of the highest good; Kant's moral theology explored; Kant, Christianity and deism; Bibliography; Index.
’This study of Kant's complex and basic thought about God is clear, discerning, and comprehensive. Byrne is to be congratulated on it. My only regret is that it was not published half a century ago so that not only I but also my students could have benefited from its perceptive exposition of and insights into Kant's thought.’ Journal of Theological Studies ’... there is much valuable in Byrne’s book as a clear, detailed presentation of Kant’s various doctrines pertaining to religious faith, coupled with sharp analytical criticism of these doctrines, informed by comprehensive knowledge of Kant’s corpus.’ Journal of the American Academy of Religion