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Dialogues between Faith and ReasonThe Death and Return of God in Modern German Thought$
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John H. Smith

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449277

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449277.001.0001

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The Turn to Ethics as Logos

(p.68) Chapter 3 Kant
Dialogues between Faith and Reason

John H. Smith

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the relationship between religion and ethics by focusing on Immanuel Kant's views, and especially his grounding of religious faith on rationalist moral principles. It begins with an overview of the origins and political significance of Kant's formulation of the conflict between faith and Enlightenment by turning to Enlightenment theology and the developments of the 1780s and 1790s. In particular, it discusses Jürgen Habermas's emphasis on the need for theology in a “postmetaphysical” world like our own to “translate” the language of religious discourse into that of philosophy, along with Jacques Derrida's comments on Kant's basic premise. It then considers Kant's rejection of the other “proofs” of the existence of God and the “moral” proof he provides as a saving alternative. It shows that Kant, by making rationally grounded moral principles the “beginning” and logos, does offer a means for judging, evaluating, and comparing religious doctrines.

Keywords:   religion, ethics, Immanuel Kant, faith, theology, Enlightenment, Jürgen Habermas, Jacques Derrida, God, logos

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