Review: Cohen, The Heart as Locus of Moral Struggle in Religion

Palgrave McMillan (forthcoming)
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This paper explores a usually neglected notion in Kant’s account of moral fall and regeneration in Religion: the notion of “heart” (Herz). This notion belongs to a constellation of concepts that Kant develops for the purposes of moral imputation and the attribution of responsibility. The other chief components of Kant’s conceptual framework are “propensity” (Hang), “character” (Charakter), and “disposition” (Gesinnung). Although interpreters have tended to use these notions interchangeably, understanding their proper meaning, function, and scope in Kantian ethics is essential to preserve the consistency of the doctrine of radical evil. To make good on this claim, I discuss the contributions that the notion of “heart” makes to Kant’s account of the human moral condition and argue that it is irreducible to the other components of his conceptual framework. This notion, we discover, is crucial to the success of Kant’s anthropological argument in Religion and invites us to reevaluate the role emotions play in our moral lives.
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