Kant’s Moral Panentheism

Philosophia 36 (1):17-28 (2008)
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Abstract

Although Kant is often interpreted as an Enlightenment Deist, Kant scholars are increasingly recognizing aspects of his philosophy that are more amenable to theism. If Kant regarded himself as a theist, what kind of theist was he? The theological approach that best fits Kant’s model of God is panentheism, whereby God is viewed as a living being pervading the entire natural world, present ‘in’ every part of nature, yet going beyond the physical world. The purpose of Kant’s restrictions on our knowledge of God is not to cast doubt on God’s existence, but to preserve a mystery in God’s reality so that God is always more than the world as we experience it. The same God who is theoretically unknowable is also an aspect of the moral substratum of the physical world. Kant’s moral Trinity (God as righteous Lawgiver, benevolent Ruler, and just Judge) permeates everything, as the ultimate unifier of reason and nature. This Paper was delivered during the 2007 APA Pacific Mini-Conference on Models of God, together with papers published in Philosophia 35:3–4.

Author's Profile

Stephen R. Palmquist
Hong Kong Baptist University

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