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Kant: Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason: And Other Writings (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy) [Paperback]

By Immanuel Kant (Author), Allen Wood (Translator) & George Di Giovanni (Translator)
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Item description for Kant: Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason: And Other Writings (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy) by Immanuel Kant, Allen Wood & George Di Giovanni...

Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason is a key element of the system of philosophy which Kant introduced with his Critique of Pure Reason, and a work of major importance in the history of Western religious thought. It represents a great philosopher's attempt to spell out the form and content of a type of religion that would be grounded in moral reason and would meet the needs of ethical life. It includes sharply critical and boldly constructive discussions on topics not often treated by philosophers, including such traditional theological concepts as original sin and the salvation or justification of a sinner, and the idea of the proper role of a church. This volume presents it, together with three short essays that illuminate it, in a new translation by Allen Wood and George di Giovanni, with an introduction by Robert Merrihew Adams that locates it in its historical and philosophical context.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Cambridge University Press
Pages   229
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.9" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   0.95 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 28, 1999
Publisher   Cambridge University Press
Series  Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy  
ISBN  0521599644  
ISBN13  9780521599641  

Availability  110 units.
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More About Immanuel Kant, Allen Wood & George Di Giovanni

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Allen W. Wood is a professor of philosophy at Stanford University. He is the author of "Kant s Rational Theology" and "Kant s Ethical Thought" and, with Paul Guyer, general editor of the "Cambridge Edition of the Works of Kant.

Immanuel Kant was born in 1724 and died in 1804 and has an academic affiliation as follows - University of California, San Diego, University of Pennsylvania.

Immanuel Kant has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant
  2. Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant in Translation
  3. Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy
  4. Dover Books on Western Philosophy
  5. Dover Philosophical Classics
  6. Great Books in Philosophy
  7. Modern Library Classics (Paperback)
  8. Oxford World's Classics (Paperback)
  9. Penguin Classics
  10. Torchbooks

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Product Categories

1Books > Foreign Language Books > German > All German Books
2Books > Foreign Language Books > German > Nonfiction
3Books > Foreign Language Books > German > Religion & Spirituality
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > General
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Modern
6Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Religious
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Philosophy

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Reviews - What do customers think about Kant: Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason: And Other Writings (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy)?

An interesting combination of concepts  Nov 2, 2003
The first essay in this book, published in a scholarly journal before many of Kant's key works had been written, established that Kant wanted to have his views on reason and truth considered by his age when controversial matters were being discussed. As he became more famous, the censor became an obstacle to having Kant's ideas published in such a popular vehicle. While religion can be a topic that is generally written about in a safe manner, it is possible to imagine Kant breathing fire into the final parts of this book as a direct result of restrictions, which then resulted in an order for his silence on the topic of religion for several years.

According to the Chronology on pages xxxiii-xxxiv, the works that are included in this book were originally published in 1786, 1791, 1792, 1793, and 1794. Also important were the death of Frederick the Great in 1786 and a royal letter in 1794 objecting to Kant's writings on religion, which Kant obeyed at least until, after he retired from university lecturing in 1796, he felt his situation had changed after King Frederick William II died in 1797. The first text in this book, "What does it mean to orient oneself in thinking?" was in response to a pantheism controversy published in the `Berlinische Monatsschrift.' Part one of RELIGION WITHIN THE BOUNDS OF MERE REASON was published in the same journal in 1792, but the second part was rejected by the censor in Berlin. The book as a whole had to be published as philosophy instead of theology.

Part One started with the evil in the world, with Kant's first footnote a Latin verse by Horace that is translated: "The age of our parents (who were worse than our forefathers) brought us forth yet more dishonest, and we are now ready to issue an even more vicious progeny." (p. 45, n. g). By the end of the first part, Kant was willing to say some good things about Christianity, but only if it could conform to his moral principles. "According to moral religion, however (and of all the public religions so far known, the Christian alone is of this type), it is a fundamental principle that, to become a better human being, everyone must do as much as it is in his powers to do; and only then, if a human being has not buried his innate talent (Luke 19:12-16), if he has made use of the original predisposition to the good in order to become a better human being, can he hope that what does not lie in his power will be made good by cooperation from above." (p. 71). The original Part Two starts on page 77, but the book had four parts, and by the time Kant got to the second half of Part Four, I'll bet he was steaming. Every time he called something the second part, he had an overwhelming urge to belittle the forces of religion which were imposing restrictions upon him:

"Second Section, The Christian Religion as a Learned Religion." (p. 160).

"Second Part, Concerning the counterfeit service of God in a statutory religion." (p. 164).

"Section 2, The Moral Principle of Religion Opposed to the Delusion of Religion." (p. 166).

After RELIGION WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF MERE REASON, the final text in the book is called "The end of all things." (pp. 193-205). This is not the ultimate picture of fire and brimstone. When Kant quotes Revelations 10:5-6, his interpretation is "that henceforth time shall be no more." (p. 200). Kant attempts to be comforting, though he is still sure that human activities will always be found wanting by any rational evaluation. "The end of all things which go through the hands of human beings, even when their purposes are good, is folly, i.e. the use of means to their ends which are directly opposed to these ends. Wisdom . . . dwells in God alone; . . . Hence too the projects - altering from age to age and often absurd - of finding suitable means to make religion in a whole people pure and at the same time powerful, so that one can well cry out: Poor mortals, with you nothing is constant except inconstancy!" (p. 202). This was good enough to be published in a scholarly journal in June, 1794, but "In October Kant receives a royal letter, signed by Woellner for the King, objecting to Kant's writings on religion and ordering him to avoid offending in this area in the future" (p. xxxiv). He had no need to force everyone to agree with him, so he agreed not to speak or write publicly on religion. He was familiar with the New Testament, but his tendency to declare, "Here now appears a remarkable antimony of human reason with itself, the resolution of which - or, if this is not possible, at least its settlement - can alone determine whether a historical (ecclesiastical) faith must always supervene as an essential portion of saving faith over and above the religious one, or whether, as mere vehicle, historical faith will finally pass over, in however distant a future, into pure religious faith" (p. 123) is a bit much.


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