King's College London

Research portal

The Scope and Development of Kant's Theodicy

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

The thesis which underpins the whole study is that Kant's engagement with theodicy was career-long and not confined to his short treatise of 1791, On the Failure of All Attempted Philosophical Theodicies, which dealt explicitly with the subject. In the study, Kant's developing thought on theodicy is treated in three periods, pre-Critical, early-Critical, and late-Critical. Each of the periods has its own special character, respectively that of exploration, transition, and conclusion. In the course of developing the underpinning thesis, I argue for a further five substantial theses:
o Kant's stance on theodicy developed through his career, from an essentially Leibnizian starting point to his own unique authentic theodicy.
o Kant did not reject all theodicies. He rejected so-called philosophical theodicies based on theoretical/speculative reason but advanced authentic theodicy grounded in practical reason. In this way he found a middle ground between philosophical theodicy and fideism, both of which he rejected.
o Kant's work in other areas, particularly that in natural science and his Critical epistemology, served to constrain his theodicy.
o Metaphysical Evil conceived as limitation and Kant's Radical Evil perform the same function, namely providing the ground for the possibility of moral evil in the world.
o Nevertheless, Kant's authentic theodicy fails (i) because it fails to meet his own definition (ii) it relies on the Highest Good which cannot bear the weight Kant puts on it because (a) there is no a priori deduction of a duty in its regard and (b) intractable difficulties in applying the Highest Good in practice.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Award date2015

Documents

Download statistics

No data available

View graph of relations

© 2018 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454