Kant on God

Byrne, Peter, 2007. Kant on God, Aldershot: Ashgate.


“The theme of this book—the status of claims about God in the critical philosophy—gains its importance from a number of facts. One is that the critical philosophy displays an obvious bivalent or paradox in its concept of God. On the one hand, God and related concepts are used,  appealed to and depended on by Kant in many key passages of thoughts and arguments. On the other hand, the critical philosophy tells us that we can have no knowledge of the divine nature and existence. Early on in the 1st critique (in the preface to the 2nd edition) we encounter the famous statements concerning the notions of God, freedom, and immortality: “I therefore had to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith”. We will come across many such statements to this effect as we proceed. Further, readers of the 1st critique will be familiar with other passages that entail that statements about a transcendent divine being are without sense. So Kant not only denies that we can have knowledge of God; he also appears to deny that there is any meaning to talk about God here in this latter point is controversial. Many commentators on cots philosophical theology ignore or deliberately discount Cox apparent commitment to the meaninglessness of claims about transcendent entities about God and one can see why they do. If the interpreter of Kant sign God takes this commitment seriously, then the problem of making sense of constant dependence upon, and positive use of, the concept of God becomes that much more difficult.