Chaucer reciting Troilus and Criseyde: They were marvel-filled adventuresoften of a knight-errant with heroic qualities, who undertakes a questyet it is "the emphasis on heterosexual love and courtly manners distinguishes it from the chanson de geste and other kinds of epicwhich involve heroism.
Kant and Religion This article does not present a full biography of Kant. But five matters should be briefly addressed as background for discussing his philosophical theology: His parents followed the Pietist movement in German Lutheranism, as he was brought up to do.
Pietism stressed studying the scriptures as a basis for personal devotion, lay governance of the church, the conscientious practice of Christian ethics, religious education emphasizing the development and exercising of values, and preaching designed to inculcate and promote piety in its adherents.
Even during later decades of his life, when he ceased to practice religion publicly see letter to Lavater in Correspondence, pp. Second, as a university student, Kant became a follower of Newtonian science. He had reason to worry that his thoroughly mechanistic explanation might run afoul of Biblical fundamentalists who advocated the traditional doctrine of strict creationism.
This is illustrative of a tension with which he had to deal all of his adult life—regarding how to reconcile Christian faith and scientific knowledge—which his philosophy of religion would address.
Third, although this is a bit of an oversimplification, before Kant, modern European philosophy was generally split into two rival camps: This split vitally affected views regarding knowledge of God. Descartes and his followers were convinced that a priori knowledge of the existence of God, as an infinitely perfect Being, was possible and favored what Kant would later call the Ontological Argument as a way to establish it.
By contrast, Locke and his followers spurned such a priori reasoning and resorted to empirical approaches, such as the Cosmological Argument and the Teleological Arguments or Design Arguments.
An important Continental Rationalist was the German Leibnizwhose philosophy was systematized by Christian Wolff; in the eighteenth century, the Leibnizian-Wolffian philosophy was replacing scholasticism in German universities. But he also came to study British Empiricists and was particularly disturbed by the challenges posed by the skeptical David Humewhich would gradually undermine his attachment to rationalism.
Fourth, the eighteenth century was the heyday of the intellectual movement of the Enlightenment in Europe as well as in North Americawhich was committed to ideals that Kant would appropriate as his own—including those of reason, experience, science, liberty, and progress.
There he calls his an age of developing enlightenment, though not yet a fully enlightened age. He champions the cause of the free use of reason in public discussion, including freedom from censorship regarding publishing on religion Essays, pp.
Fifth, Kant himself faced a personal crisis when the Prussian government condemned his published book, Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone.
But he was denied permission to publish Book II, which was seen as violating orthodox Biblical doctrines. Having publicly espoused the right of scholars to publish even controversial ideas, Kant sought and got permission from the philosophical faculty at Jena which also had that authority to publish the second, third, and fourth books of his Religion and proceeded to do so.
Until that king died inKant kept his promise. But, as he later explained Theology, pp. These writings reflect a general commitment to the Leibnizian-Wolffian rationalist tradition.
Near the beginning of his Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens ofKant observes that the harmonious order of the universe points to its divinely governing first Cause; near the end of it, he writes that even now the universe is permeated by the divine energy of an omnipotent Deity Cosmogony, pp.
He denies the Cartesian thesis that existence is a predicate, thus undermining modern versions of the Ontological Argument.Most of the leading Communists who took control of Russia in were Jews.
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