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Immanuel Kant is often referred to as the 'philosopher of Protestantism' because he provides a model for mediating successfully between a modern scientific world view and theism. This radical new reading of Kant's religious thought suggests that he is in fact more accurately read as a precursor to nineteenth-century atheism than to liberal Protestant theology.Michalson locates major themes in Kant's philosophy that are more continuous with nineteenth-century atheism than with constructive theology. The 'problem of God' in Kant turns out to be the problem of retaining authentic references to God in light of the 'self-inventing' character of Kant's theory of human freedom. The book explores several ways in which this problem comes to light in Kant's philosophy, including an extended examination of Kant's own moral proof of the existence of God. Finally, Michalson suggests that, in his effort to develop a theory of human freedom consistent with his Enlightenment ideals, Kant produced a philosophical vision that ultimately absorbs heaven into earth.
In addition to providing an alternative perspective on Kant's religious thought, this book raises serious questions about the idea of theological 'mediation' which attempts to accommodate both intellectual autonomy and divine transcendence. The book will be of interest to students and scholars in philosophy, religious studies and theology with an interest in Kant, the development of modern theology or the debate over 'modernity' and its proper definition.
Gordon E. Michalson Jr. is Professor of Humanities at New College of the University of South Florida. His previous books include Fallen Freedom: Kant on Radical Evil and Moral Regeneration (1990), Lessing's 'Ugly Ditch': A Study of Theology and History (1985), and The Historical Dimensions of a Rational Faith: the Role of History in Kant's Religious Thought (1977).