Moral theology and the cosmological argument. Comments and delibera¬tions on a little-known Reflection of KantAbstract
This essay concerns an unusual note of Kant’s that has been available in Hamburg since the 1920s but otherwise neglected in the Kant literature. This small 8 x 6.3 cm sheet belonged to the manuscript collector Oskar Ulex (1852—1934), who appears to have bought it from a dealer in France. Writing covers both sides of the sheet, with moral theology discussed on one side, and the cosmological proof on the other. A transcription and description of the sheet is provided, followedby a “Question & Answer” with the goal of dating the notes describing the two separate arguments for the existence of God. The use of the expressions ‘Moraltheologie’ (moral theology) and ‘Endzweck’ (final purpose), as well as the discussion of ‘an object of the moral will’ — all of which touchupon a central point of Kant’s developing moral philosophy — show that the text on both sides of the sheet could not have been written before the last third of the 1780s. Finally, it will be shown that the term ‘moraltheologie’, and the positive connection between moral philosophy and theologycontained in it, is a relatively late innovation in the Kantian corpus. A central reflection bearing on this point, R 4582 (AA, XVII, S. 601), will also be used to clarify several features of Erich Adickes’s methodology in preparing the Nachlaß volumes of the Kant-Ausgabe published by the former Prussian Academy of Sciences.