Kantian Journal

2018 Vol. 37. No. 4

Vernunft und Glaube. Zu Kants Deduktion der Gnadenlehre


Kant’s deduction of the Christian doctrine of justification, respectively the doctrine of grace, leads to the question in what sense philosophy can deal with God’s grace without falsely replacing it with its own arguments. Kant’s answer (a) is that the imputation of evil without attempt to justify it by means of one’s own resources requires thinking of God as the external judge in the internal court of justice, respectively as one’s conscience. This reference to God implies that one makes oneself susceptive to the principle of the good instead of vainly trying to make it dependent on one’s own deeds and thoughts. The renunciation of the attempt to justify one’s evil disposition, i.e. the moral conversion to a good disposition, is thus enabled by the principle of the good. Thus one can reasonably hope to achieve goodness in one’s moral conduct because of God’s grace. A transcendental deduction (b) has to justify conditions that enable the acquisition of rational claims. The justification of the claim of practical reason that faith is a necessary precondition of one‘s moral conduct has now to be understood as complementary to the result of the transcendental deduction of the categories, namely the restriction of theoretical reason to the sensible world. Faith in God’s grace does not represent objective knowledge. As transcending objective knowledge, however, faith refers to the theoretically inexplicable awareness of moral obligation, and with it the idea of an intelligible world, as a necessary precondition of one’s moral conduct in the sensible world.

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