Patrick Kain

Department of Philosophy

Purdue University





Several interpretive disagreements about Kant's theory of divine commands (esp. in the work of Allen Wood and John E. Hare) can be resolved with further attention to Kant's works.  It is argued that Kant's moral theism included (at least until 1797) the claim that practical reason, reflecting upon the absolute authority of the moral law, should lead finite rational beings like us to believe that there exists an omnipotent, omniscient and holy being who commands our obedience to the moral law and proportions happiness to virtue.  Kant's apparently contradictory claims about the relationship between morality and religion reflect his view that our acceptance of the authority of the moral law is incomplete or rationally unstable absent such a theological postulate.

"Interpreting Kant's Theory of Divine Commands"

Kantian Review 9 (2005):128-149 (9,254 words)