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The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 10, 2007

Ancient and Modern Philosophy

Edgard José Jorge Filho
Pages 167-175

Concerning Moral Faith in Kant

According to Kant, all finite rational beings are unconditionally bound to obey the moral law, expressed in the formula of the categorical imperative. The assent (the taking to be true) to this law is a practical knowledge, since its ground is objectively and subjectively sufficient. However, the immortality of the soul and the existence of God are not objects of practical knowledge but just objects of practical faith, of moral faith more precisely, for the assent to them has a barely subjectively sufficient ground and is not a necessary consequence of this knowledge of the moral law. According to our interpretation of the Kantian philosophy, the ground of moral faith in God's existence and in the immortality of the soul will be found only in the finite rational being with a disposition (Gesinnung) for the actual fulfilment of the moral law. We will defend this interpretation and maintain that the radical evil of human nature, diagnosed by Kant, prevents all men from having a moral faith, which does not mean that this obstacle is unsurmountable, since the conversion of men into Good is possible. In our view, what makes this conversion feasible is the possibility (implicit in Kant's thought) of an irregular act of the free-will, that of adopting a good fundamental maxim.

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