SHS Web Conf.
Volume 161, 202312th Kant-Readings International Conference “Kant and the Ethics of Enlightenment: Historical Roots and Contemporary Relevance”
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Section||Kant and the History of Enlightenment Ethics|
|Published online||08 March 2023|
A Haskalah story: Kant and Maimon on rational faith
University of Oxford, Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JA, UK
* Corresponding author: email@example.com
In 1789 Salomon Maimon sent Kant, via Markus Herz, the manuscript of his Essay on Transcendental Philosophy (Kant, 1999, pp. 291-294). A surprised Kant replied to Herz: “None of my critics understood me as well as Herr Maimon does” (Kant, 1999, pp. 311-315). Kant’s praise of Maimon makes him a singular figure in the Haskalah, the Jewish Enlightenment. But while the theoretical aspect of Maimon’s criticism of Kant has received increasing attention in recent years, its practical implications remain under-examined. In what follows, I use the notion of rational faith for the purposes of a tentative reconstruction of Maimon’s reading of Kant’s transcendental philosophy that brings together theoretical and practical aspects of the thought of both philosophers. Kant and Maimon shared a project of devising a form of faith that would express rational rather than religious-based morality. Kant argued for a rational moral freedom that is vouched by an infinite intellect that cannot be attributed to humans but more appropriately to God. For Maimon, the answers to the questions What can I know? and What should I do? involve a cognitive and affective process of striving to expand our finite consciousness. This process is the rational expression of God in us.
Key words: transcendental / lawfulness / rational faith / infinite understanding / affects / morality / consciousness
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2023
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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