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)||7|
|Section||Enlightenment and Kant’s Ethics in Russia and the World|
|Published online||08 March 2023|
God’s role in the ethics of Kant and Dostoevsky
1 University Paris-Sorbonne, 1 rue Victor Cousin, 75005 Paris, France
2 University of Wuppertal, 20 Gaußstr., 42119 Wuppertal, Germany
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Despite their differences there is a deeper connection between Kant and Dostoevsky’s thought on the relationship between belief in God and ethics. For Dostoevsky, belief in the existence of God plays an essential role with regard to the possibility and meaning of ethics. This role is expressed in the idea that we can find for example in The Brothers Karamazov, according to which if there were no God, everything would be allowed, i.e. there would not be any sense in moral interdiction. In Kantian moral theory, on the other hand, even though God is not a condition of possibility for ethics as such, as in Dostoevsky’s case, it is still a subjective condition for the possibility of the realisation of ethics for finite human beings. Furthermore, I show that for both thinkers the importance of God for ethics does not exclude the importance of freedom. Thus, I argue that there is an implicit reflection on the importance of freedom for faith and therefore also for ethics in Dostoevsky’s thought. In the “Legend of the Inquisitor” from The Brothers Karamazov Dostoevsky actually criticises dogmatic faith, incarnated in the figure of the Inquisitor. I will conclude from this that, according to Dostoevsky, faith needs a form of freedom.
Key words: Kant / Dostoevsky / ethics / God / freedom / love / Other
© 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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