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Free Belief: The Medieval Heritage in Kant’s Moral Faith

Insole, Christopher

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Abstract

I argue that insofar as Kant describes faith as a free-choice, he is aligned with the medieval tradition, and with his own sources that mediate this heritage (in particular, Leibniz and Locke). The medieval tradition consistently, affirmatively, and systematically invokes freedom and the will, with reference to belief in God, without such a dimension of choice implying any deflation in the degree of commitment to this belief. However, in clarifying that the movement of the will involves “human freedom” alone, without divine action, Kant departs from this tradition. Such divine action, Kant is convinced, would destroy genuine human freedom. This conviction is the source of Kant’s repeated insistence that grace follows rather than precedes moral conversion. It is on this point concerning human freedom and grace that Kant departs from the medieval tradition, rather than with his claim that we choose to believe in God.

Citation

Insole, C. (2019). Free Belief: The Medieval Heritage in Kant’s Moral Faith. Journal of the History of Philosophy, 57(3), 501-528. https://doi.org/10.1353/hph.2019.0056

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 3, 2018
Online Publication Date Jul 9, 2019
Publication Date Jul 31, 2019
Deposit Date Nov 2, 2018
Publicly Available Date Nov 2, 2018
Journal Journal of the History of Philosophy
Print ISSN 0022-5053
Electronic ISSN 1538-4586
Publisher Johns Hopkins University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 57
Issue 3
Pages 501-528
DOI https://doi.org/10.1353/hph.2019.0056

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Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2019 The Johns Hopkins University Press. This article first appeared in nsole, Christopher (2019). Free Belief: The Medieval Heritage in Kant’s Moral Faith. Journal of the History of Philosophy 57(3): 501-528.




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