Kant's Doctrine of Religion as Political Philosophy
Wodzinski, Phillip David. “Kant's Doctrine of Religion as Political Philosophy”, Boston College, 2009. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/987.
Through a close reading of Immanuel Kant's late book, Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, the dissertation clarifies the political element in Kant's doctrine of religion and so contributes to a wider conception of his political philosophy. Kant's political philosophy of religion, in addition to extending and further animating his moral doctrine, interprets religion in such a way as to give the Christian faith a moral grounding that will make possible, and even be an agent of, the improvement of social and political life. The dissertation emphasizes the wholeness and structure of Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason as a book, for the teaching of the book is not exhausted by the articulation of its doctrine but also includes both the fact and the manner of its expression: the reader learns most fully from Kant by giving attention to the structure and tone of the book as well as to its stated content and argumentation. The Religion provides the basis not only for a proposed reenvisioning of the basis of existing religious creeds and practices, but along with this a devastating critique of them in particularly moral terms. This, however, is only half of what constitutes Kant's political philosophy of religion; Kant goes beyond the philosophical analysis of the social-political context of religion and pursues, alongside this effort, a political presentation of philosophy which is intended to relieve the reader's anxieties concerning the tension between philosophy and political life that it is in the interest of the partisans of the church-faith to encourage.