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The Highest Good in Aristotle and Kant$
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Joachim Aufderheide and Ralf M. Bader

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198714019

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198714019.001.0001

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Why Some Things Must Remain Unknown

Why Some Things Must Remain Unknown

Kant on Faith, Moral Motivation, and the Highest Good

(p.229) 10 Why Some Things Must Remain Unknown
The Highest Good in Aristotle and Kant

Jens Timmermann

Oxford University Press

In the final section of the Dialectic of the Critique of Practical Reason Kant raises the question of how the cognitive powers of human beings relate to their vocation of realizing the highest good. In particular, should we have been given knowledge of immortality and of God’s existence? Nature was right to withhold knowledge of these objects: metaphysical knowledge of a just God and immortality would eliminate friction between the moral law and inclination, undermine human freedom, respect for the moral law, and autonomy, and consequently the possibility of moral goodness, the foundational constituent of the highest good. Theoretical certainty of the existence of God and immortality would have been just as fatal for the possibility of promoting the highest good as conclusive proof of their non-existence. The purpose of this chapter is to determine whether Kant’s controversial arguments can be made to work.

Keywords:   Kant, hiddenness of God, highest good, postulates, moral faith

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