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Kant on Man, God, and the Order of Nature - Part 3

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Published on May 6, 2011

Eric Watkins, University of California, San Diego, "Kant on Man, God, and the Order of Nature"

Abstract

Most early modern philosophers have thought that God is the source of both the laws of nature and the moral law, even as they disagree about whether the content and normativity of these laws stem from God's immutability, God's will, or some other divine attribute. It is often thought that Kant responds by secularizing and anthropomorphizing the natural and moral order such that he, in effect, replaces God with man. For on his account man is responsible for the lawfulness of nature and for the content and authority of the moral law (through autonomy). In this paper, I argue that Kant adopts a much more nuanced view of the source of order in both the moral and natural world, one that is interesting both for assessing Kant's reaction to the early modern period and for thinking about what positions might be attractive in a contemporary context.

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