Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter August 25, 2020

Kant’s Conception of Theodicy and his Argument from Metaphysical Evil against it

Amit Kravitz


A series of attempts have been made to determine Kant’s exact position towards theodicy, and to understand whether it is a direct consequence of his critical philosophy or, rather, whether it is merely linked to some inner development within his critical philosophy. However, I argue that the question of Kant’s critical relation to theodicy has been misunderstood; and that in fact, Kant redefines the essence of the theodicean question anew. After introducing some major aspects of Kant‘s new conception of theodicy, I show how understanding this conception is necessary for correctly analysing his specific arguments against theodicy. I demonstrate this point by examining Kant’s second argument against theodicy, in which he tackles the Leibnizian problem of ‘metaphysical evil’, and show why, in light of the above, interpretations thus far have failed to capture the essence of Kant’s claim in this regard.

Ameriks, K. 2012. “Kant and the End of Theodicy”. In Kant’s Elliptical Path. Oxford, 260–77. Search in Google Scholar

Antognazza, M. R. 2014. “Metaphysical Evil Revisited”. In New Essays on Leibniz’s Theodicy. Eds. L. M. Jorgensen/S. Newlands. Oxford, 113–34. Search in Google Scholar

Appel, K. 2003. Kants Theodizeekritik. Eine Auseinandersetzung mit den Theodizeekonzeptionen von Leibniz und Kant. Frankfurt/M. Search in Google Scholar

Brachtendorf, J. 2002. “Kants Theodizee Aufsatz – Die Bedingung des Gelingens philosophischer Theodizee”. Kant-Studien 93, 57–83. Search in Google Scholar

Cavallar, G. 1993. “Kants Weg von der Theodizee zur Anthropodizee und retour. Verspätete Kritik an Odo Marquard”. Kant-Studien 84, 90–102. Search in Google Scholar

Dieringer, V. 2009. Kants Lösung des Theodizeeproblems. Eine Rekonstruktion. Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt. Search in Google Scholar

Duncan, S. 2012. “Moral Evil, Freedom and the Goodness of God: Why Kant Abandoned Theodicy”. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 25, 973–991. Search in Google Scholar

Galbraith, E. C. 2006. “Kant and A Theodicy of Protest”. In Kant and the New Philosophy of Religion. Eds. C. L. Firestone/S. R. Palmquist. Bloomington, 176–88. Search in Google Scholar

Gordon, E. M., Jr. 1990. Fallen Freedom. Kant on Radical Evil and Moral Regeneration. Cambridge. Search in Google Scholar

Guevara, D. 2000. Kant’s Theory of Moral Motivation. Boulder. Search in Google Scholar

Honderich, T. (ed.). 2005. The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. New York. Search in Google Scholar

Insole, C. J. 2013. Kant and the Creation of Freedom. A Theological Problem. Oxford. Search in Google Scholar

Jolley, N. 2014. “Is Leibniz’s Theodicy a Variation on a Theme by Malebranche?” In New Essays on Leibniz’s Theodicy. Eds. L. M. Jorgensen/S. Newlands. Oxford, 55–71. Search in Google Scholar

Korsgaard, C. M. 1986. “The Right to Lie: Kant on Dealing with Evil”. Philosophy and Public Affairs 15, 325–349. Search in Google Scholar

Kravitz, A. 2015. “Nature in God, Nature of God: Kant, Fichte and Schelling”. Philosophisches Jahrbuch 122, 24–45. Search in Google Scholar

–. 2016. “Absolute Counterpurposive? On Kant’s First Argument Against Theodicy”. Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 98, 89–105. Search in Google Scholar

–. 2017. “Geht die Physikotheologie der Ethikotheologie vorher? Ein Blick auf Kants Prioritätsthese”. Kant-Studien 108, 268–588. Search in Google Scholar

Kremer, J. 1909. Das Problem der Theodicee in der Philosophie und Literatur des 18. Jahrhunderts mit besonderer Rücksicht auf Kant und Schiller. Berlin. Search in Google Scholar

Lalande, A. 1926. Vocabulaire technique et critique de la philosophie. Paris. Search in Google Scholar

Langthaler, R. 2004. “Man wird von der Philosophie den wirklichen Gott fordern, nicht die blosse Idee Gottes”. In Kants Metaphysik und Religionsphilosophie. Ed. N. Fischer. Hamburg, 518–60. Search in Google Scholar

Lauener, H. 1981. “Der systematische Stellenwert des Gefühls der Achtung in Kants Ethik”. Dialectica 35, 243–264. Search in Google Scholar

Leibniz, G. W. 1978. Essai de théodicée sur la bonté de dieu, la liberté de l’homme et l’origine du mal (=Essai de Théodicée). In Die Philosophischen Schriften VI. New York. Search in Google Scholar

Marquard, O. 1973. Schwierigkeiten mit der Geschichtsphilosophie. Frankfurt am Main. Search in Google Scholar

Michalson, G. E., Jr. 1990. Fallen Freedom. Kant on Radical Evil and Moral Regeneration. Cambridge. Search in Google Scholar

Noller, J. 2015. Die Bestimmung des Willens. Zum Problem individueller Freiheit im Ausgang von Kant. Freiburg/München. Search in Google Scholar

Palmquist, S. R. 2000. Kant’s Critical Religion. Burlington. Search in Google Scholar

Peterson, M. L. 1998. God and Evil: An Introduction to the Issues. Boulder. Search in Google Scholar

Plantinga, A. 1977. God, Freedom and Evil. Michigan. Search in Google Scholar

Rateau, P. 2008. La question du mal chez Leibniz – Fondements et élaboration de la Théodicée. Paris. Search in Google Scholar

–. 2014. “The Theoretical Foundations of the Leibnizian Theodicy and its Apologetic Aim”. In New Essays on Leibnizs Theodicy. Eds. L. M. Jorgensen/S. Newlands. Oxford, 92–111. Search in Google Scholar

Sandkühler, H. J. (ed.). 2010. Enzyklopädie Philosophie. Hamburg. Search in Google Scholar

Schadow, S. 2013. Achtung für das Gesetz. Moral und Motivation bei Kant. Berlin/Boston. Search in Google Scholar

Schelling, F. W. J. 1795. Philosophische Briefe über Dogmatismus und Kritizismus. In Sämmtliche Werke. Ed. K. F. A. Schelling. Stuttgart/Augsburg 1856–1861, Bd. 1, 281–341. Search in Google Scholar

–. 1997. Über das Wesen der menschlichen Freiheit. Hamburg. Search in Google Scholar

Schöndorf, H. 1985. “Denken-Können’ und ‘Wollen-Können’ in Kant’s Beispielen für den kategorischen Imperativ”. Zeitschrift für philosophischen Forschung 39, 549–73. Search in Google Scholar

Schönecker, D. 2013. “’A Free Will and a Will Under the Moral Law are the Same’: Kant’s Concept of Autonomy and his Thesis of Analyticity in Groundwork III”. In Kant on Moral Autonomy. Ed. O. Sensen. Cambridge, 225–246. Search in Google Scholar

Schulte, C. 1991. “Zweckwidriges in der Erfahrung. Zur Genese des Mißlingens aller philosophischen Versuche in der Theodizee bei Kant”. Kant-Studium 82, 371–396. Search in Google Scholar

–. 1997. “Theodizee bei Kant und Cohen”. In Herman Cohen’s Philosophy of Religion. Eds. S. Moses/H. Wiedebach. Zürich/New York, 205–29. Search in Google Scholar

Shell, S. M. 2011. “Kant’s Secular Religion: Philosophical Theodicy and the Book of Job”. In Rethinking Kant: Volume 3. Ed. O. Thorndike. Cambridge, 20–33. Search in Google Scholar

van Invagen, P. 2006. The Problem of Evil. Oxford. Search in Google Scholar

–. 2012. “Three Versions of the Ontological Argument”. In Gottesbeweise. Eds. T. Buchheim/F. Hermanni/A. Hutter/C. Schwöble. Tübingen, 223 f. Search in Google Scholar

Wood, A. W. 2008. Kantian Ethics. Cambridge. Search in Google Scholar

Yovel, Y. 1980. Kant and the Philosophy of History. New Jersey. Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2020-08-25
Published in Print: 2020-09-25

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston