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

Amit Kravitz

Abstract

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.

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

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