Philosophische Zeitschrift der Kant-Gesellschaft
Ed. by Baum, Manfred / Dörflinger, Bernd / Klemme, Heiner F.
CiteScore 2017: 0.31
SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.262
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.596
In the Metaphysics of Morals Kant repeats Hamann's remark that “only the descent into the hell of self-cognition can pave the way to godliness”. This article pursues the question what Kant and Hamann meant by a “descent into the hell of self-cognition” and a “way to godliness”. It will be shown that they share an affinity in their assessment that evil is rooted in humanity and that moral improvement is necessary, but that their views nevertheless differ significantly. For this reason Kant later distances himself from Hamann. Whereas Hamann's view is that the recognition of one's own depravity leads to an experience of one's dependence on God, with the consequence that the concept of godliness is understood as salvation through grace, Kant emphasizes the inscrutability of evil within us and calls for moral improvement through our own effort. In this way the divergent moral conceptions of the age of Enlightenment with their theological and philosophical aspects are reflected in the respective views of these two authors.