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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

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Volume 101, Issue 2


Die Höllenfahrt der Selbsterkenntnis und der Weg zur Vergötterung bei Hamann und Kant

Jürgen Goldstein
Published Online: 2010-06-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/kant.2010.013


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.

Keywords:: philosophical anthropology – theological anthropology; self-knowledge; rationalism – irrationalism; self-determination – grace of god; the origion of evil; moral improvement

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Published Online: 2010-06-22

Published in Print: 2010-06-01

Citation Information: Kant-Studien, Volume 101, Issue 2, Pages 189–216, ISSN (Online) 1613-1134, ISSN (Print) 0022-8877, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/kant.2010.013.

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