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New Perspectives for Kant Scholarship


Contemporary Kant scholarship maintains that Kant saw the human being as finite in principle and human reason as limited in principle. My research findings, though, demonstrate that this view cannot be sustained. Not only did Kant himself explicitly state the contrary in the Opus postumum but, as this research shows, at many systematically decisive points Kant's critical concept of reason goes far beyond its allegedly finite nature. In the Critique of Practical Reason, and in particular in its dialectics and the doctrine of postulates, Kant considered pure practical reason and 'God' as entities identical with one other and viewed the rational being (human) as ultimately non-finite.

This finding not only opens new perspectives for understanding Kant's critical concept of reason, but also offers a new approach to Kant's theory of the vocation of man (anthroponomy). Aside from the new insights into Kant's philosophical theology, it also becomes clear in Kant's religious philosophy that, according to Kant, religion is a self-relation of human being, erroneously taken as a relation of human being to an external entity.

Time will tell how Kant scholarship will respond to these findings over the coming years. I would like to encourage all researchers working in this field to continue this new approach to understanding Kant. Over the years of working so closely with Kant's writings and ideas, I gradually became convinced of the truth of my original suspicion that previous research had overlooked or even systematically ignored central and key aspects in understanding Kant's philosophy.

In some central areas of Kant's philosophy, there still remains much to discover. Future research has a lot to do here and I would be glad if my outline of a new approach to understanding Kantian philosophy leads to a critical, yet open and scholarly forum for debate.