Publication: The two parts of Kant's moral religion
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Why in the Critique of Practical Reason is moral religion presented as a doctrine of the postulates of pure practical reason, of which Christian morality, considered as a philosophical doctrine, is an illustration, whereas in the Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason moral religion is ultimately identified with a particular moral interpretation of the religious dogmas of Christianity? In this essay, I propose to answer this question by examining a thesis of Kant’s that has scarcely been considered. This is the thesis that, as with other philosophical disciplines, moral religion consists of a pure part and an applied part. The reasons for the bipartite division of moral religion—confirmed also by the findings of Kant’s third Critique—not only provide a direct, explicit, and maybe sufficient answer to the question posed, but also shed light on the role of Christianity in Kant’s conception of religion.