Document Type

Journal Article

Department/Unit

Department of Religion and Philosophy

Title

What is Kantian Gesinnung? On the priority of volition over metaphysics and psychology in religion within the bounds of bare reason

Abstract

Kant’s enigmatic term Gesinnung baffles many readers of Religion within the Bounds of Bare Reason. This study clarifies the notion in Kant’s theories of both general moral decision-making and specifically religious conversion. It is argued that Kantian Gesinnung is volitional, referring to a person’s principle-based choice to live a certain way. More specifically, interpreted as principled ‘conviction’, Kantian Gesinnung is a religiously manifested, moral form of Überzeugung (‘convincing’). This is confirmed by a detailed analysis of the 169 occurrences of Gesinnung and cognate words in Religion. It contrasts with what is suggested by translating Gesinnung as ‘disposition’, which reinforces a tendency to interpret the notion more metaphysically, and also with Pluhar’s translation as ‘attitude’, which has too strongly psychological connotations.

Publication Year

2015

Journal Title

Kantian Review

Volume number

20

Issue number

2

Publisher

Cambridge University Press

First Page (page number)

235

Last Page (page number)

264

Referreed

1

DOI

10.1017/S1369415415000035

ISSN (print)

13694154

Link to Publisher’s Edition

http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1369415415000035

Keywords

Immanuel Kant, religious conviction, disposition, attitude, belief

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