In the second edition Preface of Religion Within the Bounds of Bare Reason Kant responds to an anonymous review of the first edition. We present the first English translation of this obscure book review. Following our translation, we summarize the reviewer's main points and evaluate the adequacy of Kant's replies to five criticisms, including two replies that Kant provides in footnotes added in the second edition. A key issue is the reviewer's claim that Religion adopts an implied standpoint, described using transcendental terminology. Kant could have avoided much confusion surrounding Religion, had he taken this review more seriously. We therefore respond to three objections that Kant failed to address: how the Wille–Willkür distinction enables the propensity to evil to be viewed as coexisting with freedom of choice; how moral improvement is possible, even though the propensity to evil is necessary and universal; and how a ‘deed’ can be regarded as ‘noumenal’.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Moral interpretation of scripture
- Propensity to evil
- Religion Within the bounds of bare reason
- Wille and Willkür