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

Stephen R PALMQUIST*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-264
Number of pages30
JournalKantian Review
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Philosophy

User-Defined Keywords

  • attitude
  • belief
  • disposition
  • Immanuel Kant
  • religious conviction

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