How Should We Understand Kant’s Panentheism?


Author: MA Biao, Associate Professor, School of Marxism, Nanjing Agricultural University.


It is widely recognized that Immanuel Kant grappled with three fundamental questions: religion, knowledge, and ethics, and he endeavored to find resolutions for them. However, when compared to the latter two, Kant’s inquiry into religion appears relatively underdeveloped. Some scholars have interpreted Kant as a deist, but this interpretation often overlooks the comprehensive structure of Kant’s theology, the evolution of his theism in his pre-critical philosophy, and his early critical philosophy.

On the other hand, some have classified Kant as a panentheist, yet it would be an oversimplification to confine his position solely to moral panentheism. By examining elements such as human limitations, disciplinary competition, and the religious underpinnings of logic and time in Kant’s later critical philosophy, we can discern that Kant’s religious stance is not merely a static acceptance of truth derived from rational theology. Instead, it represents a dynamic interplay between revelation and reason. To some extent, a dialogical panentheism is a more fitting characterization of Kant’s philosophy of religion.


Kant, Deism, Theism, Panentheism

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