The latest monograph by Dr Edward Kanterian, Reader in the Department of Philosophy – ‘Kant, God and Metaphysics: The Secret Thorn’ (Abingdon, Routledge, 2017) – has been reviewed by The British Journal for the History of Philosophy and the Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
Kant is widely acknowledged as the greatest philosopher of modern times. He undertook a famous critical turn to save human freedom and morality from the challenge of determinism and materialism. He believed that man is a fallen creature and in need of ‘redemption’, and intended to provide a fortress protecting religious faith from the failure of rationalist metaphysics, from the atheistic strands of the Enlightenment, from the new mathematical science of nature, and from the dilemmas of Christian theology itself. Kant was an epistemologist, a philosopher of mind, while upholding his own religious faith.
The book aims to recover the focal point and inner contradictions of his thought, the ‘secret thorn’ of his metaphysics (as Heidegger once put it). It takes its cue from an older approach to Kant, but also engages with recent Anglophone and continental scholarship, and deploys modern analytical tools to make sense of Kant. What emerges is an innovative and thought-provoking interpretation of Kant’s metaphysics, set against the background of forgotten religious aspects of European philosophy.
‘In Kant, God and Metaphysics: The Secret Thorn, [Kanterian] examines Kant’s early work, up to around 1770, to demonstrate that Kant was firmly embedded in the eighteenth century, and especially in the German, broadly Protestant, philosophy of that age’ the British Journal review states, ‘Kanterian challenges the common assumption that Kant is closer to us than to his own age’.
In the Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, the review states ‘Kanterian’s book deserves much praise for showing the centrality of religious and theological themes in Kant’s pre-critical works and generally in the debates in early modern metaphysics that Kant engaged with.’
Dr Todd Mei, Head of the Department of Philosophy, writes: ‘I have always had the suspicion that the intriguing yet problematic role of God in Kant’s philosophy is tied up with how Kant’s metaphysics can be understood as either dualistic or not. Edward’s book is a hugely significant achievement in the area of Kant scholarship, and what I find most impressive is his ability to engage with both the analytic and continental traditions of philosophy. What more could you ask for when investigating the thought of a monumental figure in the history of philosophy?’