Kantian Antitheodicy: Philosophical and Literary Varieties by Sami Pihlström, Sari Kivistö

By Sami Pihlström, Sari Kivistö

This booklet defends antitheodicism, arguing that theodicies, looking to excuse God for evil and anguish on this planet, fail to ethically recognize the sufferers of pain. The authors argue for this view utilizing literary and philosophical assets, starting with Immanuel Kant’s 1791 “Theodicy Essay” and its studying of the ebook of task. 3 very important 20th century antitheodicist positions are explored, together with “Jewish” post-Holocaust moral antitheodicism, Wittgensteinian antitheodicism exemplified by means of D.Z. Phillips and pragmatist antitheodicism defended via William James. The authors argue that those methods to evil and discomfort are essentially Kantian. Literary works comparable to Franz Kafka’s The Trial, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, are tested that allows you to crucially strengthen the philosophical case for antitheodicism.

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2 Kantian Antitheodicism and Job’s Sincerity 39 Kant argued that the discourse of the friends would probably be successful and persuasive in front of synods, official councils and other religious institutions which support traditional, theoretical, and rational accounts of faith, and he contrasted these official statements with Job’s drastically different and authentic personal experience. The friends represent theologians who are misled by the tradition and its false beliefs and theological propositions.

Especially after the Second World War, critics have emphasized that narrative means can be ethically problematic in trying to make sense of individual suffering. , stories of the bad fate of the wicked or the hope of the virtuous) fail to do justice to Job’s present and particular situation, his authentic experience—his testimony, so to speak—and deny his own considerations of his condition. Job sees no narrative whole or conclusion that would relieve or explain his condition, but merely purposeless repetition, relentless pain and suffering for no reason.

It is right here that Kant turns to the Book of Job, where he claims to find such an authentic interpretation allegorically expressed, thus turning to literature in order to proceed with his philosophical argument. Job and His Friends The arguments against theodicies that Kant puts forward in the first half of his essay are very brief and hardly fully convincing from the point of view of someone like, for instance, Leibniz. However, the moral tone of the arguments is much more important. They are hardly intended as any apodictic demonstrations of the falsity of metaphysical theodicies in the first place.

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