Grounding Religious Toleration: Kant and Wolff on Dogmatic Conflict

Main Article Content

Dino Jakušić


This article examines Paul Guyer’s claim that we should attempt to ground the principle of religious freedom on the basis of Kant’s arguments for religious liberty. I problematise Guyer’s suggestion by investigating a hypothetical ‘dogmatic conflict’ between a scientifically and a religiously grounded belief. I further suggest that considering Christian Wolff’s philosophy might provide us with an approach which shares the benefits that Guyer identifies in Kant, while at the same time avoiding the issues Kant might run into that result from the occurrence of the dogmatic conflict. I start by providing a background to Wolff’s philosophy and explaining the notion of the dogmatic conflict. Then I present a potential contemporary case of the dogmatic conflict and try to see how it would be dealt with based on Guyer’s proposal. Finally, I consider what a Wolffian solution would look like, arguing that Guyer’s project might benefit from considering Wolff.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Jakušić, Dino. 2020. “Grounding Religious Toleration: Kant and Wolff on Dogmatic Conflict”. Diametros 17 (65):12-31.
Share |


Beiser F.C. (1987), The Fate of Reason: German Philosophy from Kant to Fichte, Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA.

Corr C.A. (1966), Order and Method in Christian Wolff’s Philosophy, Saint Louis University, Saint Louis MO.

Frketich E. (2019), “Wolff and Kant on the Mathematical Method,” Kant-Studien 110 (3): 333–356.

Gava G. (2018), “Kant, Wolff, and the Method of Philosophy,” [in:] Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy, Volume VIII, D. Garber, D. Rutherford (eds.), Oxford University Press, Oxford: 271–304.

Gómez-Tutor J.I. (2018), “Philosophiebegriff und Methode,” [in:] Handbuch Christian Wolff, R. Theis, A. Aichele (eds.), Springer VS, Wiesbaden: 73–92.

Guyer P. (2018), “Mendelssohn, Kant, and Religious Liberty,” Kant-Studien 109 (2): 309–328.

Kant I. (1793/1996a), Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, trans. A.W. Wood, G. di Giovanni, [in:] I. Kant, Religion and Rational Theology, Cambridge University Press, New York: 39–215.

Kant I. (1798/1996b), The Conflict of the Faculties, trans. M.J. Gregor, R. Anchor, [in:] I. Kant, Religion and Rational Theology, Cambridge University Press, New York: 233–327.

Kant I. (2007), Critique of Pure Reason, trans. N. Kemp Smith, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.

Marschke B. (2015), “Pietism and Politics in Prussia and Beyond,” [in:] A Companion to German Pietism, 1660-1800, D. Shantz (ed.), Brill, Leiden: 472–526.

McCaskill N.D. (2016), “Sabàto, after RNC speech, says Obama ‘absolutely’ a Muslim,” Politico, 18 July, URL = [Accessed: 31.07.2020].

Palmquist S. (1992), “Does Kant Reduce Religion to Morality?,” Kant-Studien 83 (2): 129–148.

Schönfeld M. (2002), “German Philosophy after Leibniz,” [in:] A Companion to Early Modern Philosophy, S. Nadler (ed.), Blackwell Publishing: 545–561.

Schwaiger R. (2018), “Ethik,” [in:] Handbuch Christian Wolff, R. Theis, A. Aichele (eds.), Springer VS, Wiesbaden: 253–268.

Strauss V. (2019), “Does the Bill Just Passed by the Ohio House Allow Students to Be Wrong in Science Class without Penalty if They Cite Religious Reasons?,” The Washington Post, 16 November, URL = [Accessed: 05.02.2020].

Theis R. (2011), “‘Ut & scias, & credas, quae simul sciri & credi possunt’: Aspekte der Wolffschen Theologie,” Aufklärung 23: 17–39.

Theis R. (2018), “Theologie,” [in:] Handbuch Christian Wolff, R. Theis, A. Aichele (eds.), Springer VS, Wiesbaden: 219–250.

Wolff C. (1713), Vernünfftige Gedancken von den Kräfften des menschlichen Verstandes und ihrem richtigen Gebrauche in Erkäntniß der Wahrheit, Rengerische Buchhandlung, Halle.

Wolff C. (1735), Philosophia rationalis sive Logica, methodo scientifica pertractata, Dionysius Ramanzini, Verona.

Wolff C. (1738), Theologia naturalis, methodo scientifica pertractata. Pars prior, Dionysius Ramanzini, Verona.

Wolff C. (1963), Preliminary Discourse on Philosophy in General, trans. R.J. Blackwell, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., Indianapolis.

Wolff C. (1733/2010), Reasonable Thoughts About the Actions of Men, for the Promotion of Their Happiness, trans. J.B. Schneewind, [in:] Moral Philosophy from Montaigne to Kant, J.B. Schneewind (ed.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 331–350.

Wolff C. (2017), The Law of Nations Treated According to the Scientific Method, trans. J.H. Drake, Liberty Fund, Inc., Carmel IN.