Kant on the Relations between Church and State: An Introduction to the Special Edition

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Anna Tomaszewska


This introduction is divided into two parts. First, drawing on Paul Guyer’s suggestion that we should turn to Kant to reinvestigate the foundations of religious liberty, I outline Kant’s views on the relations between the ethical (‘church’) and the political (‘state’) community, as presented in Part Three of the Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, focusing in particular on his arguments for separation between religion and the state. Examining critically the idea to employ Kant in contemporary debates, I claim that Kant’s account of pure moral faith and the church as its ‘vehicle’ may pose difficulties for any argument for religious liberty that appeals to his thought. For Kant is better equipped to offer resources to overcome rather than to accommodate the fact of so-called “moral pluralism,” i.e. the condition in which the principle of religious liberty can find its application. In the second part, I summarise the arguments of the authors who contribute to this volume: D. Jakušić, W. Kozyra, S. Lo Re, G.E. Michalson Jr., and S.R. Palmquist.


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Tomaszewska, Anna. 2020. “Kant on the Relations Between Church and State: An Introduction to the Special Edition”. Diametros 17 (65):1-11. https://doi.org/10.33392/diam.1652.
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In this volume, Kant’s works are cited on the basis of the German Academy Edition in the following way: siglum, volume and page number. All sigla used here conform to the indications of the German Kant Society, specified in the website: http://www.kant-gesellschaft.de/en/ks/Hinweise_Autoren_2018.pdf [Accessed on 18 September 2020]. The lists of references inform about the translations of Kant’s works into English that each author refers to.

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Maclure J. (2017), “Towards a Political Theory of Secularism,” [in:] The Sources of Secularism. Enlightenment and Beyond, A. Tomaszewska, H. Hämäläinen (eds.), Palgrave Macmillan, New York: 21–33.

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Palmquist S.R. (2017), “Kant’s Model for Building the True Church: Transcending ‘Might Makes Right’ and ‘Should Makes Good’ through the Idea of a Non-Coercive Theocracy,” Diametros 54: 76–94.

Palmquist S.R. (2019), Kant and Mysticism. Critique as the Experience of Baring All in Reason’s Light, Lexington Books, Lanham.

Tampio N. (2014), “Pluralism in the Ethical Community,” [in:] Kant’s Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason. A Critical Guide, G.E. Michalson (ed.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 175–192.

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