Luca Fonnesu

Kant on Private Faith and Public Knowledge

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The paper deals with the epistemic status of faith in Kant's thought taking account of the first "Critique" and of the logical "corpus" of notes and lectures on logic. In Kant's view, the concepts of having an opinion, knowing and believing are (with conviction and persuasion) forms of his basic epistemic notion, the holding-to-be-true, a neologism used in the "Critique" and in other writings, but always discussing moral faith. The main character of faith, in comparison with knowledge, is the lack of communicability. Like persuasion, faith is an irreducible subjective, private experience. In the "Critique of Judgment" the 'subjectivity' of judgments is no more identified with their 'privateness', and Kant proposes for the judgment on beauty a subjective universality grounded upon its communicability. "Aufklärung" is therefore in Kant's view grounded upon communicable experiences such as knowledge and aesthetic culture, not upon the private experience of faith, which is certainly important for the individual but which has to face many risks, owing to its privateness.


  • Kant
  • Belief
  • Faith
  • Philosophy of Religion


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