Letter: Kant and God as the regulative Ideal

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The Independent Online
Sir: I have a bone to pick with my friend John Hick (letter, 9 August), who again associates me with Feuerbach and claims that something called 'critical realism' is possible.

That is not how I see the matter. I argue that the book which first began the present controversies, my Taking Leave of God (1980), was expressly Kantian in argument and vocabulary. It was Kant whose critical philosophy ended the old kind of metaphysical realism, and Kant who first argued that God should be regarded as a regulative Ideal.

I maintain that 'critical realism' is an oxymoron, because consistently critical thinking shows that we are always inside our own vocabularies and our own angle on the world. We should give up the idea that we can somehow jump right out of our own limitations and achieve absolute knowledge, while yet remaining ourselves.

Yours sincerely,


Emmanuel College


9 August