XI KANT KONGRESS, XI Congresso Kantiano Internazionale

Kant and Dembski on Intelligent Design, Artistic Wisdom, and the Problem of Theodicy

Larry Lee Blackman

Edificio: Palazzo dei Congressi
Sala: sala Pacinotti
Data: 25 maggio 2010 - 17:00
Ultima modifica: 16 aprile 2010


In "Making the Task of Theodicy Impossible? Intelligent Design and the Problem of Evil", William A. Dembski claims that, in his 1791 essay, "On the Failure of All Attempted Philosophical Theodicies", Immanuel Kant laid the basis for a successful theodicy on empirical grounds, the key component of which is the notion of "God's artistic wisdom". Dembski sees at least a similarity between such "artistic wisdom" and the "intelligent design" believed by some contemporary thinkers to be revealed in nature. In this paper I try to show that, at a fundamental level, Dembski has misunderstood Kant. Rather, Kant held that a successful theodicy could only be established a priori. Dembski's misunderstanding is due to his failure to take seriously Kant's conceptual distinctions, first, between an architect and God, second, between artistic and moral wisdom, and, third, between theoretical (or speculative) and practical reason.