XI KANT KONGRESS, XI Congresso Kantiano Internazionale

The Idea of Immortality as an Imaginative Projection of an Indefinite Moral Future

Stephen R Palmquist

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


Kant famously includes immortality as one of three “ideas of reason” that constitute the basic subject matter of metaphysics. Yet unlike the other two ideas (God and freedom), he says very little about what immortality actually means. I examine three key exceptions, comprising Kant’s theory of immortality. First, the limits of knowledge presented in the first Critique prevent us from affirming any theoretical truths about the soul, including whether we will somehow survive our body’s death. Second, the requirements of practical reason explored in the second Critique require us to “postulate” a future life, despite our theoretical ignorance. Third, the power of imagination that takes center stage in the third Critique and in Religion within the Bounds of Bare Reason justifies us in picturing an indefinite future life (or series of lives) – portrayed at one point as an ever-decreasing dependence on our physical nature – that inspires hope of becoming good.