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This chapter suggests that rather than Kant being pulled toward either Christian orthodoxy or atheistic humanism, his strenuous wrestling with the notion of divine grace can draw both believer and agnostic toward recognition of the ultimate inexplicability of human action and character. It concentrates on Kant's treatment of the concept of divine grace, a much-contested concept in theology. Part One of Kant's Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason offers an elaborate analysis of what he calls the "radical evil" in human nature, thereby giving his interpretation of the doctrine of original sin. The chapter presents an overview of Judeo-Christian conceptions of grace, to compare and contrast with Kant's treatment. It explores the relation between Kant's treatment of grace and the Christian tradition with which he wrestles with a striking combination of sympathy and skepticism. Finally, it explores why Kant felt the need to invoke the concept of divine grace.
This chapter reassesses the importance of scientific interests and concepts in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's career. It argues that the conventional portrait of Rousseau as a dilettante and critic of science proceeds from a biased view of scientific activity based on the present style of science as a highly specialized activity of professional researchers. When contextualized against the background of the ways and manners of scientific practices in eighteenth-century France, Rousseau can be described as a typical amateur, who participated in a number of scientific networks. As printed culture proliferated during the Enlightenment, a large number of scientific treatises circulated, which claimed to provide elementary notions in mathematics, astronomy, physics, or chemistry in more or less academic or entertaining styles. Finally, the chapter shows that Rousseau's practice of science had a significant impact on his major works.
Kant's Observations of 1764 and Remarks of 1764–5 (a set of fragments written in the margins of his copy of the Observations) document a crucial turning point in his life and thought. Both reveal the growing importance for him of ethics, anthropology and politics, but with an important difference. The Observations attempts to observe human nature directly. The Remarks, by contrast, reveals a revolution in Kant's thinking, largely inspired by Rousseau, who 'turned him around' by disclosing to Kant the idea of a 'state of freedom' (modelled on the state of nature) as a touchstone for his thinking. This and related thoughts anticipate such famous later doctrines as the categorical imperative. This collection of essays by leading Kant scholars illuminates the many and varied topics within these two rich works, including the emerging relations between theory and practice, ethics and anthropology, men and women, philosophy, history and the 'rights of man'.