Monday, January 16, 2012

Discontinuity of the Self in Justification: Kant's Take.

Here's a citation from McGrath's book on Justification. It's his description of Kant's understanding of Justification. Does this sound like anyone we know? (I'm giving a paper on him at the symposium, hint, hint!):

"Kant’s solution to this difficulty [the problem of guilt] is, in fact, apparently irreconcilable with the general principles upon which his moral philosophy is based, particularly the axiom that an individual is responsible for his own moral actions.  No individual can be good on behalf of another, nor can the goodness of a morally outstanding individual be permitted to remove the guilt of another.  The basis of Kant’s rejection of the concept of vicarious satisfaction (stellvertretende Genugthuung) is the principle that guilt, like merit, is strictly non-transferable.  It is therefore remarkable that Kant’s solution to the difficulty noted above is based on the assertion that the individual who turns away from his evil disposition to adopt a good disposition may be regarded as having become a different person: the old disposition is moralisch ein anderer from the new.  The discontinuity between the old and new disposition is such that Kant denies that they may be predicated of the same moral individual.  This conclusion appears to rest upon the assumption that the disposition itself is the only acceptable basis of establishing the identity of the moral agent.  Having established this point, Kant takes the remarkable step of asserting that the new disposition ‘takes the place’ (vertritt) of the old in respect of the guilt which is rightly attached to the latter disposition."


  1. Why, this shows that like all German philosophers Kant was influenced by Luther. Sometimes it makes you wonder if some of the philosophers understood Luther (as epitomised in his Bondage of the Will) better than the Lutheran scholastics ...

  2. Actually Luther's simul fits better with a patristic understanding of person and nature (essence) ... the Ego (I) is "transcendental" ... it is not reducible to self-consciousness (self-identity) and empirical experience ... in other words, soul and person are not identical ...if it were then the Incarnation would not be an incarnation, i.e. a *hypostatic* union since the human soul would make a human *person*.

    The Ego or person is a unique mode of existence ... being a person (and having personhood) is something wholly external ... extra nos ... The creative Word in, with and through natural propagation ... this is the meaning creaturehood and creatureliness ... our existence depends on Another ... ultimately on the creative and effective Word ...

  3. The New Adam corresponds to the transcendental I and the Old Adam to the empirical I (bound to sinful nature in a communicatio idiomatum)... hence, justification by *faith* alone ...

  4. I watched the video of your presentation at the Symposia. It was very good. I may have to buy your dissertation now. Any news on the book?

    On my way to Lutheranism, I spent a good amount of time reading Forde. I have read just about all of his books including the section in Braaten/Jenson that he wrote.

  5. This sounds like NT Wright too. Wright denies the imputation of Christ's righteousness to the believer.