Publication Date



In his review of my book, Terry Godlove raises some robust objections to the exegesis of Kant that I present in my recent book, Kant and the Creation of Freedom: a Theological Problem (Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 2013). I respond to these criticisms in this article. Properly to locate Godlove’s exegetical objections, I dedicate the first section to setting out the arc of the argument I trace. I then set out and treat in turn Godlove’s main objections to my exegesis: that it depends upon an interpretation of transcendental idealism which makes the doctrine ‘flatly inconsistent and probably just silly’; that I neglect the most plausible account interpretation of Kant’s various statements about transcendental idealism; and that I ‘pick and choose’ supporting texts too narrowly, leading to an unbalanced presentation, which is too convenient to my thesis. I conclude with some general methodological reflections—stimulated by Godlove, but not aimed at him—about how historical philosophical texts are often treated. I express some anxieties about the principle of charity that underlies much current exegesis, and ‘rational reconstruction’ of historical texts, and I propose a case for what might be called ‘creative decomposition’ (not of the text, but of the self).


Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry

Document Type

Journal Article

Access Rights

ERA Access

Access may be restricted.