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This chapter discusses the relationship between constructivism and religious ethics by focusing specifically on the form of constructivism that has been attributed to Immanuel Kant. It suggests that John Rawls’s constructivist reading of Kant faces challenges in terms of its own coherence and also in terms of its appeal for religious ethics. The chapter argues that Kant’s own account of morality actually differs from Rawls’s reading, for while Kant does give significant emphasis to autonomy, he does not claim that morality is a construction or human creation. It also suggests that the constructivism Rawls attributes to Kant seems both incoherent on its own terms and hard to square with theism. In addition to concerns about incoherence, this model of Kantian constructivism is also hard to reconcile with forms of theism that would understand God to share in any kind of moral community with human beings.


Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry

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Book Chapter

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