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Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book, 5 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Kant and the Creation of Freedom: A Theological Problem (Changing Paradigms in Historical and Systematic Theology) (Hardcover)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was very impressed by the breadth and depth of the scholarship. Its thesis is that along with Kant's epistemological concerns an interest in freedom was partly responsible for generating his mature philosophy. This is, I think, an under appreciated fact amongst non-specialists in Kant. All we usually hear about is the revolutionary first Critique so this is an important thesis and opened my eyes to a major side of Kant's whole project.

The book also unearths the theological background to Kant's thinking that shapes the problem he is tackling: how humans can be free given they relate to a god. In tracing the dimensions of this problem and Kant's changing thinking about it, Insole provides exegetical illumination over a very wide range of texts (some from the German), accounts for chronology and shifts in Kant's thought, and offers careful reconstruction of the arguments. It is very impressive scholarship: incisive and insightful, dealing with manifold of primary literature, opening up new aspects and nuances of Kant's thought. It also, I felt, rehabilitates Kant within theology; as recent theology has been unfair to Kant in various ways. This was again very helpful as it not only offers a case study in the theological nature/elements of enlightenment philosophy but also offers a more nuanced picture of Kant than his famous attack on the proofs for God's existence suggests.

A favourite part of the book for me was the handling of Trendlenberg's 'neglected alternative', which Insole shows to be not so much neglected as intentionally refused by Kant because it falls foul not so much of Kant's epistemological concerns as his interest in freedom. For those not so into Kant but interested in theology, the later chapters discussing different versions of the relation between divine and human will, causation and freedom offers fascinating reading and masterly summaries of a great deal of complex material. The material is highly controlled throughout; the argument moves along at a good pace, neither too slow nor too fast. The writing is very clear as is the structure of the argument, so despite the subtlety of the material I never felt lost. Highly recommended.
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