By Stephen R. Palmquist
Before I respond to the four essays that have each offered valuable feedback on my Comprehensive Commentary on Kant’s ‘Religion within the Bounds of Bare Reason‘ (hereafter CCKR), a meta-critical question calls for an answer: Why was yet another commentary on Kant’s book, Religion within the Bounds of Bare Reason (hereafter RGV), needed in 2015, given the unprecedented fact that each of the three previous years had seen the publication of a commentary on the same book? The short answer is that work on my commentary began several years before James DiCenso (2012), Lawrence Pasternack (2013), or Eddis Miller (2014) embarked on their own versions of such a project. After completing work on Kant’s Critical Religion in 2000 (Palmquist 2000), I initially planned to move directly into full-time work on Kant’s Critical Science, volume three in my planned Kant’s System of Perspectives series. However, I put that plan on hold a few years later, after I realised that Kant’s Critical Religion, despite its length, only scratched the surface of numerous issues relating to Kant’s theory of religion—especially various textual complexities in RGV. Moreover, some critics of Kant’s Critical Religion, even among those who agreed with my overall claim—namely, that Kant was attempting to affirm and even bolster Christianity (albeit in a significantly reformed interpretation)—tended to misconstrue and therefore reject key arguments I had sketched. Clearly, more work needed to be done if the scholarly community was to be convinced that anything like the position I defended there was accurate.