Moral Finitude and Ontology of Creation: The Kantian Interpretation of Gerhard Krüger
Philosophie und Moral in der Kantischen Kritik indisputably ranks among the most important interpretations of Kantianism. (Gerhard Krüger, Philosophie und Moral in der Kantischen Kritik (1931), Tübingen (Germany): Mohr Siebeck; 2nd edition 1967. Hereafter referred to as: Philosophie und Moral. This study (first published in Archives de philosophie, volume 74–1, spring 2011) has the modest goal to set out the main elements of Krüger’s interpretation, which, in our time, has become widely and somewhat unjustly forgotten. (I thank the editors for granting me the permission to republish this text.) Krüger’s book makes for an arduous and, at times, abstruse construction. Only its main motives can be taken up in this essay, which may entail ignoring other major elements, such as Kant’s moral formalism, for example. I will also refer to the article by Krüger entitled “Der Maßstab der kantischen Kritik,” Kantstudien, XXIX, 1934, pp. 156–187 (hereafter referred to as: Maßstab), which contains the better portion of the theses set out in his Kantbuch.) However, it is also a singularly disconcerting and bewildering work that offers a totally original view of Kant . According to Gerhard Krüger, Kant was the last defender of natural theology (which, in his time, was threatened by the latent if not overt atheism of the Aufklärung) rather than one of the most illustrious representatives of the Enlightenment. From this perspective, moral law and autonomy, which are without doubt the key points of Kant’s philosophy, were the essential and transformative experiences of obedience to God rather than the affirmation of a self-referring subjectivity no longer concerned with looking beyond the inherent law of its freedom. Likewise, the world was the primitive given that consecrated man’s dependence on his Creator rather than a transcendental construction.