17th Annual Alvin Plantinga Fellow Lecture: "Divinity, Humanity, and the Ground of Morality"


Location: 138 DeBartolo Hall

Presented by Patrick Kain, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Purdue University and 2018-2019 Alvin Plantinga Fellow in the Center for Philosophy of Religion at Notre Dame.

Abstract: Immanuel Kant’s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals (1785) inspires and puzzles many attentive readers. One puzzle is that, in the midst of an analysis of a categorical imperative, Kant repeatedly alludes to the idea of a “divine” or “holy will,” not subject to imperatives. Other puzzles surround Kant's claim that the moral law must have a “ground” and that “humanity" is that ground. In response to some of these puzzles, I will sketch Kant's model of divine rational agency and argue that this model offers important clues about how humanity is supposed to ground the moral law. The upshot is a richer understanding of Kantian moral philosophy, and of how it can be grounded in human dignity and remain open to careful theological reflection.

A reception will follow from 5:00pm - 6:00pm in 117 Malloy Hall.