Faith, reason, and the limits of linguistic expression: An investigation of Søren Kierkegaard and Immanuel Kant
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There exists an apparent conflict or disjunction between religious faith and reason – one that manifests in a tangible way as a clash between secular and religious ways of looking at the world. When we contextualize this divide in terms of a philosophical dialogue between Søren Kierkegaard and Immanuel Kant, focusing on their respective accounts of reason and faith, the conflict doesn’t read as something absolutely unequivocal. There is some aspect of the faith-reason relation that must be given greater consideration. This thesis seeks to evaluate Kierkegaard’s view of faith as a response to that of Kant in order to find common ground with respect to their views of the limits of reason and the scope of faith. But, in the gradual process of focusing upon the role of language expression in their respective accounts, the implications for our view of the faith-reason relation become clearer. This investigation opens up a fresh perspective on how we can view this complex relation. It is a focused account that seeks to address what is an underdeveloped area in this specific field of philosophical research. It will show that, whilst there are conflicting standpoints to be found in Kierkegaard and Kant on some aspects of what is meant by both reason and faith, the problem to be addressed is fundamentally a shared one. That is to say, that the question over the limits of reason with respect to faith becomes a question over the limits of language. I argue that the disjunction can be viewed in terms of this issue. In order to move forward to a fuller understanding of the relation between faith and reason, a more robust account of the role of language in articulating ideas such as freedom, possibility, morality, and knowledge, within the context of individual faith, must be undertaken.