Exploring Insights from the Rational and the Sacred in Moral Action
Kant's Metaphysics of Morals and the Limits of Pure Reason
By Shahla Maghzi
Presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #46 (English)
Bosch Bahá'í School: California, US
May 1-4, 2003.
Presented Saturday, 17:00-18:00
The story of the "deep and still existing dichotomy between the rational
and the sacred"1 which arose during the Enlightenment, can be
seen reflected in the work of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). His compelling insights
into the necessity of a moral law, subsequent attempt to derive universal moral
law from a theory of categorical imperative, and final acknowledgement of the
limits of pure reason alone to achieve this aim, demonstrate the longing yet limits
of a purely rational approach to provide ultimate answers to questions of moral
definition and incentive. In response to the questions raised by Kant, the paper
will explore selections from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá'
as well as contemporary historians that address the relevance of thoughtful and tolerant inquiry into both rational and sacred insight as the foundation for cultivating knowledge and volition as a basis for moral action.
1 The Institute for Studies in Global Prosperity,
"Science, Religion and Development: Some Initial Considerations" (1997-2003).
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