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I Introduction The myth and its source Does Kant reduce religion to morality Before answering this question we must clarify just what it means to reduce one idea or way of thinking to another What would it mean for someone to reduce religion to morality Reductionism can be understood in either a loose or a strict sense which we can call explanatory and eliminative reductionism respectively1 In the loose sense reductionism means explaining everything relevant to a given field of inquiry in terms of a single all-pervasive factor outside that field which is necessary to a proper understanding of that field For example proponents of a double aspect theory of the relationship between brain states and mental states might argue that every mental state is directly correlated to some brain state yet this would not require them to treat the two types of states as identical or to advocate the actual description of all mental states in terms of brain states Strict eliminative reductionists by contrast believe one special way of explaining something is not only necessary but self-sufficient so that it can actually replace or explain away all other possible explanations Proponents of strict reductionism would argue that all talk of mental states is pointless since nothing but brain states exists or has any value If we accept this distinction between explanatory and eliminative forms of reductionism then the question occupying our attention can be rephrased in two ways loosely Does Kant regard morality as the single explanatory factor in terms of which all that is necessary to religion can be explained and strictly Does Kant believe religion can be explained away as nothing but a special form of morality In other words does Kant think morality is necessary for all true religion and if so does he also think it is sufficient To many readers of Kant the answer to our question seems so ob- vious that they never bother even
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