Le "besoin de la raison" dans les lettres sur la philosophie kantienne (1786-1787)
Is part ofKarl Leonhard Reinhold and the Enlightenment ; p. 161-180
When Kant in the fall of 1786 intervened in the Pantheism Controversy with his text “What does it Mean to Orient Oneself in Thinking?,” Reinhold had already published his two first Letters on the Kantian Philosophy. It goes without saying that in his subsequent Letters, Reinhold was somehow obliged to take into account the arguments introduced by Kant in the debate, and among others the theme of “the feeling of reason’s own need.” In this article, I examine the reasons why Reinhold tries to downplay, against Kant’s intention, the role of feeling in moral faith, while he stresses the importance of clear and distinct rational principles. It is argued that this suspicion about sensibility has to do with a rationalist heritage that can be best illustrated with the help of Reinhold’s conception of Enlightenment. Since both Kant and Reinhold had published in 1784 their respective points of view on Enlightenment, the confrontation of these two texts tends to confirm the difference already noted and provides at least a tentative explanation.