Address: office 1410a, 17 Naberezhnaya Severnoy Dviny, Arkhangelsk, 163002, Russian Federation, Northern (Arctic) Federal University named after M.V. Lomonosov

Phone: (818-2) 28-76-18


Freedom, Necessity and Duty in the Phenomenal and Noumenal Worlds in M. Luther’s Teaching and I. Kant’s Ethics. P. 122–131

Версия для печати

Section: Philosophy, Sociology, Politology




Natal’ya V. Eremeeva
Saint Petersburg State University; Mendeleevskaya liniya 5, St. Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation;


This paper analyses the concept of duty in the works by Martin Luther and Immanuel Kant. There is a widespread opinion in the Russian historical and philosophical tradition that Kant’s philosophy is nonreligious. However, when it comes to the issues of duty, necessity and freedom, Luther’s reformation teaching and Kant’s ethics should not be set in opposition, as it would only complicate the understanding of the heart of the matter. On the contrary, if we look at the history of the formation of Protestant ethics, we can find a line of continuity between Luther and Kant. It is obvious that their moral views are based on the anthropological ideas of Aurelius Augustine, and the purpose of this article is to shed some light on the line of continuity stretching from Apostle Paul’s antinomic theology to Saint Augustine and Luther and, indirectly, to Kant in the framework of the doctrine of freedom and will. Applying textual analysis as the scientific method in this paper, the author identifies similarities, including contextual ones, in Luther’s and Kant’s use of the concept of duty and concludes that in its development from Luther to Kant this concept has been a marker of Protestant ethics and, to a certain extent, a common place for any spiritual and cultural space whose moral tenets are determined by Protestantism. In terms of theory, this paper contributes to the development of ideas about the relationship between Protestantism and German classical philosophy. In practice, its results can be used in elaborating problems of religious studies, history of philosophy and ethics, as well as in compiling and teaching general and special courses on the history of philosophy, ethics and religious studies at universities.


Martin Luther, Immanuel Kant, concept of duty, phenomenal world, noumenal world
Download (pdf, 4.1MB )


1. Solov’ev E. Proshloe tolkuet nas: (Ocherki po istorii filosofii i kul’tury) [The Past Interprets Us: (Essays on the History of Philosophy and Culture)]. Moscow, 1991. 432 p. Available at: (accessed 5 September 2017).
2. Anderson P.S., Bell J. Kant and Theology. London, 2010. 132 p.
3. Maler A.M. Transtsendental’naya teologiya Kanta [Kant’s Transcendental Theology]. Materialy Mezhdunarodnogo kongressa, posvyashchennogo 280-letiyu so dnya rozhdeniya i 200-letiyu so dnya smerti Immanuila Kanta [Proc. Int. Congr. Dedicated to Immanuel Kant’s 280th Birthday Anniversary and Bicentenary of His Death]. Moscow, 2005, pp. 89–98. Available at: (accessed 5 September 2017).
4. Kent B.D. Virtues of the Will: the Transformation of Ethics in the Late Thirteenth Century. Washington, D.C., 1995. 270 p.
5. Losev A.F. <Konspekt po istorii filosofii> [<Synopsis on the History of Philosophy>]. Available at: http://old. (accessed 5 September 2017).
6. Hägglund B. Trons mönster: en handledning i dogmatik. 1982 (Russ. ed.: Khegglund B. Model’ very. St. Petersburg, 1999. 160 p.).
7. Raunio A. Summe des christlichen Lebens: Die „Golden Regel“ als Gesetz der Liebe in der Theologie Martin Luthers von 1510–1527. Mainz, 2001. 400 p.
8. Hägglund B. Teologins historia: En dogmhistorisk översikt. Lund, 1956. 360 p. (Russ. ed.: Khegglund B. Istoriya teologii: Rukovodstvo po dogmatike. St. Petersburg, 2001. 370 p.).
9. Sedestrem Kh. Razlichie very razuma i tserkovnoy very u Kanta kak nasledie Martina Lyutera [The Difference Between the Faith of Reason and the Church Faith in Kant’s Works as a Legacy of Martin Luther]. VERBUM: al’manakh Tsentra izucheniya srednevekovoy kul’tury. 2013. Vyp. 15. Reformatsiya Martina Lyutera v gorizonte evropeyskoy filosofii i kul’tury [VERBUM: Almanac of the Centre for the Study of Mediaeval Culture. 2013. Iss. 15. Martin Luther’s Reformation in the Horizon of European Philosophy and Culture]. Pp. 158–173.
10. Ozment S.E. Homo Spiritualis. A Comparative Study of the Anthropology of Johannes Tauler, Jean Gerson and Martin Luther (1509–16) in the Context of Their Theological Thought. Tübingen, 1972. 210 p.
11. Herzstein R. The Phenomenology of Freedom in the German Philosophical Tradition: Kantian Origins. J. Value Inq., 1967, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 47–63.