History Major Lucas Braley Published in Metamorphosis and Heading to Yale

Lucas Braley
Lucas Braley

Senior Lucas Braley has published a research paper on the rational theology of the German philosopher Immanuel Kant in the COPLAC undergraduate research journal Metamorphosis. The paper, “The Critical Faith: A Paper Concerning Kant’s Belief in God,” examines Kant’s rational theology and the development of his thought on God throughout his career. Associate Professor of History Nicholas Germana is Braley’s advisor, and first met him in his Topics in the History of Ideas course on 18th century aesthetics. “Lucas was immediately captivated by Kant’s critique of teleological reason,” Dr. Germana recalled, “which connected directly with his own interest in philosophical and theological questions and their relationship to modern science. … I was very impressed by his ability to penetrate some of Kant’s densest arguments, and I recall (with great satisfaction) the ‘Ah ha!’ moment when Lucas really came to grips with the profound significance of Kant’s transcendental deduction and its consequences for his views on theology and cosmology.”

It’s a fairly logical progression, then, for Braley, who is also president of the Keene Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the history honors society, to begin graduate work at the Yale Divinity School next fall. “I’m attending Yale Divinity School for two reasons,” he explained. “The first is my fascination with Kant’s rational theology, and the second is my intention to create a system of practical ethics suitable for the modern world and fully effective at every level of application (e.g., personal, familial, governmental decision-making, etc.) I hope to be a philosopher of ethics, a writer, and a communicator who can help those who truly wish to believe in God but find their reason getting in the way.”

Braley credits his independent study with Dr. Germana as the most significant factor in his success as an undergrad and in his acceptance to YDS. “Keene State College has done a good job of preparing me for life after graduation,” he said. “The one-on-one time that I got with my adviser was probably the best help I could have possibly hoped for, and the opportunity to have such a productive relationship—short of graduate-level work—is an exceptional feat for a department, college, or university.”