Immanuel Kant

Immanuel Kant was one of the most influential philosophers in the history of Western philosophy . His great contributions to metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics have had a profound impact on the area of ​​philosophy. He was a German-born philosopher whose comprehensive and systematic work in epistemology , ethics, and aesthetics greatly influenced all later philosophy, especially the various schools of Kantianism and idealism . Kant was one of the main thinkers of the Enlightenmentand he was one of the greatest philosophers of all time. It included new trends that had begun with the rationalism of René Descartes and the empiricism of Francis Bacon and it was in this way that a new era in the development of philosophical thought began.

  • When was he born:  04/22/1724
  • Where he was born:  Königsberg, Germany
  • When he died:  02/12/1804
  • Where he died:  Königsberg, Germany

Who was Immanuel Kant?

He was a famous Prussian philosopher considered one of the most important representatives in the area of philosophy during the period of the Enlightenment.

  • Immanuel Kant Biography
  • Thought of Immanuel Kant
  • Contributions
  • Immanuel Kant’s ethical theory
  • Postulates
  • Critical method
  • Pedagogy
  • Moral
  • Religion
  • Plays
  • Immanuel Kant Quotes

Immanuel Kant Biography

Immanuel Kant was born in Königsberg , today known as Kaliningrad , on April 22, 1724. He was the son of a craftsman named Johann Georg Kant and Anna Regina Reuter . He lived under a strong religious discipline, which served him in his studies at the University of Königsberg, where he entered and found his passion for philosophy , mathematics and science . After the death of his father, he had to find a way to earn his living, but it also served as a springboard to start his immense intellectual creation.

15 years of his life were dedicated to working as a professor at the university and giving lectures , which in turn served to give him a good reputation as an original philosopher. In 1770 he was a professor at the university, when he was given work as a professor of logic and metaphysics .

Kant suffered from some kind of degenerative disease, which some historians think was Alzheimer’s , became seriously ill and died on February 12, 1804 in the city of Königsberg. His tomb is in the Cathedral of present-day Kaliningrad. Major air raids during World War II destroyed the tomb, but it was later rebuilt.

Thought of Immanuel Kant

Immanuel Kant’s thought was a synthesis of the three main philosophical currents that have existed in the Modern Age : rationalism , empiricism and enlightenment . His thinking was based on three basic questions, what should I do , what can I know, and what am I allowed to expect . To the first question he gave a moral answer, to the second a critique of reason with respect to human knowledge and the third, he answered it with religious aspects.


In the field of science, one of his best-known contributions is the Nebular Theory, also known as Kant and Laplace’s theory, which proposes to explain the formation of the solar system as coming from a huge disk-shaped cloud of gas and dust, in which agglomerations of material formed that formed the Sun towards the center, and the planets as clumps of matter accumulated in different places.

Furthermore, Immanuel Kant constituted the idea that the world, the sun and all the planets are complementary to each other.

Immanuel Kant’s ethical theory

His ethical theory was based on the difference between good and evil , since for him this was real. According to Immanuel Kant, all human beings have the ability to reason through situations and determine if something is good or if something is morally wrong. The practical reason is part of morality and freedom was important because part of it is the ability to act morally, because without the ability to choose can be no moral obligation .


Kant’s postulates to achieve the highest good were the following:

  • Freedom : men have the need for freedom.
  • Immortality of the soul : when the highest good is achieved, holiness is achieved.
  • The existence of God : necessary to achieve happiness even if we do not know if it actually exists.

Critical method

Kant believed in the critique of pure reason that was capable of providing the principles of a priori knowledge. This pure reason had the principles by which we could know things and that the principles did not depend on experience, but it was experience that determined the principles.


For Immanuel Kant, man is the only creature to be educated. He says that education is an art and that it needs to be reasoned so that it can reach its destiny. Children should not be educated according to the present, but thinking about the future . He thought that through education man should be disciplined , cultivated , precise and prudent adapting to human society. Morality was also an important part of pedagogy and he believed that education could be public or private, while both were educated for life. The Pedagogy or theory of education is a physical or practical theory and that practical or moral education was the key through which the individual had to be formed to be able to live, as a being that acts freely .


Kant’s moral theory revolves around the idea that acting morally and acting in accordance with reason are the same. By virtue of being a rational agent , one is obliged to follow the moral law that practical reason prescribes. When the opposite is done then man acts irrationally. Because Kant places his emphasis on the duty to be a rational agent who has knowledge of the moral law, Kant’s theory is considered a form of deontology .


Despite the fact that Immanuel Kant was a theist , he criticized the arguments about the existence of God. He rejected the ontological argument , because he thought that existence is not a predicate and that there was no ontological proof of the existence of God. At present his objection is regarded as the strongest objection to the ontological argument, which counts decisively against it. But he also made a positive contribution to religion through a moral argument that proved the existence of God and which was based on terms of justice , in which he told us that morality could be a rational enterprise only if goodnessit had a reward and evil was punished , and that these two things were only possible only if there is a God ; and that therefore there is a God.


Immanuel Kant’s works are divided into two important periods known as the pre-critical and the critical. In the pre-critical period we can mention the following works:

  • Thoughts on the true value of living forces
  • Over the fire
  • General natural history and theory of the sky
  • New elucidation of the first principles of metaphysical knowledge
  • The false subtlety of the four syllogistic figures
  • The only possible foundation for a demonstration of the existence of God
  • Research on the distinction of the principles of natural and moral theology
  • Observations about the feeling of the beautiful and the sublime.
  • Dreams of a visionary, commented on by the dreams of metaphysics

In the critical period we can mention the following works:

  • Critique of Pure Reason
  • Prolegomena to all future metaphysics
  • Ideas for a universal history in a cosmopolitan key
  • What is Enlightenment
  • Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals
  • Over the volcanoes of the moon
  • First Metaphysical Principles of Natural Science
  • Early Metaphysical Foundations of Cosmology
  • Second edition of the “Critique of Pure Reason”

Immanuel Kant Quotes

Some of his most important phrases were:

  • The wise man can change his mind. The fool, never.
  • The patience is the strength of the weak and impatience, the weakness of the fort.
  • In darkness the imagination works more actively than in full light.
  • The only thing that is an end in itself is man , he can never be used as a means.
  • He slept and dreamed that life was beautiful; I woke up and realized that life was duty .
  • With the stones that critics throw hard at you, you might as well erect yourself a monument.
  • The happiness is not an ideal of reason but of imagination.
  • The busier we are, the more acutely we feel we are living, the more conscious we are of life .

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