Immanuel Kant was the Prussian philosopher whose body of works has engaged the minds of every subsequent generation of thinkers and he is held in high regard as one of the finest secular philosophers of the modern age. He lived through the age of enlightenment and his published works were a climax to this period that sowed the seeds for the growth of the romanticism movement in the early 19th century. Enlightenment had the common goal of individual thought and constructive criticism yet its ideals came in many different flavours across the world from the revolutions of France and America to questioning the established authority in Europe through church and government and rationalising that the lot of humanity could be improved greatly by creating a more autonomous society. The Immanuel Kant mantra of "Dare to know! Have courage to use your own reason" from his essay on enlightenment explored the incapacity of man to use his own understanding at the expense of direction from another. It exposed man's lack of courage to leave his known comfort zone as opposed to his lack of understanding and raised many questions that have intrigued and inspired the thinking man ever since. An appraisal of 19th century European philosophy will illustrate Kant's influence across the many schools of thought and philosophical movements which flourished and continued unabated into the cultural changes of 20th century modernism. In many ways Kant was fortunate to live when he did as when he published his acclaimed "Critique of Pure Reason" in 1781 it was under the reign of Frederick the Great who was tolerant of enlightened thinking, however his predecessor Frederick William II of Prussia was appalled by the implications of the French Revolution so he introduced censorship laws and banned Kant from both speaking in public and teaching on the subject of religion. As a result of his enlightenment rationalism the school of Kantian Ethics was borne referring to a supreme principle of morality not dependent on the rightness or wrongness of actions but on whether they can universally fulfill ones obligations under what he called the categorical imperative. The German neo-Kantian philosopher Otto Liebmann summed up his importance to the subject with his famous quote: "You can philosophise with Kant, or philosophise against him, but you cannot philosophise without him". Quite remarkably for someone whose influence spanned the globe, Kant never travelled outside the region of his home town of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad), he did however leave us with some wonderful one liners, so here is my compilation of 16 of the best Immanuel Kant quotes
Bio by Michael Joseph Farrelly
- Mini Bio
- Name: Immanuel Kant
- Born: 22nd April 1724, Königsberg, Kingdom of Prussia
- Died: 12th February 1804, Königsberg, Kingdom of Prussia
- Resting place: Königsberg Cathedral, Kaliningrad, Russia
- Alma mater: Collegium Fridericianum and the University of Königsberg
- Occupation: Philosopher
- Era: Age of Enlightenment
- School of thought: Kantianism
- Influenced by: Aristotle, Christian Wolff, Isaac Newton, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Johann Gottfried Teske, John Locke, Konrad Gottlieb Marquardt, Martin Knutzen, Plato, René Descartes and Sextus Empiricus
- Inspired: Arthur Schopenhauer, Bertrand Russell, Edmund Husserl, Ernst Cassirer, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Heinrich Heine, Hilaire Belloc, Jakob Sigismund Beck, Jean-Paul Sartre, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Johann Gottfried Herder, John Rawls, Jürgen Habermas, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Martin Heidegger, Max Weber, Noam Chomsky, Otto Liebmann and Paul Ricoeur
- Height: 5; 1" (1.57m)
- Nicknames: The Old Jacobin and The Sage of Königsberg
- Major works: Critique of Pure Reason (1781), Critique of Practical Reason (1788), the Metaphysics of Morals (1797) and the Critique of Judgment (1790)
- Quotes about Immanuel Kant
- The publisher Colin Macfarquhar observed this: "Kant is considered by his admirers as the greatest philosopher that Germany ever produced"
- Friedrich Paulsen was impressed to say: "Kant's philosophy is the door to the philosophy of our century, and the door to the Kantian philosophy is the Critique of Pure Reason"
- The writer Nick Land was not too impressed: "Kant's critical philosophy is the most elaborate fit of panic in the history of the Earth"
- The philosopher Ayn Rand described him thus: "Immanuel Kant was the first hippie in history"
"All our knowledge begins with experience"
"Religion is too important a matter to its devotees to be a subject of ridicule. If they indulge in absurdities, they are to be pitied rather than ridiculed"
"Character means that the person derives his rules of conduct from himself and from the dignity of humanity"
"A spurious axiom of the first class is: Whatever is, is somewhere and sometime"
"Have patience awhile; slanders are not long-lived. Truth is the child of time"
"Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made"
"Morality is thus the relation of actions to the autonomy of the will"
"I had to remove knowledge, in order to make room for belief"
"Three things tell a man: his eyes, his friends and his favorite quotes"
"The only thing permanent is change"
"Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life"
"One is not rich by what one owns, but more by what one is able to do without with dignity"
"Dare to know! Have courage to use your own reason"
"The hand is the visible part of the brain"
"Happiness is not an ideal of reason but of imagination"
"The death of dogma is the birth of morality"
Great quotes are not where you find great wisdom. It's where you share this knowledge that counts