Immanuel Kant was born in 1724 at Konigsberg, East Prussia, into a family of harness-makers. A Lutheran pastor thought that he saw some talent in young Immanuel and arranged for him to receive a thorough education, that would have been beyond the means of his parents, at a celebrated local secondary school. The distinguishing characteristics of this school was its formation around devout Pietist reformism within Lutheranism.
Kant suffered the loss of his father and his mother quite early in life, he also suffered some physical deformity as well as being noticeably small. Despite such setbacks as these circumstances may have represented the youthful Immanuel Kant had a wide circle of friends and admirers won through his innate grace and powers of conversation. Kant entered the local university at age sixteen graduating some six years later.
Kant began to acquire a reputation as a teacher and was even occasionally offered posts by other universities. In his mid forties Kant was offered a Professorship at Konigsberg itself. Kant’s earlier work had been in the areas of Mathematics and Dynamics his new appointment however had a specification that was directed towards Metaphysics and Logic. He was so popular as a lecturer that it was necessary for students to be an hour early for their lecture in order to be sure of a place.
It was not until some twelve years into his Professorship that Kant’s famous philosophical publications began to appear in print. His Critique of Pure Reason appeared in 1781 when Kant was approaching his sixtieth year. The Critique of Pure Reason and subsequent works such as the Critique of Practical Reason (1788) and the Critique of Judgment (1790) went on to have an immense impact on the philosophy and wider intellectual life of Europe and the World.
Kant remained active as a lecturer until 1796 when his mind became confused. Kant died in his native city in February 1804.
“Always recognize that human individuals are ends, and do not use them as means to your end.”
“May you live your life as if the maxim of your actions were to become universal law.”
“Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.”
“Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing wonder and awe – the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.”
“Nature itself, even in chaos, cannot proceed except in an orderly and regular manner.”
“In law a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others. In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so.”
“It is not necessary that whilst I live I live happily; but it is necessary that so long as I live I should live honorably.”
“It is not God’s will merely that we should be happy, but that we should make ourselves happy.”
“To be is to do.”