<history of philosophy, biography> Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) was born in the East Prussian city of Koenigsberg, studied at its university, and worked there as a tutor and professor for more than forty years, never travelling more than fifty miles from home. Although his outward life was one of legendary calm and regularity Kant's intellectual work easily justified his own claim to have effected a Copernican revolution in philosophy. Beginning with his Inaugural Dissertation (1770) on the difference between right- and left-handed spatial orientations, Kant patiently worked out the most comprehensive and influential philosophical programme of the modern era. His central thesis-that the possibility of human knowledge presupposes the active participation of the human mind-is deceptively simple, but the details of its application are notoriously complex. The monumental Kritik der reinen Vernunft (Critique of Pure Reason) (1781, 1787) fully spells out the conditions for mathematical, scientific, and metaphysical knowledge in its "Transcendental Aesthetic" "Transcendental Analytic" and "Transcendental Dialectic" but Kant found it helpful to offer a less technical exposition of the same themes in the Prolegomena zu einer jeden kuenftigen Metaphysik die als Wissenschaft wird auftreten koennen (Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysic) (1783). Carefully distinguishing judgments as analytic or synthetic and as a priori or a posteriori, Kant held that the most interesting and useful varieties of human knowledge rely upon synthetic a priori judgments, which are, in turn, possible only when the mind determines the conditions of its own experience. Thus, it is we who impose the forms of space and time upon all possible sensation in mathematics, and it is we who render all experience coherent as scientific knowledge governed by traditional notions of substance and causality by applying the pure concepts of the understanding to all possible experience. But regulative principles of this sort hold only for the world as we know it, and since metaphysical propositions seek a truth beyond all experience, they cannot be established within the bounds of reason. Significant applications of these principles are expressed in Metaphysische Anfangsgruende der Naturwissenschaft (Metaphysical Foundations of the Science of Nature) (1786) and Beantwortung der Frage: Ist es eine Erfahrung, dass wir denken? (On Comprehension and Transcendental Consciousness) (1788-1791). Kant's moral philosophy is developed in the Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten (Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals) (1785). From his analysis of the operation of the human will, Kant derived the necessity of a perfectly universalizable moral law, expressed in a categorical imperative that must be regarded as binding upon every agent. In the Third Section of the Grounding and in the Kritik der practischen Vernunft (Critique of Practical Reason) (1788), Kant grounded this conception of moral autonomy upon our postulation of god, freedom, and immortality. In later life, Kant drew art and science together under the concept of purpose in the Kritik der Urteilskraft (Critique of Judgment) (1790), considered the consequences of transcendental criticism for theology in Die Religion innerhalb die Grenzen der blossen Vernunft (Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone) (1793), stated the fundamental principles for civil discourse in Beantwortung der Frage: Was ist Aufklaerung? ("What is Enlightenment?") (1784), and made an eloquent plea for international cooperation in Zum ewigen Frieden (Perpetual Peace) (1795). Recommended Reading: Primary sources: Kants gessamelte Schriften, ed. by der Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (de Gruyter, 1902-1956); Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, tr. by Werner S. Pluhar and Patricia Kitcher (Hackett, 1996); Kant: Critique of Practical Reason, tr. by Lewis W. Beck (MacMillan, 1992); Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment, ed. by Werner S. Pluhar (Hackett, 1987); Immanuel Kant, Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics That Will Be Able to Come Forward As Science, tr. by Paul Carus (Hackett, 1977); Immanuel Kant, Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, tr. by James W. Ellington (Hackett, 1993). Secondary sources: Ernst Cassirer, Stephan Korner, and James Haden, Kant's Life and Thought (Yale, 1986); Roger Scruton, Kant (Oxford, 1983); The Cambridge Companion to Kant, ed. by Paul Guyer (Cambridge, 1992); Ralph C.S. Walker, Kant (Routledge, 1999); Sebastian Gardner, Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Kant and the Critique of Pure Reason (Routledge, 1999); Norman Kemp Smith, Commentary to Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (Humanity, 1991); Paul Guyer, Kant and the Claims of Knowledge (Cambridge, 1987); Jonathan Bennett, Kant's Analytic (Cambridge, 1966); Karl Ameriks, Kant's Theory of Mind: An Analysis of the Paralogisms of Pure Reason (Oxford, 2000); Kant's Critique of Pure Reason: Critical Essays, ed. by Patricia Kitcher (Rowman & Littlefield, 1998); Henry E. Allison, Kant's Transcendental Idealism: An Interpretation and Defense (Yale, 1986); Rudolf A. Makkreel, Imagination and Interpretation in Kant: The Hermeneutical Import of the Critique of Judgment (Chicago, 1994); Feminist Interpretations of Immanuel Kant, ed. by Robin May Schott (Penn. State, 1997); Roger J. Sullivan, An Introduction to Kant's Ethics (Cambridge, 1994); Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals: Critical Essays, ed. by Paul Guyer (Rowman & Littlefield, 1997); Christine M. Korsgaard, Creating the Kingdom of Ends (Cambridge, 1996). Additional on-line information about Kant includes: Stephen Palmquist's comprehensive Kant on the Web site. The thorough collection of resources at EpistemeLinks.com. The excellent Kant Glossary from Andrew Carpenter. Richard Lee's excellent collection of links on Kant. Henry E. Allison's article in The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Related OCP articles on: aesthetics, the antinomies, apperception, autonomy and heteronomy, the categorical imperative, duty, ethical formalism, German philosophy, the golden rule, good will, idealism, ideas of reason, immortality, incongruent counterparts, inner sense, Kantian ethics, Kantianism, liberalism, the manifold of sense, philosophy of mathematics, metaphysics, modernism, moral law, moral philosophy, neo-Kantianism, obligation, phenomena and noumena, practical reason, rationality, realism and anti-realism, regulative principles, philosophy of religion, right action, sexual morality, sincerity, space, the sublime, synthetic a priori judgments, thing-in-itself, transcendental analytic, transcendental arguments, virtues, ethical voluntarism, Vorstellung, and will. Immanuel Kant Information Online, from Das Marburger Kant-Archiv. G.J. Mattey's thoughtful summary of Kant's philosophy. A section on Kant from Alfred Weber's history of philosophy. William Turner's thorough article in The Catholic Encyclopedia. Ethics Updates discussion of Kant and Kantian ethics, by Lawrence Hinman. The article in the Columbia Encyclopedia at Bartleby.com. Snippets from Kant (German and English) in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. The Bloomsbury Guide to Human Thought on Kantian Ethics and The Sublime. A discussion of Kant's notion of freedom from K·roly KÛkai. A paper on Non-spatiotemporality and the Unknowability of Things in Themselves from JuanAdolfo Bonaccini. Some Essential Points in Reading The Critique of Pure Reason from Eduardo Shore. Robert Greenberg on Kant's Categories. A Kantian Interpretation of Demonstrative Reference by Wing-Chun Wong. A philosophical biography from Uwe Wiedemann. Bj–rn Christensson's brief guide to Internet resources on Kant. Robert Sarkissian's brief summary of Kant's philosophy. A brief entry in The Macmillan Encyclopedia 2001.
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