More from and about
Immanuel Kant
(biographical info at bottom of page)

  

Seek not the favor of the multitude, but seek the testimony
of the few; and number not the voices, but weigh them.

   

Enlightenment is one’s leaving one's self-caused immaturity.  Immaturity is the incapacity to use one's intelligence without the guidance of another. Such immaturity is self-caused if it is not caused by lack of intelligence, but by lack of determination and courage to use one's intelligence without being guided by another. Sapere Aude! Have the courage to use your own intelligence! is therefore the motto of the enlightenment.
  
  
Laziness and cowardice explain why so many people. . . remain under a life-long tutelage and why it is so easy for some people to set themselves up as the guardians of all the rest. . . . If I have a book which understands for me, a pastor who has a conscience for me, a doctor who decides my diet, I need not trouble myself.  If I am willing to pay, I need not think. Others will do it for me.

      
Whereas the beautiful is limited, the sublime is limitless, so that the mind in the presence of the sublime, attempting to imagine what it cannot, has pain in the failure but pleasure in contemplating the immensity of the attempt.
  
Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and steadily we reflect upon them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me. I do not seek or conjecture either of them as if they were veiled obscurities or extravagances beyond the horizon of my vision; I see them before me and connect them immediately with the consciousness of my existence.
   

The light dove, in free flight cutting through the air the resistance of which it feels, could get the idea that it could do even better in airless space. Likewise, Plato abandoned the world of the senses because it posed so many hindrances for the understanding, and dared to go beyond it on the wings of the ideas, in the empty space of pure understanding.

     

Act only according to that maxim whereby you can
at the same time will that it should become a universal law.

   

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Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.

   

Look closely. The beautiful may be small.

   

For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into
new beings who have learned to see the whole first.

   
    
Immanuel Kant was born in the East Prussian city of Königsberg, 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 künftigen Metaphysik die als Wissenschaft wird auftreten können (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, 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 Anfangsgründe 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 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 Aufklärung? ("What is Enlightenment?" (1784), and made an eloquent plea for international cooperation in Zum ewigen Frieden (Perpetual Peace) (1795).

(from Philosophypages.com)

  

  

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