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Immanuel Kant

April 22, 1724 ~ February 12, 1804

German philosopher and one of the central Enlightenment thinkers.

Born in Königsberg, Kant's comprehensive and systematic works in epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics have made him one of the most influential figures in modern Western philosophy.

Portrait

In an attempt to counter the skepticism he found in the writings of philosopher David Hume, he wrote the Critique of Pure Reason, one of his most well-known works.

Kant drew a parallel to the Copernican revolution in his proposal that the objects of the senses must conform to our spatial and temporal forms of intuition, and that we can consequently have a priori cognition of the objects of the senses.

I have no knowledge of myself as I am, but merely as I appear to myself.

Although he was a proponent of scientific racism for much of his career, Kant's views on race changed significantly in the last decade of his life, and he ultimately rejected racial hierarchies and European colonialism in Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch.

The greatest evil that can oppress civilized peoples derives from wars, not, indeed, so much from actual present or past wars, as from the never-ending and constantly increasing arming for future war.

Kant died in Königsberg. His last words were “Es ist gut” (“It is good”).

Further Reading


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