Immanuel Kant

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Immanuel Kant (German pronunciation: [ɪˈmaːnu̯eːl ˈkant]) (22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was an 18th-century German philosopher from the Prussian city of Königsberg. He was the last influential philosopher of the classic period of the theory of knowledge (corresponding to the Enlightenment nurtured by thinkers John Locke, Gottfried Leibniz, George Berkeley, and David Hume).[1]

One of his most prominent works is the Critique of Pure Reason, an investigation into the structure of reason. It suggests that traditional metaphysics can be reformed through epistemology[2], as we can face metaphysical problems fruitfully by understanding the sources and limits of knowledge. His other main works are the Critique of Practical Reason, which concentrates on ethics, and the Critique of Judgment, which investigates aesthetics and teleology.

Kant published important works on science, religion, law, and history, believing himself to be creating a compromise between empiricism and rationalism. The former asserted that everything is acquired through experience whereas the latter maintained that reason plays a major role. Kant argues that experience, values and the meaning of life will be purely subjective without first being subsumed under pure reason, while using reason without applying it to experience will only lead to theoretical illusions.

Kant’s thought was very influential in Germany during his lifetime, moving philosophy beyond the debate between the rationalists and empiricists. The philosophers Fichte, Schelling, Hegel and Schopenhauer each saw themselves as correcting and expanding the Kantian system, thus bringing about various forms of German idealism. Nowadays, Kant remains a major influence on both analytic and continental philosophy.


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