Kant, Immanuel (17241804)

Kant, Immanuel, a celebrated German philosopher, born in Königsberg, the son of a saddler, of Scotch descent, and fortunate in both his parents; entered the university in 1740 as a student of theology; gave himself to the study of philosophy, mathematics, and physics; wrote an essay, his first literary effort, on “Motive Force” in 1747; settled at the University as a private lecturer on a variety of academic subjects in 1755; became professor of Logic and Metaphysics in 1770, when he was 46, and continued till his retirement, in 1797, from the frailties of age, spending the last 17 years of his life in a small house with a garden in a quiet quarter of the town; his great work, the “Kritic of Pure Reason,” was published in 1781, and it was followed by the “Kritic of Practical Reason” in 1788, and the “Kritic of Judgment” in 1790; his works inaugurate a new era in philosophic speculation, and by the adoption of a critical method dealt a death-blow to speculative dogmatism on the one hand and scepticism on the other; it was, he says, the scepticism of Hume that first broke his dogmatic slumber, so that had Hume not been, he had not been, and the whole course of modern thought different; Kant by his critical method did for philosophy what Copernicus did for astronomy; he centralised the intelligence in the reason or soul, as the latter did the planetary system in the sun; Kant was a lean, little man, of simple habits, and was never wedded (17241804).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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