Immanuel Kant is regarded as one of the greatest philosophers in the era of Enlightenment towards the end of the 18th century. He made significant contributions to metaphysics, ethics, epistemology, and aesthetics. These significantly impacted the philosophical movement that came after him. One of the popular Immanuel Kant Quotes explains his metaphysical study “Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind.”
One of the best works of Immanuel Kant includes the “Critique of Pure Reason”.
In this work, Kant came out explaining how reason and experience come together with understanding and thought. This game-changing work elucidated how a person’s mind arranges experiences into comprehending the way the world works.
Also, Kant laid emphasis on ethics. He even suggested “categorical imperative”, a moral law that suggests that morality comes from rationality and that all moral judgments are backed by reason.
Immanuel Kant’s Philosophy
Kant’s philosophy can be categorized into theoretical and practical philosophy. The theoretical philosophy contains metaphysics which is founded on the logical understanding of the concept of nature. The practical philosophy consists of ethics and political philosophy which is founded on the concept of freedom.
During Immanuel Kant’s period, the ruling conviction was rationalism that was set forth by rationalists like Leibniz and Wolff. As per these rationalists, empirical knowledge which is based on experience that an individual goes through is doubtful. This is because experience is subjective to the perspective of each individual.
Further, the human senses are prone to errors by nature. Therefore, empirical knowledge cannot tell what the world is all about without being contaminated by perspective.
Thus, in his work Critique of Pure Reason, Kant puts forth his answer to this dispute between empiricism and rationalism.
Here are some of the best Immaneul Kant Quotes that will help you understand Kant’s metaphysical studies.
Critique of Pure Reason Quotes
1. I had to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith.
2. All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason.
3. 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
4. Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind.
5. 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.
6. Man must be disciplined, for he is by nature raw and wild.
7. Skepticism is thus a resting place for human reason, where it can reflect upon its dogmatic wanderings and make a survey of the region in which it finds itself, so that for the future it may be able to choose its path with more certainty. But it is no dwelling-place for permanent settlement. Such can be obtained only through perfect certainty in our knowledge, alike of the objects themselves and of the limits within which all our knowledge of objects is enclosed.
8. It is the Land of Truth (enchanted name!), surrounded by a wide and stormy ocean, the true home of illusion, where many a fog bank and ice, that soon melts away, tempt us to believe in new lands, while constantly deceiving the adventurous mariner with vain hopes, and involving him in adventures which he can never leave, yet never bring to an end.
9. But, above all, it will confer an inestimable benefit on morality and religion, by showing that all the objections urged against them may be silenced forever by the Socratic method, that is to say, by proving the ignorance of the objector.
10. Our age is the age of criticism, to which everything must be subjected. The sacredness of religion, and the authority of legislation, are by many regarded as grounds of exemption from the examination of this tribunal. But, if they are exempted, they become the subjects of just suspicion, and cannot lay claim to sincere respect, which reason accords only to that which has stood the test of a free and public examination.]
11. It was the duty of philosophy to destroy the illusions which had their origin in misconceptions, whatever darling hopes and valued expectations may be ruined by its explanations.
12. For if the question is absurd in itself and demands unnecessary answers, then, besides the embarrassment of the one who proposes it, it also has the disadvantage of misleading the incautious listener into absurd answers, and presenting the ridiculous sight (as the ancients said) of one person milking a billy-goat while the other holds a sieve underneath. (A58/B82)
13. Two things fill the mind with renewed and increasing awe and reverence the more often and the more steadily that they are meditated on: the starry skies above me and the moral law inside me. I have not to search for them and conjecture them as though they were veiled in darkness or were in the transcendent region beyond my horizon; I see them before me and connect them directly with the consciousness of my existence.
14. Human reason, in one sphere of its cognition, is called upon to consider questions, which it cannot decline, as they are presented by its own nature, but which it cannot answer, as they transcend every faculty of the mind.
15. All human cognition begins with intuitions, proceeds from thence to conceptions, and ends with ideas.
16. (On the seeming futility of metaphysics) Why then has nature affected our reason with the restless striving for such a path, as if it were one of the region’s most important occupations? Still more, how little cause have we to place trust in our reason if in one of the most important parts of our desire for knowledge it does not merely forsake us but even entices us with delusions and in the end betrays us! Or if the path has merely eluded us so far, what indications may we use that might lead us to hope that in renewed attempts we will be luckier than those who have gone before us?
17. Deficiency in judgment is properly that which is called stupidity, and for such a failing we know no remedy. A dull or narrow-minded person, to whom nothing is wanting but a proper degree of understanding, may be improved by tuition, even so far as to deserve the epithet of learned. But as such persons frequently labor under a deficiency in the faculty of judgment, it is not uncommon to find men extremely learned who in the application of their science betray a lamentable degree this irremediable want.]
18. For if we regard space and time as properties that must, as regards their possibility, be found in things in themselves, […] then we really cannot blame the good Bishop Berkeley for degrading bodies to mere illusion. Nay, even our own existence, which would thus be made dependent on the self-subsistent reality of a non-entity such as time, would, along with this time, be changed into mere illusion – an absurdity of which hitherto no one has been guilty.
19. Metaphysics is nothing but the inventory of all we possess through pure reason, ordered systematically. Nothing here can escape us, because what reason brings forth entirely out of itself cannot be hidden, but is brought to light by reason itself as soon as reason’s common principle has been discovered. The perfect unity of this kind of cognition, and the fact that it arises solely out of pure concepts without any influence that would extend or increase it from experience or even particular intuition, which would lead to a determinate experience, make this unconditioned completeness not only feasible but also necessary. Tecum habita, et noris quam sit tibi curta supellex. Dwell in your own house, and you will know how simple your possessions are.
20. The sacredness of religion, and the authority of legislation, are by many regarded as grounds of exemption from the examination of this tribunal. But, if they are exempted, they become the subjects of just suspicion, and cannot lay claim to sincere respect, which reason accords only to that which has stood the test of a free and public examination.]
21. It falls into this difficulty without any fault of its own. It begins with principles, which cannot be dispensed with in the field of experience, and the truth and sufficiency of which are, at the same time, insured by experience. With these principles it rises, in obedience to the laws of its own nature, to ever higher and more remote conditions. But it quickly discovers that, in this way, its labors must remain ever incomplete, because new questions never cease to present themselves; and thus it finds itself compelled to have recourse to principles which transcend the region of experience, while they are regarded by common sense without distrust. It thus falls into confusion and contradictions, from which it conjectures the presence of latent errors, which, however, it is unable to discover, because the principles it employs, transcending the limits of experience, cannot be tested by that criterion. The arena of these endless contests is called Metaphysic.
22. “Mislite without cuddling with a tease, creep without the concept of the blind.
23. This means that the criterion for truth is purely logical, it is said that the laws of separation and reason are one of cognition and formality, but it is truly a condition sine qua non. As a matter of fact, both of the logic can’t be done, and there’s no way to get it out of the way, and it’s impossible to open up the sinner, which is not a format, but a readiness.
24. The constitution, for the purpose of the greatest human, freedom is spared by the laws, who are ruled by such a thing that is free for all things, so you can eat from a bowl for all you stay.
25. If the intuition must conform to the nature of the objects, I do not see how we can know anything of them a priori. If, on the other hand, the object conforms to the nature of our faculty of intuition, I can then easily conceive the possibility of such an a priori knowledge.
26. Such is the genesis of these general convictions of mankind, so far as they depend on rational grounds; and this public property not only remains undisturbed, but is even raised to greater importance, by the doctrine that the schools have no right to arrogate to themselves a more profound insight into a matter of general human concernment than that to which the great mass of men, ever held by us in the highest estimation, can without difficulty attain, and that the schools should, therefore, confine themselves to the elaboration of these universally comprehensible and, from a moral point of view, amply satisfactory proofs.
27. We now concern ourselves with labor less spectacular but nevertheless not unrewarding: that of making the terrain for these majestic moral edifices level and firm enough to be built upon; for under this ground there are all sorts of passageways, such as moles might have dug, leftover from reason’s vain but confident treasure hunting, that make every building insecure. (A319/B377)
28. Dogmatism is thus the dogmatic procedure of pure reason without a previous criticism of its own powers, and in opposing this procedure, we must not be supposed to lend any countenance to that loquacious shallowness which arrogates to itself the name of popularity, nor.
29. Philosophical knowledge is knowledge which reason gains from concepts; mathematical knowledge is knowledge which reason gains from the construction of concepts.
30. By saying that the former was only concerned with quality, the latter only with quantity, mistook cause for effect.
31. Experience may teach us what is, but never that it cannot be otherwise.
32. Those true objects are to shed the clearest light on every step which reason takes.
33. Never wish to see a just cause defended with unjust means.
34. The usual touchstone of whether what someone asserts is mere persuasion or at least a subjective conviction, i.e., firm belief, is betting. Often someone pronounces his propositions with such confident and inflexible defiance that he seems to have entirely laid aside all concern for error. A bet disconcerts him. Sometimes he reveals that he is persuaded enough for one ducat but not for ten. For he would happily bet one, but at ten he suddenly becomes aware of what he had not previously noticed, namely that it is quite possible that he has erred.
35. The greatest and perhaps only utility of all philosophy of pure reason is thus only negative, namely that it does not serve for expansion, as an organon, but rather, as a discipline, serves for the determination of boundaries, and instead of discovering the truth, it has only the silent merit of guarding against errors.
36. Are—and yet refer to something permanent, which must, therefore, be distinct from all my representations and external to me, the existence.
37. For the human reason, without any instigations imputable to the mere vanity of great knowledge, unceasingly progresses, urged on by its own feeling of need, towards such questions as cannot be answered by any empirical application of reason, or principles derived therefrom; and so there has ever really existed in every man some system of metaphysics.
38. Reason should take on anew the most difficult of all its tasks, namely, that of self-knowledge, and institute a court of justice, by which reason may secure its rightful claims while dismissing all its groundless pretensions, and this not by mere decrees but according to its own eternal and unchangeable laws; and this court is none other than the critique of pure reason itself.
39. Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. Nothing is required for this enlightenment except freedom; and the freedom in question is the least harmful of all, namely, the freedom to use with and publicly in all matters.
40. Our reason has this peculiar fate that, with reference to one class of its knowledge, it is always troubled with questions which cannot be ignored, because they spring from the very nature of reason, and which cannot be answered, because they transcend the powers of human reason.
41. [At the beginning of modern science], a light dawned on all those who study nature. They comprehended that reason has insight only into what it itself produces according to its own design; that it must take the lead with principles for its judgments according to constant laws and compel nature to answer its questions, rather than letting nature guide its movements by keeping reason, as it were, in leading-strings; for otherwise accidental observations, made according to no previously designed plan, can never connect up into a necessary law, which is yet what reason seeks and requires. The reason, in order to be taught by nature, must approach nature with its principles in one hand, according to which alone the agreement among appearances can count as laws, and, in the other hand, the experiments thought in accordance with these principles – yet in order to be instructed by nature, not like a pupil, who has recited to him whatever the teacher wants to say, but like an appointed judge who compels witnesses to answer the questions he puts to them. Thus even physics owes the advantageous revolution in its way of thinking to the inspiration that what reason would not be able to know of itself and has to learn from nature, it has to seek in the latter (though not merely ascribe to it) in accordance with what reason itself puts into nature. This is how natural science was first brought to the secure course of science after groping about for so many centuries.
Immanuel Kant Sayings
42. The wish to talk to God is absurd. We cannot talk to one we cannot comprehend — and we cannot comprehend God; we can only believe in Him. The uses of prayer are thus only subjective.
43. Religion is too important a matter to its devotees to be a subject of ridicule. If they indulge in absurdities, they are to be pitied rather than ridiculed.
44. As the analysis of a substantial composite terminates only in a part which is not a whole, that is, in a simple part, so synthesis terminates only in a whole which is not a part, that is, the world.
45. The mind’s intent upon resolving as well as compounding the concept of a composite demand and presumes boundaries in which it may acquiesce in the former as well as in the latter direction.
46. The force of the word World, as commonly used, of itself falls in with us. For no one will attribute accidents to the World as parts, but as determinations, states; hence the so-called world of the ego, unrestrained by the single substance and its accidents, is not very appositely called a World, unless, perhaps, an imaginary one.
47. Percepts and phenomena which precede the logical use of the intellect is called appearance, while the reflex knowledge originating from several appearances compared by the intellect is called experience.
48. An intellectual concept abstracts from everything sensuous, it is not abstracted from sensuous things, and perhaps would be more correctly called abstracting than abstract. Intellectual concepts it is more cautious, therefore, to call pure ideas, and concepts are given only empirically abstract ideas.
49. The sensuous may be exceedingly distinct, while intellectual concepts are extremely confused. The former we observe in the prototype of sensuous knowledge geometry; the latter, in the organon of all intellectual concepts, metaphysics. It is evident how much toil the latter is expending to dispel the fogs of confusion darkening the common intellect, though not always with the happy success of the former science.
50. Now the maximum of perfection is called ideal, by Plato, Idea — for instance, his Idea of a Republic — and is the principle of all that is contained under the general notion of any perfection, inasmuch as the lesser grades are not thought determinable but by limiting the maximum. But God, the Ideal of perfection, and hence the principle of cognition, is also, as existing really, the principle of the creation of all perfection.
51. Phenomena of the external sense are examined and set forth in physics; those of the internal sense in empirical psychology. Pure mathematics considers space in geometry and time in pure mechanics. To these is to be added a certain concept, intellectual to be sure in itself, but whose becoming actual in the concrete requires the auxiliary notions of time and space in the successive addition and simultaneous juxtaposition of separate units, which is the concept of number treated in arithmetic.
52. Let the letters a b c denote the three angular points of a rectilinear triangle. If the point did move continuously over the lines ab, bc, ca, that is, over the perimeter of the figure, it would be necessary for it to move at the point b in the direction ab, and also at the same point b in the direction bc. These motions being diverse, they cannot be simultaneous. Therefore, the moment of presence of the movable point at vertex b, considered as moving in the direction ab, is different from the moment of presence of the movable point at the same vertex b, considered as moving in the same direction bc. But between two moments there is time; therefore, the movable point is present at point b for some time, that is, it rests. Therefore it does not move continuously, which is contrary to the assumption. The same demonstration is valid for motion over any right lines including an assignable angle. Hence a body does not change its direction in continuous motion except by following a line no part of which is straight, that is, a curve, as Leibnitz maintained.
53. Those who assert the objective reality of time either conceive of it as a continuous flow in what exists, without, however, any existing thing, as is done especially by the English philosophers, an absurd fiction, or as something real abstracted from the succession of inner states, as it has been put by Leibnitz and his followers.
54. It is absurd to excite reason against the primary postulates of pure time, as, for example, continuity, etc., since they follow from laws prior and superior to which nothing is found, and since reason herself in the use of the principle of contradiction cannot dispense with the support of this concept, so primitive and original is it.
55. The concept of space is not abstracted from external sensations.
56. The concept of space, therefore, is a pure intuition, being a singular concept, not made up by sensations, but itself the fundamental form of all external sensation.
57. Nature, therefore, is subject with absolute precision to all the precepts of geometry as to all the properties of space there demonstrated, this being the subjective condition, not hypothetically but intuitively given, of every phenomenon in which nature can ever be revealed to the senses.
58. Space is employed as the type even of the concept of time itself, representing it by a line, and its limits — moments — by points. Time, on the other hand, approaches more to a universal and rational concept, comprising under its relations all things whatsoever, to wit, space itself, and besides, those accidents which are not comprehended in the relations of space, such as the thoughts of the soul. Again, time, besides this, though it certainly does not dictate the laws of reason, yet constitutes the principal conditions tinder favor of which the mind compares its notions according to the laws of reason. Thus, I cannot judge what is impossible except by predicating a and not-a of the same subject at the same time.
59. The question of the principle of the form of the intelligible world turns, therefore, upon making apparent in what manner it is possible for several substances to be in mutual commerce, and for this reason to pertain to the same whole, which is called the world. We do not here consider the world, let it be understood, as to matter, that is, as to the nature of the substances of which it consists, whether they be material or immaterial, but as to form, that is to say, how among several things taken separately a connection, and among them all, totality can have a place.
60. The sham cause in physical influence consists in rashly assuming that the commerce of substance and transitive forces are sufficiently knowable from their mere existence. Hence it is not so much a system as rather the neglect of all philosophical systems as a superfluity in the argument. Freeing the concept from this defect, we shall have a species of commerce alone deserving to be called real, and from which the whole constituting the world merits being called real, and not ideal or imaginary.
61. A whole from necessary substances is impossible. The whole, therefore, of substances is a whole of contingent things, and the world consists essentially of only contingent things.
Several actual worlds without one another are not, therefore, impossible by the very concept, as Wolf hastily concluded from the notion of a complex or multiplicity which he deemed sufficient to a whole, as such, but only on condition that there exist but one necessary cause of all things. If several are admitted, several worlds without one another will be possible in the strictest metaphysical sense.
62. If it were right to overstep a little the limits of apodictic certainty befitting metaphysics, it would seem worthwhile to trace out some things pertaining not merely to the laws but even to the causes of sensuous intuition, which are only intellectually knowable. Of course, the human mind is not affected by external things, and the world does not lie open to its insight infinitely, except as far as itself together with all other things is sustained by the same infinite power of one. Hence it does not perceive external things but by the presence of the same common sustaining cause; and hence space, which is the universal and necessary condition of the joint presence of everything known sensuously, may be called the phenomenal omnipresence, for the cause of the universe is not present to all things and everything, as being in their places, but their places, that is the relations of the substances, are possible because it is intimately present to all. Furthermore, since the possibility of the changes and successions of all things whose principle as far as sensuously known resides in the concept of time, supposes the continuous existence of the subject whose opposite states succeed; that whose states are in flux, lasting not, however, unless sustained by another; the concept of time as one infinite and immutable in which all things are and last, is the phenomenal eternity of the general cause} But it seems more cautious to hug the shore of the cognitions granted to us by the mediocrity of our intellect than to be carried out upon the high seas of such mystic investigations, like Malebranche, whose opinion that we see all things in God is pretty nearly what has here been expounded.
63. The Palestinians living among us have, for the most part, earned a not unfounded reputation for being cheaters, because of their spirit of usury since their exile. Certainly, it seems strange to conceive of a nation of cheaters; but it is just as odd to think of a nation of merchants, the great majority of whom, bound by an ancient superstition that is recognized by the State they live in, seek no civil dignity and try to make up for this loss by the advantage of duping the people among whom they find refuge, and even one another. The situation could not be otherwise, given a whole nation of merchants, as non-productive members of society (for example, the Jews in Poland).
64. What vexations there are in the external customs which are thought to belong to a religion, but which in reality are related to ecclesiastical form! The merits of piety have been set up in such a way that the ritual is of no use at all except for the simple submission of the believers to ceremonies and observances, expiations, and mortifications (the more the better). But such compulsory services, which are mechanically easy (because no vicious inclination is thus sacrificed), must be found morally very difficult and burdensome to the rational man. When, therefore, the great moral teacher said, ‘My commandments are not difficult,’ he did not mean that they require the only limited exercise of strength in order to be fulfilled. As a matter of fact, as commandments that require pure dispositions of the heart, they are the hardest that can be given. Yet, for a rational man, they are nevertheless infinitely easier to keep than the commandments involving activity which accomplishes nothing… [since] the mechanically easy feels like lifting a hundred weights to the rational man when he sees that all the energy spent is wasted.
65. Habit… makes the endurance of evil easy (which, under the name of patience, is falsely honored as a virtue), because sensations of the same type, when continued without alteration for a long time, draw our attention away from the senses so that we are scarcely conscious of them at all. On the other hand, habit also makes the consciousness and the remembrance of good that has been received more difficult, which then gradually leads to ingratitude (a real vice). […] Acquired habit deprives good actions of their moral value because it undermines mental freedom and, moreover, it leads to thoughtless repetitions of the same acts (monotony), and thus becomes ridiculous.
66. Collectively, the more civilized men are, the more they are actors. They assume the appearance of attachment, of esteem for others, of modesty, and of disinterestedness, without ever deceiving anyone, because everyone understands that nothing sincere is meant. Persons are familiar with this, and it is even a good thing that this is so in this world, for when men play these roles, virtues are gradually established, whose appearance had up until now only been affected. These virtues ultimately will become part of the actor’s disposition. To deceive the deceiver in ourselves, or the tendency to deceive is a fresh return to obedience.
67. Young man! Deny yourself satisfaction (of amusement, of debauchery, of love, etc.), not with the Stoical intention of complete abstinence, but with the refined Epicurean intention of having in view an ever-growing pleasure. This stinginess with the cash of your vital urge makes you definitely richer through the postponement of pleasure, even if you should, for the most part, renounce the indulgence of it until the end of your life. The awareness of having pleasure under your control is, like everything idealistic, more fruitful and more abundant than everything that satisfies the sense through indulgence because it is thereby simultaneously consumed and consequently lost from the aggregate of totality.
68. To require that a so-called layman should not use his own reason in religious matters, particularly since religion is to be appreciated as moral, but instead follow the appointed clergyman and thus someone else’s reason is an unjust demand because as to morals every man must account for all his doings. The clergyman will not and even cannot assume such a responsibility.
69. The guidelines for achieving wisdom consist of three leading maxims: 1) Think for yourself; 2) (in communication with other people) Put yourself in the place of the other person; 3) Always think by remaining faithful to your own self.
70. A mind of slow apprehension is therefore not necessarily a weak mind. The one who is alert with abstractions is not always profound, he is more often very superficial.
71. Through failures one becomes intelligent, but the one who has trained himself in this subject so that he can make others wise through their own failures has used his intelligence. Ignorance is not stupidity.
72. The deceiver is really the fool.
73. What alone has value is the use to which life is put and the end to which it is directed. The value of life has to be created by man, it cannot be obtained through luck but only through wisdom. He who is anxiously concerned over losing his life will never enjoy life.
74. Money is the password, and all doors, which are closed to the man of lesser means, fly open to those whom Plutus favors. The invention of money, which has no other usefulness (or at least it should not have any) except for the commercial exchange of the products of man’s industry, now serves all that is physically good among men. Especially after money was represented by metal, it has produced avarice which, finally, without indulgence, but by its mere possession, and even with the resolution (of the stingy) not to spend it, still contains a power which people believe can sufficiently compensate for the lack of any other power.
75. This species works intentionally on its own destruction (by war). This, however, does not keep the rational creatures of such a constantly advancing culture, even in the midst of war, from promising to mankind in coming centuries an unequivocal prospect of bliss that will never end.
76. The man of principles has character. Of him, we definitely know what to expect. He does not act on the basis of his instinct but on the basis of his will. Therefore, without being redundant one can classify characteristics according to a person’s faculty of desire (what is practical), as a) his nature, or natural talent, b) his temperament, or disposition, and c) his general character, or mode of thinking.
77. All… good and useful properties of character have a price in exchange for others that have just as much use. Talent has a market price since the sovereign or estate-owner can use a talented person in all sorts of ways. Temperament has a fancy price,22 since one can converse well with such a person; he is a pleasant companion. But, character has an inner value[,] and it is above all price.
78. Nature made women mature early and had them demand gentle and polite treatment from men so that they would find themselves imperceptibly fettered by a child due to their own magnanimity; and they would find themselves brought, if not quite to morality itself, then at least to that which cloaks it, moral behavior, which is the preparation and introduction to morality.
79. The woman wants to dominate, the man wants to be dominated.
80. England and France, the two most civilized nations on earth, who are in contrast to each other because of their different characters, are, perhaps chiefly for that reason, in constant feud with one another. Also, England and France, because of their inborn characters, of which the acquired and artificial character is only the result, are probably the only nations who can be assumed to have a particular and, as long as both national characters are not blended by the force of war, unalterable characteristics. That French has become the universal language of conversation, especially in the feminine world, and that English is the most widely used language of commerce among tradesmen, probably reflects the difference in their continental and insular geographic situation.
81. The first characteristic of the human species is man’s ability, as a rational being, to establish a character for himself, as well as for the society into which nature has placed him. This ability, however, presupposes an already favorable natural predisposition and an inclination to the good in man, because the evil is really without character (since it is at odds with itself, and since it does not tolerate any lasting principle within itself)
82. The child must be brought up free (that he allows others to be free). He must learn to endure the restraint to which freedom subjects itself for its own preservation (experience no subordination to his command). Thus he must be disciplined. This precedes instruction. Training must continue without interruption. He must learn to do without things and to be cheerful about it. He must not be obliged to dissimulate, he must acquire immediate horror of lies, must learn so to respect the rights of men that they become an insurmountable wall for him. His instruction must be more negative. He must not learn religion before he knows morality. He must be refined, but not spoiled (pampered). He must learn to speak frankly and must assume no false shame. Before adolescence he must not learn fine manners; thoroughness is the chief thing. Thus he is crude longer, but earlier useful and capable.
83. Good and strong will. Mechanism must precede science (learning). Also in morals and religion? Too much discipline makes one narrow and kills proficiency. Politeness belongs, not to discipline, but to polish, and thus comes last.
84. There must be a seed of every good thing in the character of men, otherwise, no one can bring it out. Lacking that, analogous motives, honor, etc., are substituted. Parents are in the habit of looking out for the inclinations, for the talents and dexterity, perhaps for the disposition of their children, and not at all for their heart or character.
85. Character means that the person derives his rules of conduct from himself and from the dignity of humanity. Character is the common ruling principle in man in the use of his talents and attributes. Thus it is the nature of his will and is good or bad. A man who acts without settled principles, with no uniformity, has no character. A man may have a good heart and yet no character because he is dependent upon impulses and does not act according to maxims. Firmness and unity of principle are essential to the character.
86. The more one presupposes that his own power will suffice him to realize what he desires the more practical is that desire. When I treat a man contemptuously, I can inspire him with no practical desire to appreciate my grounds of truth. When I treat anyone as worthless, I can inspire him with no desire to do right.
87. The evil effect of science upon men is principally this, that by far the greatest number of those who wish to display a knowledge of it accomplishes no improvement at all of the understanding, but only a perversity of it, not to mention that it serves most of them as a tool of vanity.
88. Man’s greatest concern is to know how he shall properly fill his place in the universe and correctly understand what he must be in order to be a man.
89. I am an investigator by inclination. I feel a great thirst for knowledge and an impatient eagerness to advance, also satisfaction at each progressive step. There was a time when I thought that all this could constitute the honor of humanity, and I despised the mob, which knows nothing about it. Rousseau set me straight. This dazzling excellence vanishes; I learn to honor men and would consider myself much less useful than common laborers if I did not believe that this consideration could give all the others a value, to establish the rights of humanity.
90. In the metaphysical elements of aesthetics the various nonmoral feelings are to be made use of; in the elements of moral metaphysics the various moral feelings of men, according to the differences in sex, age, education, and government, of races and climates, are to be employed.
91. In the natural state, no concept of God can arise, and the false one that one makes for himself is harmful. Hence the theory of natural religion can be true only where there is no science; therefore it cannot bind all men together.
92. Man has his own inclinations and a natural will which, in his actions, by means of his free choice, he follows and directs. There can be nothing more dreadful than that the actions of one man should be subject to the will of another; hence no abhorrence can be more natural than that which a man has for slavery. And it is for this reason that a child cries and becomes embittered when he must do what others wish when no one has taken the trouble to make it agreeable to him. He wants to be a man soon so that he can do as he himself likes.
98. For instance, if you have by a lie hindered a man who is even now planning a murder, you are legally responsible for all the consequences. But if you have strictly adhered to the truth, public justice can find no fault with you, be the unforeseen consequence it may be. It is possible that whilst you have honestly answered Yes to the murderer’s question, whether his intended victim is in the house, the latter may have gone out unobserved, and so not have come in the way of the murderer, and the deed, therefore, have not been done; whereas, if you lied and said he was not in the house, and he had really gone out (though unknown to you) so that the murderer met him as he went, and executed his purpose on him, then you might with justice be accused as the cause of his death. For, if you had spoken the truth as well as you knew it, perhaps the murderer while seeking for his enemy in the house might have been caught by neighbors coming up and the deed been prevented.
99. That religion in which I must know in advance that something is a divine command in order to recognize it as my duty is the revealed religion (or the one standing in need of a revelation); in contrast, that religion in which I must first know that something is my duty before I can accept it as a divine injunction is a natural religion. … When religion is classified not with reference to its first origin and its inner possibility (here it is divided into natural and revealed religion) but with respect to its characteristics which make it capable of being shared widely with others, it can be of two kinds: either the natural religion, of which (once it has arisen) everyone can be convinced through his own reason, or a learned religion, of which one can convince others only through the agency of learning (in and through which they must be guided). … A religion, accordingly, can be natural, and at the same time revealed, when it is so constituted that men could and ought to have discovered it of themselves merely through the use of their reason, although they would not have come upon it so early, or over such a wide area, as is required. Hence a revelation thereof at a given time and in a given place might well be wise and very advantageous to the human race, in that, when once the religion thus introduced is here, and has been made known publicly, everyone can henceforth by himself and with his own reason convinces himself of its truth. In this event, the religion is objectively a natural religion, though subjectively one that has been revealed.
100. There is needed, no doubt, a body of servants (ministerium) of the invisible church, but not officials (officiales), in other words, teachers but not dignitaries, because in the rational religion of every individual there does not yet exist a church as a universal union (omnitudo colectiva).
101. Let us suppose there was a teacher of whom a historical record (or, at least, a widespread belief which is not basically disputable) reports that he was the first to expound publicly a pure and searching religion, comprehensible to the whole world. … Suppose that all he did was done even in the face of a dominant ecclesiastical faith which was onerous and not conducive to moral ends (a faith whose perfunctory worship can serve as a type of all the other faiths, at bottom merely statutory, which were current in the world at the time). Suppose, further, we find that he had made this universal religion of reason the highest and indispensable condition of every religious faith whatsoever … and this without further adding to this faith burdensome new ordinances or wishing to transform acts which he had initiated into peculiar holy practices, required in themselves as being constituent elements of religion. After this description one will not fail to recognize the person who can be referenced, not indeed as the founder of the religion which, free from every dogma, is engraved in all men’s hearts (for it does not have its origin in an arbitrary will), but as the founder of the first true church.
102. He [Jesus] claims that not the observance of outer civil or statutory churchly duties but the pure moral disposition of the heart alone can make man well-pleasing to God (Matthew V, 20-48); … that injury done one’s neighbor can be repaired only through satisfaction rendered to the neighbor himself, not through acts of divine worship (V, 24). Thus, he says, does he intend to do full justice to the Jewish law (V, 17); whence it is obvious that not scriptural scholarship but the pure religion of reason must be the law’s interpreter, for according to the letter, it allowed the very opposite of all this. Furthermore, he does not leave unnoticed, in his designations of the straight gate and the narrow way, the misconstruction of the law in which men allow themselves in order to evade their true moral duty, holding themselves immune through having fulfilled their churchly duty (VII, 13). He further requires of these pure dispositions that they manifest themselves also in works (VII, 16) and, on the other hand, denies the insidious hope of those who imagine that, through invocation and praise of the Supreme Lawgiver in the person of His envoy, they will make up for their lack of good works and ingratiate themselves into favor (VII, 21). Regarding these works he declares that they ought to be performed publicly, as an example for imitation (V, 16), and in a cheerful mood, not as actions extorted from slaves (VI, 16); and that thus, from a small beginning in the sharing and spreading of such dispositions, religion, like a grain of seed in good soil, or a ferment of goodness, would gradually, through its inner power, grow into a kingdom of God (XIII, 31-33).
103. He [Jesus] combines all duties (1) in one universal rule (which includes within itself both the inner and the outer moral relations of men), namely: Perform your duty for no motive other than unconditioned esteem for duty itself, i.e., love God (the Legislator of all duties) above all else; and (2) in a particular rule, that, namely, which concerns man’s external relation to other men as universal duty: Love everyone as yourself, i.e., further his welfare from good-will that is immediate and not derived from motives of self-advantage. These commands are not mere laws of virtue but precepts of holiness which we ought to pursue, and the very pursuit of them is called virtue. Accordingly, he destroys the hope of all who intend to wait upon this moral goodness quite passively, with their hands in their laps, as though it were a heavenly gift which descends from on high. He who leaves unused the natural predisposition to goodness which lies in human nature (like a talent entrusted to him) in lazy confidence that a higher moral influence will no doubt supply the moral character and completeness which he lacks, is confronted with the threat that even the good which, by virtue of his natural predisposition, he may have done, will not be allowed to stand him instead because of this neglect (XXV, 29).
104. When the man governed by self-interest, the god of this world, does not renounce it but merely refines it by the use of reason and extends it beyond the constricting boundary of the present, he is represented (Luke XVI, 3-9) like one who, in his very person [as a servant], defrauds his master [self- interest] and wins from him sacrifices in behalf of “duty.”
105. Christianity possesses the great advantage over Judaism of being represented as coming from the mouth of the first Teacher not as a statutory but as a moral religion, and as thus entering into the closest relation with reason so that, through reason, it was able of itself, without historical learning, to be spread at all times and among all peoples with the greatest trustworthiness.
106. Alles, was außer dem guten Lebenswandel der Mensch noch thun zu können vermeint, um Gott wohlgefällig zu werden, ist bloßer Religionswahn und Afterdienst Gottes.
107. Whatever, over and above good life conduct, man fancies that he can do to become well-pleasing to God is a mere religious delusion.
108. The veneration of mighty invisible beings, which was extorted from helpless man through natural fear rooted in the sense of his impotence …
109. We can indeed recognize a tremendous difference in manner, but not in principle, between a shaman of the Tunguses and a European prelate: … for, as regards principle, they both belong to one and the same class, namely, the class of those who let their worship of God consist in what in itself can never make man better (in faith in certain statutory dogmas or celebration of certain arbitrary observances). Only those who mean to find the service of God solely in the disposition to good life conduct distinguish themselves from those others, by virtue of having passed over to a wholly different principle.
110. The question here is not, “How conscience ought to be guided? For Conscience is its own General and Leader; it is therefore enough that each man has one. What we want to know is, how conscience can be her own Ariadne, and disentangle herself from the mazes even of the most traveled and complicated casuistical theology. Here is an ethical proposition that stands in need of no proof: No Action May At Any Time Be Hazarded On The Uncertainty That Perchance It May Not Be Wrong. Hence the Consciousness, that Any Action I am about to perform is Right, is in itself a most immediate and imperative duty. What actions are right, – what wrong – is a matter for the understanding, not for conscience.
111. Although individuals who have begun to awake to freedom of cogitation, after having long unconsciously slumbered under the yoke of a belief (e.g. Protestants), do straightway deem themselves ennobled, in proportion to their articles of belief are scanty; yet, singularly enough, they whose understandings still lie dormant, cling to a very different principle of safety. “Better Believe Too Much Than Believe Too Little,” is here the adage; for whatever is done beyond and above what is a duty, cannot in any event harm, but may perchance to good. Upon this delusive dream, which would make dishonesty the very spirit and soul of religious confession, is based on the well-known argumentum a tuto, which obtains a more easy and extended currency, because religion compensates for every fault, and hence also for dishonesty in adopting it. If, says the scholar, what I profess to believe concerning the Godhead is correct, then I have precisely hit the very truth. Should, on the other hand, the articles contain an error, still, as there is nothing in them morally improper, then have I merely assented to something superfluous and unnecessary, by all which I have no doubt molested, but certainly not incriminated myself. The peril arising out of the improbity of his profession – The Lesson of Conscience-necessarily undergone, when what is declared in the presence of God to be certain, which mankind must nevertheless know not to be so constituted as to admit of being affirmed with unconditioned certainty, are all overlooked by this dishonest maxim, And Indeed Pass With The Hypocrite For Nothing. The genuine safety principle of true religion is contrariwise as follows. Whatever is a mean or condition of future bliss, unknown to naked reason, and promulgated singly by revelation, can strike root in my conviction, just like any other history; and so far forth as it does not militate against morality, cannot be absolutely false. Besides leaving this point totally undecided, I may unquestionably trust that whatever salutary there may lie in a document, will stand me in good stead, provided I do not by my moral short-coming make myself unworthy of it. In this maxim, there is real moral safety, viz. That conscience is not violated, and more cannot be demanded from mankind. There is, moreover, an utmost danger and insecurity in that lauded stratagem of expediency, whereby we think astutely to evade any disadvantageous sequences that may spring from unbelieving nonconformity. Thus tampering with either party, we destroy our credit with both.
112. The universal and lasting establishment of peace constitutes not merely a part, but the whole final purpose and end of the science of right as viewed within the limits of reason.
113. Even philosophers will praise war as ennobling mankind, forgetting the Greek who said: War is bad in that it begets more evil than it kills.
Quotes On Critique of Practical Reason
114. The inscrutable wisdom through which we exist is not less worthy of veneration in respect to what it denies us than in respect to what it has granted.
115. Two things fill the mind with ever-increasing wonder and awe, the more often and the more intensely the mind of thought is drawn to them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.
116. Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more often we reflect on them: the starry heavens above and the moral law within. I have not to search for them and conjecture them as though they were veiled in darkness or were in the transcendent region beyond my horizon; I see them before me and connect them directly with the consciousness of my existence. The former begins from the place I occupy in the external world of sense, and enlarges my connection therein to an unbounded extent with worlds upon worlds and systems of systems, and moreover into limitless times of their periodic motion, its beginning and continuance. The second begins from my invisible self, my personality, and exhibits me in a world which has true infinity, but which is traceable only by the understanding, and with which I discern that I am not in a merely contingent but in a universal and necessary connection, as I am also thereby with all those visible worlds. The former view of a countless multitude of worlds annihilates as it were my importance as an animal creature, which after it has been for a short time provided with vital power, one knows not how must again give back the matter of which it was formed to the planet it inhabits (a mere speck in the universe). The second, on the contrary, infinitely elevates my worth as intelligence by my personality, in which the moral law reveals to me a life independent of animality and even of the whole sensible world, at least so far as may be inferred from the destination assigned to my existence by this law, a destination not restricted to conditions and limits of this life, but reaching into the infinite.
117. Morality is not properly the doctrine of how we may make ourselves happy, but how we may make ourselves worthy of happiness.
Immanuel Kant Famous Quotes
118. The body is a temple.
119. Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.
Kant Philosophy Quotes
120. Since the narrower or wider community of the peoples of the earth has developed so far that a violation of rights in one place is felt throughout the world, the idea of a cosmopolitan right is not a fantastical, high-flown, or exaggerated notion. It is a complement to the unwritten code of civil and international law, necessary for the public rights of mankind in general and thus for the realization of perpetual peace.
Immanuel Kant Quotes On Ethics
121. Happiness is not an ideal of reason but of imagination, resting solely on empirical grounds.
122. Beneficence is a duty. He who often practices this, and sees his beneficent purpose succeed, comes at last really to love him whom he has benefited. When, therefore, it is said, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” this does not mean, “Thou shalt first of all love, and by means of love (in the next place) do him good”; but: “Do good to thy neighbor, and this beneficence will produce in thee the love of men (as a settled habit of inclination to beneficence).”
123. There are three juridical attributes that inseparably belong to the citizen by right. These are:
- Constitutional freedom, as the right of every citizen to have to obey no other law than that to which he has given his consent or approval;
- Civil equality, as the right of the citizen to recognize no one as a superior among the people in relation to himself; and
- Political independence, as the right to owe his existence and continuance in society not to the arbitrary will of another, but to his own rights and powers as a member of the commonwealth.
124. Suicide evokes revulsion with horror because everything in nature seeks to preserve itself: a damaged tree, a living body, an animal; and in man, then, is freedom, which is the highest degree of life, and constitutes the worth of it, to become now a principle for self-destruction? This is the most horrifying thing imaginable. For anyone who has already got so far as to be master, at any time, over his own life, is also master over the life of anyone else; for him, the door stands open to every crime, and before he can be seized he is ready to spirit himself away out of the world. So suicide evokes horror, in that a man thereby puts himself below the beasts. We regard suicide as a carcass, whereas we feel pity for one who meets his end through fate.
125. A person who already displays … cruelty to animals is also no less hardened towards men. We can already know the human heart, even in regard to animals.
126. The more we devote ourselves to observing animals and their behavior, the more we love them, on seeing how greedy they care for their young; in such a context, we cannot even contemplate cruelty to a wolf. Leibnitz put the grub he had been observing back on the tree with its leaf, lest he should be guilty of doing any harm to it. It upsets a man to destroy such a creature for no reason, and this tenderness is subsequently transferred to man.
127. Thus our duties to animals are indirect duties to humanity.
Kant Quotes On Freedom
128. Freedom is the alone unoriginated birthright of man, and belongs to him by force of his humanity, and is independence on the will and co-action of every other in so far as this consists with every other person’s freedom.
Immanuel Kant Quotes On Morality
129. Men will not understand that when they fulfill their duties to men, they fulfill thereby God’s commandments; that they are consequently always in the service of God, as long as their actions are moral, and that it is absolutely impossible to serve God otherwise.
130. As everybody likes to be honored, so people imagine that God also wants to be honored. They forget that the fulfillment of duty towards men is the only honor adequate to him. Thus is formed the conception of religion of worship, instead of merely moral religion. Apart from moral conduct, all that man thinks himself able to do in order to become acceptable to God is mere superstition and religious folly. If once a man has come to the idea of a service that is not purely moral, but is supposed to be agreeable to God himself, or capable of propitiating him, there is little difference between the several ways of serving him. All these ways are of equal value. Whether the devotee accomplishes his statutory walk to the church, or whether he undertakes a pilgrimage to the sanctuaries of Loretto and Palestine, whether he repeats his prayer-formulas with his lips, or like the Tibetan, uses a prayer-wheel is quite indifferent. As the illusion of thinking that a man can justify himself before God in any way by acts of worship is religious superstition, so the illusion that he can obtain this justification by the so-called intercourse with God is religious mysticism (Schwärmerei). Such superstition leads inevitably to sacerdotalism (Pfaffenthum) which will always be found where the essence is sought not in principles of morality, but in statutory commandments, rules of faith, and observances.
131. Religion should be successively freed from all statutes based on history, and one purely moral religion rules overall in order that God might be all in all. The veil must fall. The leading string of sacred tradition with all its appendices becomes by degrees useless and at last a fetter. The humiliating difference between laymen and clergymen must disappear, and equality springs from true liberty. All this, however, must not be expected from an exterior revolution, which acts violently, and depends upon fortune In the principle of pure moral religion, which is a sort of divine revelation constantly taking place in the soul of man, must be sought the ground for a passage to the new order of things, which will be accomplished by slow and successive reforms.
132. Have patience a while; slanders are not long-lived. Truth is the child of time; herelong she shall appear to vindicate thee.
133. The death of dogma is the birth of morality.
134. By a lie, a man throws away and, as it were, annihilates his dignity as a man. A man who himself does not believe what he tells another has even less worth than if he were a mere thing, makes himself a mere deceptive appearance of man, not man himself.
135. I come now to another part of my system, and because it suggests a lofty idea of the plan of creation, it appears to me as the most seductive. The sequence of ideas that led us to it is very simple and natural. They are as follows: let us imagine a system of stars gathered together in a common plane, like those of the Milky Way, but situated so far away from us that even with the telescope we cannot distinguish the stars composing it; let us assume that its distance, compared to that separating us from the stars of the Milky Way, is the same proportion as the Milky Way is to the distance from the earth to the sun; such a stellar world will appear to the observer, who contemplates it at so enormous a distance, only as a little spot feebly illumined and subtending a very small angle; its shape will be circular, if its plane is perpendicular to the line of sight, elliptical if it is seen obliquely. The faintness of its light, its form, and its appreciable diameter will obviously distinguish such a phenomenon from the isolated stars around it. We do not need to seek far in the observations of astronomers to meet with such phenomena. They have been seen by various observers, who have wondered at their strange appearance, have speculated about them, and have suggested sometimes the most amazing explanations, sometimes theories which were more rational, but which had no more foundation than the former. We refer to the nebulæ, or, more precisely, to a particular kind of celestial body which M. de Maupertuis describes as follows: “These are small luminous patches, only slightly more brilliant than the dark background of the sky; they have this in common, that their shapes are more or less open ellipses; and their light is far more feeble than that of any other objects to be perceived in the heavens”. It is much more natural and reasonable to assume that a nebula is not a unique and solitary sun, but a system of numerous suns, which appear crowded, because of their distance, into a space so limited that their light, which would be imperceptible were each of them isolated, suffices, owing to their enormous numbers, to give a pale and uniform luster. Their analogy with our own system of stars; their form, which is precisely what it should be according to our theory; the faintness of their light, which denotes an infinite distance; all are in admirable accord and lead us to consider these elliptical spots as systems of the same order as our own—in a word, to be Milky Ways similar to the one whose constitution we have explained. And if these hypotheses, in which analogy and observation consistently lend mutual support, have the same merit as formal demonstrations, we must consider the existence of such systems as demonstrated…
We see that scattered through space out to infinite distances, there exist similar systems of stars [nebulous stars, nebulæ], and that creation, in the whole extent of its infinite grandeur, is everywhere organized into systems whose members are in relation with one another. A vast field lies open to discoveries, and observations alone will give the key.
Best Kant Quotes
136. Enlightenment is man’s leaving his self-caused immaturity.
137. 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 a lack of intelligence, but by a lack of determination and courage to use one’s intelligence without being guided by another.
138. It is so easy to be immature. If I have a book to serve as my understanding, a pastor to serve as my conscience, a physician to determine my diet for me, and so on, I need not exert myself at all. I need not think if only I can pay: others will readily undertake the irksome work for me.
139. Through laziness and cowardice a large part of mankind, even after nature has freed them from alien guidance, gladly remain immature.
140. It is because of laziness and cowardice that it is so easy for others to usurp the role of guardians. It is so comfortable to be a minor!
141. The guardians who have kindly undertaken the supervision will see to it that by far the largest part of mankind, including the entire “beautiful sex,” should consider the step into maturity, not only as difficult but as very dangerous.
142. After having made their domestic animals dumb and having carefully prevented these quiet creatures from daring to take any step beyond the lead-strings to which they have fastened them, these guardians then show them the danger which threatens them, should they attempt to walk alone.
143. It is difficult for the isolated individual to work himself out of the immaturity which has become almost natural for him. He has even become fond of it and for the time being is incapable of employing his own intelligence because he has never been allowed to make the attempt. Statutes and formulas, these mechanical tools of serviceable use, or rather misuse, of his natural faculties, are the ankle-chains of a continuous immaturity. Whoever threw it off would make an uncertain jump over the smallest trench because he is not accustomed to such free movement. Therefore there are only a few who have pursued a firm path and have succeeded in escaping from immaturity by their own cultivation of the mind.
144. There will always be some people who think for themselves, even among the self-appointed guardians of the great mass who, after having thrown off the yoke of immaturity themselves, will spread about them the spirit of a reasonable estimate of their own value and of the need for every man to think for himself.
145. A public can only arrive at enlightenment slowly. Through revolution, the abandonment of personal despotism may be engendered and the end of profit-seeking and domineering oppression may occur, but never a true reform of the state of mind. Instead, new prejudices, just like the old ones, will serve as the guiding reins of the great, unthinking mass.
146. All that is required for this enlightenment is freedom; and particularly the least harmful of all that may be called freedom, namely, the freedom for man to make public use of his reason in all matters. But I hear people clamor on all sides: Don’t argue! The officer says: Don’t argue, drill! The tax collector: Don’t argue, pay! The pastor: Don’t argue, believe!
The public use of a man’s reason must be free at all times, and this alone can bring enlightenment among men…
147. Whatever concept one may hold, from a metaphysical point of view, concerning the freedom of the will, certainly its appearances, which are human actions, like every other natural event are determined by universal laws. However obscure their causes, history, which is concerned with narrating these appearances, permits us to hope that if we attend to the play of freedom of the human will in the large, we may be able to discern a regular movement in it and that what seems complex and chaotic in the single individual may be seen from the standpoint of the human race as a whole to be a steady and progressive though slow evolution of its original endowment.
148. Since men in their endeavors behave, on the whole, not just instinctively, like the brutes, nor yet like rational citizens of the world according to some agreed-on plan, no history of man conceived according to a plan seems to be possible, as it might be possible to have such a history of bees or beavers. One cannot suppress a certain indignation when one sees men’s actions on the great world stage and finds, besides the wisdom that appears here and there among individuals, everything in the large woven together from folly, childish vanity, even from childish malice and destructiveness. In the end, one does not know what to think of the human race, so conceited in its gifts.
149. All-natural capacities of a creature are destined to evolve completely to their natural end.
150. In man (as the only rational creature on earth) those natural capacities which are directed to the use of his reason are to be fully developed only in the race, not in the individual.
151. Reason in a creature is a faculty of widening the rules and purposes of the use of all its powers far beyond natural instinct; it acknowledges no limits to its projects. Reason itself does not work instinctively but requires trial, practice, and instruction in order gradually to progress from one level of insight to another. Therefore a single man would have to live excessively long in order to learn to make full use of all his natural capacities. Since Nature has set only a short period for his life, she needs a perhaps unreckonable series of generations, each of which passes its own enlightenment to its successor in order finally to bring the seeds of enlightenment to that degree of development in our race which is completely suitable to Nature’s purpose. This point of time must be, at least as an ideal, the goal of man’s efforts, for otherwise, his natural capacities would have to be counted as for the most part vain and aimless. This would destroy all practical principles, and Nature, whose wisdom must serve as the fundamental principle in judging all her other offspring, would thereby make man alone a contemptible plaything.
152. Nature does nothing in vain, and in the use of means to her goals, she is not prodigal. Her giving to man reason and the freedom of the will which depends upon it is a clear indication of her purpose. Man accordingly was not to be guided by instinct, not nurtured and instructed with ready-made knowledge; rather, he should bring forth everything out of his own resources.
153. The means employed by Nature to bring about the development of all the capacities of men is their antagonism in society, so far as this is, in the end, the cause of a lawful order among men.
154. The greatest problem for the human race, to the solution of which Nature drives man, is the achievement of a universal civic society that administers law among men.
155. This problem is the most difficult and the last to be solved by mankind.
156. The master is himself an animal and needs a master. Let him begin it as he will, it is not to be seen how he can procure a magistracy that can maintain public justice and which is itself just, whether it be a single person or a group of several elected persons. For each of them will always abuse his freedom if he has none above him to exercise force in accord with the laws. The highest master should be just in himself, and yet a man. This task is, therefore, the hardest of all; indeed, its complete solution is impossible, for from such crooked wood as man is made of, nothing perfectly straight can be built. That it is the last problem to be solved follows also from this: it requires that there be a correct conception of a possible constitution, great experience gained in many paths of life, and — far beyond these — a good will ready to accept such a constitution. Three such things are very hard, and if they are ever to be found together, it will be very late and after many vain attempts.
157. Out of timber so crooked as that from which man is made nothing entirely straight can be built.
158. From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned.
159. The problem of establishing a perfect civic constitution is dependent upon the problem of a lawful external relation among states and cannot be solved without a solution to the latter problem.
160. What is the use of working toward a lawful civic constitution among individuals, i.e., toward the creation of a commonwealth? The same unsociability which drives a man to this causes any single commonwealth to stand in unrestricted freedom in relation to others; consequently, each of them must expect from another precisely the evil which oppressed the individuals and forced them to enter into a lawful civic state. The friction among men, the inevitable antagonism, which is a mark of even the largest societies and political bodies, is used by Nature as a means to establish a condition of quiet and security. Through war, through the taxing and never-ending accumulation of armament, through the want which any state, even in peacetime, must suffer internally, Nature forces them to make at first inadequate and tentative attempts; finally, after devastations, revolutions, and even complete exhaustion, she brings them to that which reason could have told them at the beginning and with far less sad experience, to wit, to step from the lawless condition of savages into a league of nations. In a league of nations, even the smallest state could expect security and justice, not from its own power and by its own decrees, but only from this great league of nations … from a united power acting according to decisions reached under the laws of their united will.
161. All wars are accordingly so many attempts (not in the intention of man, but in the intention of Nature) to establish new relations among states, and through the destruction or at least the dismemberment of all of them to create new political bodies, which, again, either internally or externally, cannot maintain themselves and which must thus suffer like revolutions; until finally, through the best possible civic constitution and common agreement and legislation in external affairs, a state is created which, like a civic commonwealth, can maintain itself automatically.
162. Is it reasonable to assume a purposiveness in all the parts of nature and to deny it to the whole?
163. To a high degree, we are, through art and science, cultured. We are civilized — perhaps too much for our own good — in all sorts of social grace and decorum. But to consider ourselves as having reached morality — for that, much is lacking. The ideal of morality belongs to culture; its use for some simulacrum of morality in the love of honor and outward decorum constitutes mere civilization. So long as states waste their forces in vain and violent self-expansion, and thereby constantly thwart the slow efforts to improve the minds of their citizens by even withdrawing all support from them, nothing in the way of moral order is to be expected. For such an end, a long internal working of each political body toward the education of its citizens is required. Everything good that is not based on a morally good disposition, however, is nothing but pretense and glittering misery. In such a condition the human species will no doubt remain until, in the way I have described, it works its way out of the chaotic conditions of its international relations.
164. The history of mankind can be seen, in the large, as the realization of Nature’s secret plan to bring forth a perfectly constituted state as the only condition in which the capacities of mankind can be fully developed, and also bring forth that external relation among states which is perfectly adequate to this end.
165. Everyone can see that philosophy can have her belief in a millennium, but her millenarianism is not Utopian, since the Idea can help, though only from afar, to bring the millennium to pass. The only question is: Does Nature reveal anything of a path to this end? And I say: She reveals something, but very little. This great revolution seems to require so long for its completion that the short period during which humanity has been following this course permits us to determine its path and the relation of the parts to the whole with as little certainty as we can determine, from all previous astronomical observation, the path of the sun and his host of satellites among the fixed stars. Yet, on the fundamental premise of the systematic structure of the cosmos and from the little that has been observed, we can confidently infer the reality of such a revolution.
166. Moreover, human nature is so constituted that we cannot be indifferent to the most remote epoch our race may come to, if only we may expect it with certainty. Such indifference is even less possible for us since it seems that our own intelligent action may hasten this happy time for our posterity. For that reason, even faint indications of approach to it are very important to us.
167. A philosophical attempt to work out a universal history according to a natural plan directed to achieving the civic union of the human race must be regarded as possible and, indeed, as contributing to this end of Nature.
Kant Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals Quotes
168. A metaphysics of morals is therefore indispensably necessary, not merely because of a motive to speculation — for investigating the source of the practical basic principles that lie a priori in our reason — but also because morals themselves remain subject to all sorts of corruption as long as we are without that clue and supreme norm by which to appraise them correctly…
169. I ought never to act except in such a way that I could also hope that my maxim should become a universal law.
170. I do not, therefore, need any penetrating acuteness to see what I have to do in order that my volition is morally good. Inexperienced in the course of the world, incapable of being prepared for whatever might come to pass in it, I ask myself only: can you also will that your maxim become a universal law?
171. Even if there never have been actions arising from such pure sources, what is at issue here is not whether this or that happened; that, instead, reason by itself and independently of all appearances commands what ought to happen; that, accordingly, actions of which the world has perhaps so far given no example, and whose very practicability might be very much doubted by one who bases everything on experience, are still inflexibly commanded by reason … because … duty … lies, prior to all experience, in the idea of a reason determining the will by means of apriori grounds.
172. Morality is thus the relation of actions to the autonomy of the will, that is, to a possible giving of universal law through its maxims. An action that can coexist with the autonomy of the will is permitted; one that does not accord with it is forbidden. A will whose maxims necessarily harmonize with the laws of autonomy is a holy, absolutely good will. The dependence upon the principle of autonomy of a will that is not absolutely good (moral necessitation) is an obligation. This, accordingly, cannot be attributed to a holy being. The objective of an action from obligation is called duty.
173. Happiness is not an ideal of reason, but of imagination, resting on merely empirical grounds.
174. In the kingdom of ends, everything has either a price or a dignity. What has a price can be replaced by something else as its equivalent; what on the other hand is raised above all price and therefore admits of no equivalent has a dignity.
175. Here as elsewhere human reason in its pure use, so long as it was not critically examined, has first tried all possible wrong ways before it succeeded in finding the one true way.
176. Even if civil society were to be dissolved by the consent of all its members (e.g., if a people inhabiting an island decided to separate and disperse throughout the world), the last murderer remaining in prison would first have to be executed, so that each has done to him what his deeds deserve and blood guilt does not cling to the people for not having insisted upon this punishment; for otherwise the people can be regarded as collaborators in his public violation of justice.
177. There is … only a single categorical imperative and it is this: Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.
178. Human freedom is realized in the adoption of humanity as an end in itself, for the one thing that no one can be compelled to do by another is to adopt a particular end.
179. Only the descent into the hell of self-knowledge can pave the way to godliness.
Kant Quotes on Metaphysics, Epistemology, Time, and Space
180. The use of the intellect in the sciences whose primitive concepts as well as axioms are given by sensuous intuition is only logical, that is, by it we only subordinate cognitions to one another according to their relative universality conformably to the principle of contradiction, phenomena to more general phenomena, and consequences of pure intuition to intuitive axioms. But in pure philosophy, such as metaphysics, in which the use of the intellect in respect to principles is real, that is to say, where the primary concept of things and relations and the very axioms are given originally by the pure intellect itself, and not being intuitions do not enjoy immunity from error, the method precedes the whole science, and whatever is attempted before its precepts are thoroughly discussed and firmly established is looked upon as rashly conceived and to be rejected among vain instances of mental playfulness.
181. The method of the science not being practiced much nowadays, except what logic prescribes to all sciences generally, that fit for the peculiar nature of metaphysics being simply ignored, it is no wonder that those who everlastingly turn the Sisyphean stone of this inquiry do not seem so far to have made much progress. Though here I neither can nor will expatiate upon so important and extensive a subject, I shall briefly shadow forth what constitutes no despicable part of this method, namely, the infection between sensuous and intellectual cognition, not only as creeping in on those incautious in the application of principles but even producing spurious principles under the appearance of axioms.
182. A spurious axiom of the first class is: Whatever is, is somewhere and sometimes.
they cudgel their brains with absurd questions, such as, for instance, why God did not make the world many centuries earlier. They persuade themselves that it is easy to conceive, to be sure, how God may discern what is present, that is, what is actually in the time in which he is, but how He may foresee what is future, that is, what is actually in the time in which He is not yet, they deem an intellectual difficulty; as if the existence of the Necessary Being descended through all the moments of an imaginary time, and, having already exhausted a part of His duration, saw before Him the eternity He was yet to live simultaneously with the present events of the world. All these difficulties upon proper insight into the notion of time vanish like smoke.
183. The prejudices of the second species, since they impose upon the intellect by the sensual conditions restricting the mind if it wishes in certain cases to attain to what is intellectual, lurk more deeply. One of them is that which affects knowledge of quantity, the other that affects knowledge of qualities generally. The former is: every actual multiplicity can be given numerically, and hence, every infinite quantity; the latter, whatever is impossible contradicts itself. In either of them the concept of time, it is true, does not enter into the very notion of the predicate, nor is it attributed as a qualification to the subject. But yet it serves as a means for forming an idea of the predicate, and thus, being a condition, affects the intellectual concept of the subject to the extent that the latter is only attained by its aid.
184. The spurious axioms of the third kind from conditions proper to the subject whence they are transferred rashly to the object are plentiful, not, as in those of the Second Class, because the only way to the intellectual concept lies through the sensuous data, but because only by the aid of the latter can the concept be applied to that which is given by experience, that is, can we know whether something is contained under a certain intellectual concept or not. To this class belongs the threadbare one of the schools: whatever exists continuously does at some time not exist. This spurious principle springs from the poverty of the intellect, having insight frequently into the nominal, rarely into the real, marks of contingency or necessity.
185. To these spurious principles must be added some others of great affinity with them… First, by which we assume that everything in the universe is done according to the order of nature, which principle by Epicurus was proclaimed without any restriction, and by all other philosophers unanimously with extremely rare exceptions, not to be admitted but from supreme necessity. The second is the partiality for unity proper to the philosophical mind, whence this wide-spread canon has flown forth: principles are not to be multiplied beyond supreme necessity, to which we give in our adhesion, not because we have insight into causal unity in the world either by reason or experience, but as seeking it by an impulse of the intellect which seems to itself to have by thus much advanced in the explication of phenomena, by as much as it is granted to it to descend from the same principle to a greater number of consequences. The third of this kind of principles is : matter neither originates nor perishes; all the changes in the world concern form only ; a postulate which on the recommendation of common sense has spread through all philosophical schools, not because it is to be taken as having been found so, or as having been demonstrated by arguments a priori, but because if we were to admit that matter itself is fleeting and transitory, nothing at all that is stable and lasting would be left any longer to serve for the explication of phenomena according to universal and perpetual laws, and hence nothing at all would be left for the exercise of the intellect.
186. Metaphysical principles are a priori in that they are not derived from external or internal experience. Metaphysical knowledge is philosophical cognition that comes from pure understanding and pure reason.
187. Concerning the kind of knowledge which can alone be called metaphysical: a. On the distinction between analytical and synthetical judgments in general. Analytical judgments are explicit. They express nothing in the predicate but what has already been actually thought of in the concept of the subject. Synthetical judgments are expansive. The predicate contains something that is not actually thought of in the concept of the subject. It amplifies knowledge by adding something to the subject’s concept. (b) The common principle of all analytical judgments is the law of contradiction. The predicate of an affirmative analytical judgment is already contained in the concept of the subject, of which it cannot be denied without contradiction. All analytical judgments are a priori. (c) Synthetical judgments require a principle that is different from the law of contradiction. (i) Judgments of experience are always synthetical. Analytical judgments are not based on experience. They are based merely on the subject’s concept. (ii) Mathematical judgments are all synthetical.
Pure mathematical knowledge is different from all other a priori knowledge. It is synthetical and cannot be known from mere conceptual analysis. Mathematics requires the intuitive construction of concepts. Arithmetical sums are the result of the addition of intuited counters. Geometrical concepts, such as “shortest distance,” are known only through intuition. (iii) Metaphysical judgments, properly so-called, are all synthetical. Concepts and judgments pertaining to metaphysics may be analytical. These may not be metaphysical but can be combined to make a priori, synthetical, metaphysical judgments. For example, the analytical judgment “substance only exists as subject” can be used to make the judgment “all substance is permanent,” which is a synthetical and properly metaphysical judgment.
188. A remark on the general division of judgment into analytical and synthetical. This division is critical but has not been properly recognized by previous philosophers.
189. The general question of the Prolegomena: Is metaphysics at all possible? The Critique of Pure Reason investigates this question synthetically. In it, an abstract examination of the concepts of the sources of pure reason results in knowledge of the actual science of metaphysics. The Prolegomena, on the other hand, starts with the known fact that there is actual synthetic a priori metaphysical knowledge of pure mathematics and pure natural science. From this knowledge, analytically, we arrive at the sources of the possibility of metaphysics.
190. The general problem: How is knowledge from pure reason possible? By using the analytical method, we start from the fact that there are actual synthetic a priori propositions and then inquire into the conditions of their possibility. In doing so, we learn the limits of pure reason.
191. Mathematics consists of synthetic a priori knowledge. How was it possible for human reason to produce such a priori knowledge? If we understand the origins of mathematics, we might know the basis of all knowledge that is not derived from experience.
192. All mathematical knowledge consists of concepts that are derived from intuitions. These intuitions, however, are not based on experience.
193. How is it possible to intuit anything a priori? How can the intuition of the object occur before the experience of the object?
194. My intuition of an object can occur before I experience an object if my intuition contains only the mere form of sensory experience.
195. We can intuit things a priori only through the mere form of sensuous intuition. In so doing, we can only know objects as they appear to us, not as they are in themselves, apart from our sensations. Mathematics is not an analysis of concepts. Mathematical concepts are constructed from a synthesis of intuitions. Geometry is based on the pure intuition of space. The arithmetical concept of number is constructed from the successive addition of units in time. Pure mechanics uses the time to construct motion. Space and time are pure a priori intuitions. They are the mere forms of our sensations and exist in us prior to all of our intuitions of objects. Space and time are a priori knowledge of a sensed object as it appears to an observer.
196. The problem of a priori intuition is solved. The pure a priori intuition of space and time is the basis of empirical a posteriori intuition. Synthetic a priori mathematical knowledge refers to empirically sensed objects. A priori intuition relates to the mere form of sensibility; it makes the appearance of objects possible. The a priori form of a phenomenal object is space and time. The posteriori matter of a phenomenal object is sensation, which is not affected by pure, a priori intuition. The subjective a priori pure forms of sensation, namely space and time, are the basis of mathematics and of all of the objective a posteriori phenomena to which mathematics refers.
197. The concept of pure, a priori intuition can be illustrated by geometrical congruence, the three-dimensionality of space, and the boundlessness of infinity. These cannot be shown or inferred from concepts. They can only be known through pure intuition. Pure mathematics is possible because we intuit space and time as the mere form of phenomena.
198. The difference between similar things which are not congruent cannot be made intelligible by understanding and thinking about any concept. They can only be made intelligible by being intuited or perceived. For example, the difference in chirality is of this nature. So, also, is the difference seen in mirror images. Right hands and ears are similar to left hands and ears. They are not, however, congruent. These objects are not things as they are apart from their appearance. They are known only through sensuous intuition. The form of external sensible intuition is space. Time is the form of internal sense. Time and space are mere forms of our sense intuition and are not qualities of things in themselves apart from our sensuous intuition. Remark I. Pure mathematics, including pure geometry, has objective reality when it refers to objects of sense. Pure mathematical propositions are not creations of imagination. They are necessarily valid of space and all of its phenomenal objects because a priori mathematical space is the foundational form of all a posteriori external appearance. Remark II. Berkeleyan Idealism denies the existence of things in themselves. The Critique of Pure Reason, however, asserts that it is uncertain whether or not external objects are given, and we can only know their existence as a mere appearance. Unlike Locke’s claim, space is also known as a mere appearance, not as a thing existing in itself. Remark III. Sensuous knowledge represents things only in the way that they affect our senses. Appearances, not things as they exist in themselves, are known through the senses. Space, time, and all appearances, in general, are mere modes of representation. Space and time are ideal, subjective, and exist a priori in all of our representations. They apply to all of the objects of the sensible world because these objects exist as mere appearances. Such objects are not dreams or illusions, though. The difference between truth and dreaming or illusion depends on the connection of representations according to rules of true experience. A false judgment can be made if we take a subjective representation as being objective. All the propositions of geometry are true of space and all of the objects that are in space. Therefore, they are true of all possible experiences. If space is considered to be the mere form of sensibility, the propositions of geometry can be known a priori concerning all objects of external intuition.
199. An observer cannot know anything about objects that exist in themselves, apart from being observed. Things in themselves cannot be known a priori because this would be a mere analysis of concepts. Neither can the nature of things in themselves be known a posteriori. Experience can never give laws of nature that describe how things in themselves must necessarily exist completely apart from an observer’s experience.
200. The universal science of nature contains a pure science of nature, as well as an empirical science of nature. The pure science of nature is a priori and expresses laws to which nature must necessarily conform. Two of its principles are “substance is permanent” and “every event has a cause.” How is it possible that there are such a priori universal laws of nature?
201. There is a priori knowledge of nature that precedes all experience. This pure knowledge is actual and can be confirmed by natural experience. We are not concerned with any so-called knowledge that cannot be verified by experience.
202. The a priori conditions that make experience possible are also the sources of the universal laws of nature. How is this possible?
203. Judgments of experience are empirical judgments that are valid for external objects. They require special pure concepts which have originated in pure understanding. All judging subjects will agree on their experience of the object. When a perception is subsumed under these pure concepts, it is changed into the objective experience. On the other hand, all empirical judgments that are only valid for the one judging subject are judgments of mere perception. These judgments of perception are not subsumed under a pure concept of understanding.
204. We cannot immediately and directly know an object as it is apart from the way that it appears. However, if we say that a judgment must be valid for all observers, then we are making a valid statement about an object. Judgments of experience are valid judgments about an object because they necessarily connect everyone’s perceptions of the object through the use of a pure concept of understanding.
205. A judgment of perception is a connection of perceptions in a subject’s mind. For example, “When the sun shines on a stone, the stone becomes warm.” A judgment of perception has no necessary universality and therefore no objective validity. A judgment of perception can become a judgment of experience, as in “The sun warms the stone.” This occurs when the subject’s perceptions are connected according to the form of a pure concept of understanding. These pure concepts of understanding are the general forms that any object must assume in order to be experienced.
206. This prolegomenon is a critique of the understanding and it discusses the form and content of experience. It is not empirical psychology that is concerned with the origin of experience. Experience consists of sense perceptions, judgments of perception, and judgments of experience. A judgment of experience includes what experience in general contains. This kind of judgment results when a sense perception and a judgment of perception are unified by a concept that makes the judgment necessary and valid for all perceivers.
207. The senses are intuit. The understanding thinks, or judges. Experience is generated when a concept of understanding is added to sense perception. The pure concepts of the understanding are concepts under which all sense perceptions must be subsumed before they can be used in judgments of experience. A synthesis of perception then becomes necessary, universally valid, and representative of an experienced object.
208. Pure a priori principles of possible experience bring mere phenomenal appearances under pure concepts of understanding. This makes the empirical judgment valid in reference to an external object. These principles are universal laws of nature that are known before any experience. This solves the second question “How is the pure science of nature possible?”. A logical system consists of the forms of all judgments in general. A transcendental system is made up of pure concepts which are the conditions of all synthetical, necessary judgments. A physical system, which is a universal and pure science of nature, contains pure principles of all possible experience.
209. The first physical principle of pure understanding subsumes all spatial and temporal phenomenal appearances under the concept of quantity. All appearances are extensive magnitudes. It is the principle of the axioms of intuition. The second physical principle subsumes sensation under the concept of quality. All sensations exhibit a degree, or intensive magnitude, of sensed reality. This is the principle of the anticipations of perception.
210. In order for a relationship between appearances to be valid as an objective experience, it must be formulated in accordance with an a priori concept. The concepts of substance/accident, cause/effect, and action/reaction (community) constitute a priori principles that turn subjective appearances into objective experiences. The concept of substance relates appearances to existence. The concepts of cause and community relate appearances to other appearances. The principles that are made of these concepts are the real, dynamical [ Newtonian ] laws of nature. Appearances are related to experience in general as being possible, actual, or necessary. Judgments of experience, that are thought or spoken, are formulated by using these modes of expression.
211. The table of the Universal Principles of Natural Science is perfect and complete. Its principles are limited only to possible experience. The principle of the axioms of intuition states that appearances in space and time are thought of as quantitative, having extensive magnitude. The principle of the anticipations of perception states that an appearance’s sensed reality has degree or intensive magnitude. The principles of the analogies of experience state that perceptual appearances, not things in themselves, are thought of as experienced objects, in accordance with a priori rules of the understanding.
212. Hume wrote that we cannot rationally comprehend cause and effect (causality). Kant added that we also cannot rationally comprehend substance and accident (subsistence) or action and reaction (community). Yet he denied that these concepts are derived from experience. He also denied that their necessity was false and merely an illusion resulting from habit. These concepts and the principles that they constitute are known before experience and are valid when they are applied to the experience of objects.
213. We cannot know anything about the relations of things in themselves or of mere appearances. When we speak or think about objects of experience, however, they must necessarily have the relations of subsistence, causality, and community. These concepts constitute the principles of the possibility of our experience.
214. With regard to causality, we start with the logical form of a hypothetical judgment. We can make a subjective judgment of perception and say, “If the sun shines long enough on a body, then the body will become warm.” This, however, is an empirical rule that is valid merely of appearances in one consciousness. If I want to make an objective, universally valid hypothetical judgment, however, I must make it in the form of causality. As such, I say, “The sun is the cause of heat.” This is a universal and necessary law that is valid for the possibility of objective experience. Experience is the valid knowledge of the way that appearances succeed each other as objects. This knowledge is expressed in the form of a hypothetical [if/then] judgment. The concept of causality refers to thoughts and statements about the way that successive appearances and perceptions are universally and necessarily experienced as objects, in any consciousness.
215. The principles that contain the reference of the pure concepts of the understanding to the sensed world can only be used to think or speak of experienced objects, not things in themselves. These pure concepts are not derived from experience. Experience is derived from these pure concepts. This solves Hume’s problem regarding the pure concept of causality. Pure mathematics and pure natural science can never refer to anything other than mere appearances. They can only represent either (1) that which makes experience in general possible, or (2) that which must always be capable of being represented in some possible particular experience.
216. By this method, we have gained definite knowledge with reference to metaphysics. Unscientific researchers could also say that we can never reach, with our reason, beyond experience. They, however, have no grounds for their assertion.
217. Former philosophers claimed that the sensible world was an illusion. The intelligible world, they said, was real and actual. Critical philosophy, however, acknowledges that objects of sense are mere appearances, but they are usually not illusions. They are appearances of a thing in itself, which cannot be directly known. Our pure concepts [causality, subsistence, etc.] and pure intuitions [space, time] refer only to objects of possible sense experience. They are meaningless when referred to as objects that cannot be experienced.
218. Our pure concepts of understanding are not derived from experience and they also contain strict necessity, which experience never attains. As a result, we are tempted to use them to think and speak about objects of thought that transcend experience. This is a transcendent and illegitimate use.
219. Unlike empirical concepts, which are grounded on sense perceptions, the pure concepts of the understanding are based on schemata. This is explained in the Critique of Pure Reason. The objects thus produced occur only in experience. In the Critique, it is explained that nothing that is beyond experience can be meaningfully thought by using pure concepts without sense perception.
220. The understanding, which thinks, should never wander beyond the bounds of experience. It keeps the imagination in check. The impossibility of thinking about unnatural beings should be demonstrated with scientific certainty.
221. The constitution of our five senses and the way that they provide data makes nature possible materially, as a totality of appearances in space and time. The constitution of our understanding makes nature possible formally, as a totality of rules that regulate appearances in order for them to be thought of as connected in experience. We derive the laws of nature from the conditions of their necessary unity in one consciousness. We can know, before any experience, the universal laws of nature because they are derived from our sensibility and understanding. Nature and the possibility of experience, in general, are the same. The understanding does not derive it is a priori law from nature. The understanding prescribes laws to nature.
222. The necessary laws of nature that we seem to discover in perceived objects have actually been derived from our own understanding.
223. According to natural law, gravitation decreases inversely as the square of the surfaces, over which this force spreads, increases. Is this law found in space itself? No, it is found in the way that the understanding knows space. The understanding is the origin of the universal order of nature. It comprehends all appearances under its own laws. In so doing, it produces the form by which all experienced objects that appear to us are necessarily subject to its laws.
224. The truth or the objective reality of the concepts that are used in metaphysics cannot be discovered or confirmed by experience. Metaphysics is subjectively actual because its problems occur to everyone as a result of the nature of their reason. How, however, is metaphysics objectively possible? The concepts of reason are transcendent because they are concerned with the absolute totality of all possible experiences. Reason doesn’t know when to stop asking, “why?.” Such an absolute totality cannot be experienced. The corresponding objects of the necessary Ideas of reason cannot be given in experience and are misleading illusions. Only through self–knowledge can reason prevent the consideration of the immanent, subjective, guiding Ideas as being transcendent objects.
225. In order to establish metaphysics as a science, a clear distinction must be made between the categories (pure concepts of the understanding) and the Ideas (pure concepts of reason).
226. The concepts of understanding appear in experience. They are confirmed by experience. On the other hand, the transcendent concepts of reason cannot be confirmed or refuted by experience because they don’t appear in experience. Reason must introspectively investigate itself in order to avoid errors, illusions, and dialectical problems.
227. The origin of transcendental Ideas is the three forms of syllogism that reason uses in its activity. The first Idea is based on categorical syllogism. It is the psychological Idea of the complete substantial subject. This Idea results in a paralogism, or unwittingly false dialectical reasoning. The second Idea is based on the hypothetical syllogism. It is the cosmological Idea of the complete series of conditions. This Idea results in an antinomy, or contradiction. The third Idea is based on the disjunctive syllogism. It is the theological Idea of the complete complex of everything that is possible. This Idea results in the dialectical problem of the Ideal. In this way, reason and its claims are completely and systematically considered.
228. The Ideas of reason are useless, and even detrimental, to the understanding of nature. Is the soul a simple substance? Did the world have a beginning or did it always exist? Did a Supreme Being design nature? The reason, however, can help to make understanding complete. To do this, reason’s Ideas are thought of as though they are known objects.
229. The reason continues to ask “why?” and will not be satisfied until a final thing in itself is experienced and understood. This, however, is a deceitful illusion. This transcendent and unbounded abuse of knowledge must be restrained by toilsome, laborious scientific instruction.
230. Substance (subject) cannot be known. Only accidents (predicates) can be known. The substance is a mere Idea, not an object. Pure reason, however, wrongly wants to know the subject of every predicate. Every subject, however, is a predicate for yet another subject, and so on as far as our knowledge of predicates extends. We can never know an ultimate subject or absolute substance. We seem to have an ego, though, which is a thinking subject for our thoughts. The ego, however, is not known. It is only a concept less feeling of existence and a representation of something that is related to all thinking.
231. We can call this thinking self, or soul, a substance. We can say that is an ultimate subject that is not the predicate of yet another subject. Substances, though, are permanent. If we cannot prove that the soul is permanent, then it is an empty, insignificant concept. The synthetical a priori proposition “the thinking subject is permanent” can only be proved if it is an object of experience.
232. Substances can be said to be permanent only if we are going to associate them with possible or actual experiences. We can never think of substances as independent of all experience. The soul, or thinking substance, cannot be proved to be permanent and immortal, because death is the end of the experience. Only living beings can have experiences. We cannot prove anything about a person’s thinking substance (soul) after the person dies.
233. We know only appearances, not things in themselves. Actual bodies are external appearances in space. My soul, self, or ego is an internal appearance in time. Bodies, as appearances of my outer sense, do not exist apart from my thoughts. I myself, as an appearance of my inner sense, do not exist apart from being my representation in time and cannot be known to be immortal. Space and time are forms of my sensibility and whatever exists in them is a real appearance that I experience. These appearances are connected in space and time according to universal laws of experience. Anything that cannot be experienced in space or time is nothing to us and does not exist for us.
234. The Cosmological Idea is cosmological because it is concerned with sensually experienced objects and it is an Idea because the ultimate condition which it seeks can never be experienced. Because its objects can be sensed, the Cosmological Idea wouldn’t usually be considered to be a mere Idea. However, it outruns experience when it seeks the ultimate condition for all conditioned objects. In so doing, it is a mere Idea.
235. There are four Cosmological Ideas. They mistakenly refer to the completeness, which can never be experienced, of a series of conditions. Pure reason makes four kinds of contradictory assertions about these Ideas. These antinomies result from the nature of human reason and cannot be avoided. (1) Thesis: The world has a temporal and spatial beginning or limit. Antithesis: The world does not have a temporal and spatial beginning or limit. (2) Thesis: Everything in the world consists of something that is simple. Antithesis: Everything in the world does not consist of something that is simple. (3) Thesis: There are causes in the world that are, themselves, free and uncaused. Antithesis: There are no causes in the world that are, themselves, free and uncaused. (4) Thesis: In the series of causes in the world, there is a necessary, uncaused being. Antithesis: In the series of causes in the world, there is not a necessary, uncaused being.
236. This conflict between thesis and antithesis cannot be resolved dogmatically. Both are supported by proof. The conflict results when an observer considers a phenomenon (an observed occurrence) to be a thing in itself (an observed occurrence without an observer).
237. The falsehood of mere Ideas, which cannot be experienced, cannot be discovered by reference to experience. The hidden dialectic of the four natural Ideas of pure reason, however, reveals their false dogmatism. Reason’s assertions are based on universally admitted principles while contrary assertions are deduced from other universally acknowledged principles. Contradictory assertions are both false when they are based on a self–contradictory concept. There is no middle between the two false contradictory assertions and therefore nothing is thought by the self–contradictory concept on which they are based.
238. Experienced objects exist, in the way that they appear, only in experience. They do not exist, in the way that they appear, apart from a spectator’s thoughts. In the first two antinomies, both the thesis and the antithesis are false because they are founded on a contradictory concept. With regard to the first antinomy, I cannot say that the world is infinite or finite. Infinite or finite space and time are mere Ideas and can never be experienced. With regard to the second antinomy, I cannot say that a body consists of an infinite or a finite number of simple parts. The division, into simple parts, of an experienced body, reaches only as far as the possible experience reaches.
239. The first two antinomies were false because they considered an appearance to be a thing–in–itself (a thing as it is apart from being an appearance). In the last two antinomies, due to a misunderstanding, an appearance was mistakenly opposed to a thing–in–itself. The theses are true of the world of things–in–themselves, or the intelligible world. The antitheses are true of the world of appearances, or the phenomenal world. In the third antinomy, the contradiction is resolved if we realize that natural necessity is a property of things only as mere appearances, while freedom is attributed to things–in–themselves. An action of a rational being has two aspects or states of being: (1) as an appearance, it is an effect of some previous cause and is a cause of some subsequent effect, and (2) as a thing–in–itself it is free or spontaneous. Necessity and freedom can both be predicated on reason. In the world of appearances, motives necessarily cause actions. On the other hand, rational Ideas and maxims, or principles of conduct, command what a reasonable being ought to do. All actions of rational beings, as appearances, are strictly determined by causality. The same actions are free when the rational being acts as a thing–in– itself in accordance with mere practical reason. The fourth antinomy is solved in the same way as the third. Nowhere in the world of sense experiences and appearances is there an absolutely necessary being. The whole world of sense experiences and appearances, however, is the effect of an absolutely necessary being which can be thought of as a thing–in–itself which is not in the world of appearances.
240. This antinomy or self–conflict of reason results when the reason applies its principles to the sensible world. Antinomy cannot be prevented as long as objects (mere appearances) of the sensible world are considered to be things–in–themselves (objects apart from the way that they appear). This exposition of the antinomy will allow the reader to combat the dialectical illusions that result from the nature of pure reason.
241. This Idea is that of the highest, most perfect, primeval, original Being. From this Idea of pure reason, the possibility and actuality of all other things are determined. The Idea of this Being is conceived in order for all experiences to be comprehended in an orderly, united connection. It is, however, a dialectical illusion that results when we assume that the subjective conditions of our thinking are the objective conditions of objects in the world. The theological idea is a hypothesis that was made in order to satisfy reason. It mistakenly became a dogma.
242. The psychological, cosmological, and theological Ideas are nothing but pure concepts of reason. They cannot be experienced. All questions about them must be answerable because they are only principles that reason has originated from itself in order to achieve a complete and unified understanding of experience. The Idea of a whole of knowledge according to principles gives knowledge a systematic unity. The unity of reason’s transcendental Ideas has nothing to do with the object of knowledge. The Ideas are merely for regulative use. If we try to use these Ideas beyond experience, a confusing dialectic results.
243. We cannot know things in themselves, that is, things as they are apart from being experienced. However, things in themselves may exist and there may be other ways of knowing them, apart from our experience. We must guard against assuming that the limits of our reason are the limits of the possibility of things in themselves. To do this, we must determine the boundary of the use of our reason. We want to know about the soul. We want to know about the size and origin of the world, and whether we have free will. We want to know about a Supreme Being. Our reason must stay within the boundary of appearances but it assumes that there can be knowledge of the things–in–themselves that exist beyond that boundary. Mathematics and natural science stay within the boundary of appearances and have no need to go beyond. The nature of reason is that it wants to go beyond appearances and wants to know the basis of appearances. Reason never stops asking “why?.” Reason won’t rest until it knows the complete condition for the whole series of conditions. Complete conditions are thought of as being the transcendental Ideas of the immaterial soul, the whole world, and the Supreme Being. In order to think about these beings of mere thought, we symbolically attribute sensuous properties to them. In this way, the Ideas mark the bounds of human reason. They exist at the boundary because we speak and think about them as if they possess the properties of both appearances and things–in–themselves.
244. Why is reason predisposed to metaphysical, dialectical inferences? In order to strengthen morality, reason has a tendency to be unsatisfied with physical explanations that relate only to nature and the sensible world. Reason uses Ideas that are beyond the sensible world as analogies of sensible objects. The psychological Idea of the Soul is a deterrent from materialism. The cosmological ideas of freedom and natural necessity, as well as the magnitude and duration of the world, serve to oppose naturalism, which asserts that mere physical explanations are sufficient. The theological Idea of God frees reason from fatalism.
245. We cannot know the Supreme Being absolutely or as it is in itself. We can know it as it relates to us and to the world. By means of analogy, we can know the relationship between God and us. The relationship can be like the love of a parent for a child, or of a clockmaker for his clock. We know, by analogy, only the relationship, not the unknown things that are related. In this way, we think of the world as if it was made by a Supreme Rational Being.
246. I maintain that in every special natural doctrine only so much science proper is to be met with as mathematics; for… science proper, especially of nature, requires a pure portion, lying at the foundation of the empirical, and based upon à priori knowledge of natural things. …the conception should be constructed. But the cognition of reason through the construction of conceptions is mathematical. A pure philosophy of nature in general, namely, one that only investigates what constitutes a nature in general, may thus be possible without mathematics; but a pure doctrine of nature respecting determinate natural things (corporeal doctrine and mental doctrine), is only possible by means of mathematics; and as in every natural doctrine only so, much science proper is to be met with therein as there is cognition à priori, a doctrine of nature can only contain so much science proper as there is in it of applied mathematics.
247. All natural philosophers, who wished to proceed mathematically in their work, have hence invariably (although unknown to themselves) made use of metaphysical principles, and must make use of such, it matters not how energetically they may otherwise repudiate any claim of metaphysics on their science.
248. All true metaphysics is taken from the essential nature of the thinking faculty itself, and therefore in nowise invented, since it is not borrowed from experience, but contains the pure operations of thought, that is, conceptions and principles à priori, which the manifold of empirical presentations first of all brings into legitimate connection, by which it can become empirical knowledge, i.e. experience. …mathematical physicists were thus quite unable to dispense with such metaphysical principles…
249. Natural science is throughout either a pure or an applied doctrine of motion.
250. I have in this treatise followed the mathematical method, if not with all strictness, at least imitatively, not in order, by a display of profundity, to procure a better reception for it, but because I believe such a system to be quite capable of it, and that perfection may in time be obtained by a cleverer hand, if stimulated by this sketch, mathematical investigators of nature should find it not unimportant to treat the metaphysical portion, which anyway cannot be got rid of, as a special fundamental department of general physics, and to bring it into unison with the mathematical doctrine of motion.
251. Newton… (after having remarked that geometry only requires two of the mechanical actions which it postulates, namely, to describe a straight line and a circle) says: geometry is proud of being able to achieve so much while taking so little from extraneous sources. One might say of metaphysics, on the other hand: it stands astonished, that with so much offered by pure mathematics it can affect so little. In the meantime, this little is something which mathematics indispensably requires in its application to natural science, which, inasmuch as it must here necessarily borrow from metaphysics, need not be ashamed to allow itself to be seen in company with the latter.