- Born April 22, 1724-Köningsberg
- Artisan Pietist family
- Taught hard-work, honesty, cleanliness and independence
- Attended University of Köningsberg
- Tutored and then taught at the University
- Three Critiques
- Critique of Pure Reason
- Critique of Practical Reason
- Critique of Judgement
- Critique of Pure Reason
- Very long and very complex
- Determine the limits and scope of Pure Reason (Reason without use of senses)
- Made distinctions between synthetic and analytic and between a posteriori and a priori knowledge
In all judgments in which the relation of a subject to the predicate is thought (if I only consider affirmative judgments, since the application to negative ones is easy) this relation is possible in two different ways. Either the predicate B belongs to the subject A as something that is (covertly) contained in this concept A; or B lies entirely outside the concept A, though to be sure it stands in connection with it. In the first case, I call the judgment analytic, in the second synthetic.
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- Some ophthalmologists are ill-humoured.
- If Holmes killed Sikes, the Watson is dead.
- All ophthalmologists are doctors.
- If Holmes killed Sikes, the Sikes is dead.
Rationalism and Empiricism
- Believed both were insufficient to answer origin of human knowledge
- Uses transcendental argument to prove new theory
- Mind has set structure in order to interrupt information but no content-which must be gathered from experience
Critique of Practical Reason
- First major work in ethics
- So what is moral and who does it apply to?
- People are ends themselves and not means to achieve an end
- Can’t prevent others from following moral laws
- Ideal society=people as both the authors and subjects of moral law
- Believes physical law applies to appearances, and our through our will we act with the idea of freedom (free will=deliberation and reflection to act a certain way)
- Immortality, freedom and god although objects man can never know are essential to moral philosophy
Supreme Moral Principle
- Act only on a maxim that you can will to be a universal law.“
- Two perfect duties- No suicide or deceitful promises.
- Two imperfect duties-“Act as if the maxim[Truth] of your action would become a universal law of nature.“ and humanity is an end not a means.
Critique of Judgement
- Most famous for the comments on aesthetics-called judgements of taste
- They are universal due to lack of individual needs/wants
- Beauty is immediate and harmony is present, mind is not restricted
Middle Life and Later Life
- He continued to teach at the university until a few years before his death
- Very particular and orderly
- After third Critique his health declined and couldn’t complete many planned works
- On Feb.12, 1804 his last words “Es ist gut”
Contributions to Society and Legacy
- First to move beyond Rationalism and empiricism
- Influential in Prussia and lead to German Idealism
- Major influence on analytic and continental philosophy
- Theory of Knowledge and other thoeries