Philosophy of Immanuel Kant

02.05.2015 |

Episode #8 of the course “Brief history of Renaissance and Modern philosophy”

While Immanuel Kant lived, he enjoyed enormous success as one of the greatest thinkers of his time; after his death, he has been celebrated as the central figure of philosophy in his century. In the 1700s, Kant reconciled the two major philosophical viewpoints of empiricism and rationalism, instead promoting a view that experience and reason interact in a human psychology that is highly sensitive to the concepts of space, time, cause, and effect. In addition to philosophical topics of metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics, Kant made valuable contributions to astrophysical theory as well as political philosophy.

The major work from Immanuel Kant that stands as a pinnacle in philosophical history is his Critique of Pure Reason. This renowned work was written after he already enjoyed success for his writings Observations on the Feelings of the Beautiful and Sublime and Inquiry Concerning the Distinctness of the Principles of Natural Theology and Morality. In the 800 page Critique, Kant outlined his “empirical realism” and “transcendental idealism.” Mostly concerned with the questions “what is knowledge?” and “how do we know what we know?” Kant expounded on the limits of knowledge and concluded that knowledge comes through empirical observation of objects that exist in space and time, which is enhanced by universal knowledge inherent to everyone. Ethics, therefore, are socially prescribed systematically, as people’s collective knowledge joins to construct those institutions.

Immanuel Kant made astrophysical predictions about the nature of the solar systems and planetary relations, which changed the understanding of the universe. He made assertions about human behavior, which impacted fields of psychological study. He believed that people think in judgments, which are synthesized, created, and combined based on experience. When integrated with the innate knowledge from birth, these judgments allow each person to create the parameters of his or her reality.


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