Immanuel Kant Biography



Immanuel Kant was born in 1724 in a town in Prussia. He led a quiet and punctual life, playing pool and being friendly with the townsfolk. He studied mathematics and philosophy, and became a tutor. Eventually he got his doctorate and persued philosophy in earnest.

Kant also loved astronomy and is considered one of the first astronomers to realize the universe began with a large ball of gas that condensed into objects.

Kant is famous for his philosophy about the way the human brain processes information. He says that it is the processing, not the raw experience, which is important. Kant called this "transcendental idealism". This was very different than the no-free-will, life-is-pain types of philosophy that tended to be around at this time.

Kant's ponderings led to a very Matrix-like thought - that all we know about the world is based on our interpretation of our senses, rather than a direct knowledge of the reality around us.

In 1781, Kant wrote the Critique of Pure Reason, primarily as a counter to the works being put out by David Hume. In the book, Kant discussed how important our interpretation of the world is. In addition to our processing of sensory inputs, Kant felt that we combined these with our moral imperatives to come up with a sum of what our reality was. This book became incredibly popular in the sense that many fiercely defended it while others vocally attacked it.

Before Kant, people had argued about exactly what something "was". Kant argued that we can never know what something actually "is" because all we know is how our senses give information to us about that item. So all we can argue about is what we THINK it is.

Kant died in 1804. On his tombstone was enscribed,

"starry heavens above and the moral law within."

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