Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant was a German
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 philosopher from Königsberg
Königsberg was the capital of East Prussia from the Late Middle Ages until 1945 as well as the northernmost and easternmost German city with 286,666 inhabitants . Due to the multicultural society in and around the city, there are several local names for it...

 (today Kaliningrad
Kaliningrad is a seaport and the administrative center of Kaliningrad Oblast, the Russian exclave between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea...

 of Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

), researching, lecturing and writing on philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 and anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

 at the end of the 18th Century Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...


At the time, there were major successes and advances in the sciences (for example, Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton PRS was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian, who has been "considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived."...

, Carl Friedrich Gauss
Carl Friedrich Gauss
Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss was a German mathematician and scientist who contributed significantly to many fields, including number theory, statistics, analysis, differential geometry, geodesy, geophysics, electrostatics, astronomy and optics.Sometimes referred to as the Princeps mathematicorum...

, and Robert Boyle
Robert Boyle
Robert Boyle FRS was a 17th century natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, and inventor, also noted for his writings in theology. He has been variously described as English, Irish, or Anglo-Irish, his father having come to Ireland from England during the time of the English plantations of...

) using reason and logic. But this stood in sharp contrast to the scepticism and lack of agreement or progress in empiricist philosophy.

Kant’s magnum opus
Magnum opus
Magnum opus , from the Latin meaning "great work", refers to the largest, and perhaps the best, greatest, most popular, or most renowned achievement of a writer, artist, or composer.-Related terms:Sometimes the term magnum opus is used to refer to simply "a great work" rather than "the...

, the Critique of Pure Reason
Critique of Pure Reason
The Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant, first published in 1781, second edition 1787, is considered one of the most influential works in the history of philosophy. Also referred to as Kant's "first critique," it was followed by the Critique of Practical Reason and the Critique of Judgement...

(Kritik der reinen Vernunft, 1781), aimed to unite reason with experience to move beyond what he took to be failures of traditional philosophy and metaphysics
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:...


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.

A lecture at Königsberg (1775), as quoted in A New Dictionary of Quotations on Historical Principles from Ancient and Modern Sources (1946) by H. L. Mencken, p. 955

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.

A lecture at Königsberg (1775), as quoted in A New Dictionary of Quotations on Historical Principles from Ancient and Modern Sources (1946) by H. L. Mencken, p. 1017

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 fantastical, high-flown or exaggerated notion. It is a complement to the unwritten code of the civil and international law, necessary for the public rights of mankind in general and thus for the realization of perpetual peace.

Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch (1795)

The death of dogma is the birth of morality.

As quoted in Faith Or Fact (1897) by Henry Moorehouse Taber, p. 86

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.

Doctrine of Virtue as translated by Mary J. Gregor (1964), p. 93

Enlightenment is man’s leaving his self-caused immaturity. 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 lack of intelligence, but by lack of determination and courage to use one's intelligence without being guided by another. Sapere Aude! Have the courage to use your own intelligence! is therefore the motto of the enlightenment.

Through laziness and cowardice a large part of mankind, even after nature has freed them from alien guidance, gladly remain immature. 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!