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Immanuel Kant Quotes

A Prussian philosopher.
(1724 - 1804)

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A categorical imperative would be one which represented an action as objectively necessary in itself, without reference to any other purpose.

A lie is the abandonment and, as it were, the annihilation of the dignity by man.

A man who has tasted with profound enjoyment the pleasure of agreeable society will eat with a greater appetite than he who rode horseback for two hours. An amusing lecture is as useful for health as the exercise of the body.

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...

A plant, an animal, the regular order of nature - probably also the disposition of the whole universe - give manifest evidence that they are possible only by means of and according to ideas; that, indeed, no one creature, under the individual conditions of its existence, perfectly harmonizes with the idea of the most perfect of its kind - just as little as man with the idea of humanity, which nevertheless he bears in his soul as the archetypal standard of his actions; that, notwithstanding, these ideas are in the highest sense individually, unchangeably, and completely determined, and are the original causes of things; and that the totality of connected objects in the universe is alone fully adequate to that idea.

Abbot Terrasson tells us that if the size of a book were measured not by the number of its pages but by the time required to understand it, then we could say about many books that they would be much shorter were they not so short.

Act that your principle of action might safely be made a law for the whole world.

All human knowledge begins with intuitions, proceeds from thence to concepts, and ends with ideas.

All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason.

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!

All the interests of my reason, speculative as well as practical, combine in the three following questions: 1. What can I know? 2. What ought I to do? 3. What may I hope?

All thought must, directly or indirectly, by way of certain characters, relate ultimately to intuitions, and therefore, with us, to sensibility, because in no other way can an object be given to us.

Always recognize that human individuals are ends, and do not use them as means to your end.

Always so act that the immediate motive of thy will may become a universal rule for all intelligent beings.

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.

Beneficence is a duty. He who frequently practices it, and sees his benevolent intentions realized, at length comes really to love him to whom he has done good. When, therefore, it is said, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," it is not meant, thou shalt love him first and do him good in consequence of that love, but thou shalt do good, to thy neighbor; and this thy beneficence will engender in thee that love to mankind which is the fulness and consummation of the inclination to do, good.

Both love of mankind, and respect for their rights are duties; the former however is only a conditional, the latter an unconditional, purely imperative duty, which he must be perfectly certain not to have transgressed who would give himself up to the secret emotions arising from benevolence.

But although all our knowledge begins with experience, it does not follow that it arises from experience.

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.

Criticism alone can sever the root of materialism, fatalism, atheism, free-thinking, fanaticism, and superstition, which can be injurious universally; as well as of idealism and skepticism, which are dangerous chiefly to the Schools, and hardly allow of being handed on to the public.

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