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[Immanuel Kant, biography]
Critique of Pure Reason

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Immanuel Kant
An outline biography
Critique of Pure Reason

Immanuel Kant was born in 1724 at Konigsberg, East Prussia, into a family of harness-makers of modest means. A Lutheran pastor thought that he saw some talent in young Immanuel and arranged for him to receive a thorough education, that would have been beyond the means of his parents, at a celebrated local secondary school. The ethos of this school was informed by a devout Pietist reformism within Lutheranism.

  Kant suffered the loss of his father and his mother quite early in life, he also suffered some physical deformity as well as being of a noticeably small statue. Despite such setbacks as these circumstances may have represented the youthful Immanuel Kant had a wide circle of friends and admirers won through his innate grace and powers of conversation.

  Kant entered the local university at age sixteen graduating some six years later. He subsequently earnt a modest living as a private tutor for several years until his financial prospects were slightly improved through an unpaid university lecturing appointment that brought with it more opportunities for private tutoring.

  Kant began to acquire a reputation as a teacher and was even occasionally offered posts by other universities. In his mid forties Kant was pleased to be offered a Professorship at Konigsberg itself. Kant's earlier work had been in the areas of Mathematics and Dynamics his new appointment however had a specification that was moreso directed towards Metaphysics and Logic.

  So popular was Kant as an illuminating lecturer that it was necessary for students to be perhaps an hour early for their lecture in order to be sure of a place. It was not until some twelve years into his Professorship that Kant's famous philosophical publications began to appear in print. His Critique of Pure Reason appeared in 1781 when Kant was approaching his sixtieth year. The Critique of Pure Reason and subsequent works such as the Critique of Practical Reason (1788) and the Critique of Judgement (1790) went on to have a truly immense impact on the philosophy and wider intellectual life of Europe and the World.

  Kant remained active as a lecturer until 1796, in his last years his formerly clear and lively mind became melacholic and befuddled. Kant died in his native city in February 1804. His remains were interred with much ceremony and with persons from many parts of Germany in attendance.

  His grave was restored in 1881, and his remains were reinterred in an more imposing purpose built annexe to the cathedral in 1924.

  After the Second World War East Prussia found itself behind the "Iron Curtain." This may, or may not, have contributed to a vandalous breaking open, and emptying, of Kant's sarcophagus in 1950.  
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The Vienna Declaration
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Start of
Immanuel Kant biography
Critique of Pure Reason