Immanuel Kant

Immanuel Kant (1724 ~ 1804)

Königsberg, Prussia


  • We cannot know with certainty what the world is like in itself (things in themselves, the noumenal world).
  • We can only know what the world is like for us (things as they appear to us, the phenomenal world).


  • Neither reason nor experience proves the existence of God.
  • It is a moral necessity to assume the existence of God.


  • Everybody has an innate ability to discern what is right or wrong (Practical Reason).
  • Categorical Imperatives: Moral law is
    • categorical – absolute and applies to all situations –
    • and imperative – commanding and authoritative –
  • Universal Law of Morals
    • Everybody will do the same thing if they are in the same situation.
    • The Good Will determines whether the action is morally right, not the consequences of the action.

Freedom (Free Will)

  • Freedom is to make public use of one’s reason at every point.
    • Only when we act in accordance with moral law (- follow our Practical Reason), we are acting freely.
    • We are free only if we obey the Universal Reason.
  • We are not free if we live only as a creature of the senses and desires.

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