Forty-Five Quotes by Immanuel Kant

Download free ebooks by Immanuel Kant

Forty-Five Quotes by Immanuel Kant

“Metaphysics has as the proper object of its enquiries three ideas only: God, freedom, and immortality.”

“Morality is not the doctrine of how we may make ourselves happy, but how we may make ourselves worthy of happiness.”

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

“In law a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others. In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so.”

“Even philosophers will praise war as ennobling mankind, forgetting the Greek who said: 'War is bad in that it begets more evil than it kills.'”

“It is not God's will merely that we should be happy, but that we should make ourselves happy.”

“Freedom is the alone unoriginated birthright of man, and belongs to him by force of his humanity; and is independence on the will and co-action of every other in so far as this consists with every other person’s freedom.”

“Immaturity is the incapacity to use one's intelligence without the guidance of another.”

“Nature does nothing in vain, and in the use of means to her goals she is not prodigal.”

“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.”

“Men will not understand … that when they fulfil their duties to men, they fulfil thereby God's commandments; that they are consequently always in the service of God, as long as their actions are moral, and that it is absolutely impossible to serve God otherwise.”

“Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.”

“To a high degree we are, through art and science, cultured. We are civilized — perhaps too much for our own good — in all sorts of social grace and decorum. But to consider ourselves as having reached morality — for that, much is lacking.”

“I ought never to act except in such a way that I could also will that my maxim should become a universal law.”

“As everybody likes to be honoured, so people imagine that God also wants to be honoured. They forget that the fulfilment of duty towards men is the only honour adequate to him.”

“In the kingdom of ends everything has either a price or a dignity. What has a price can be replaced by something else as its equivalent; what on the other hand is raised above all price and therefore admits of no equivalent has a dignity.”

“Human reason has this peculiar fate that in one species of its knowledge it is burdened by questions which, as prescribed by the very nature of reason itself, it is not able to ignore, but which, as transcending all its powers, it is also not able to answer.”

“The light dove, cleaving the air in her free flight, and feeling its resistance, might imagine that its flight would be still easier in empty space.”

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

“Have patience awhile; slanders are not long-lived. Truth is the child of time; erelong she shall appear to vindicate thee.”

“Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind.”

“Psychologists have hitherto failed to realize that imagination is a necessary ingredient of perception itself.”

“It is therefore correct to say that the senses do not err — not because they always judge rightly, but because they do not judge at all.”

“I have no knowledge of myself as I am, but merely as I appear to myself.”

“Two things fill the mind with ever-increasing wonder and awe, the more often and the more intensely the mind of thought is drawn to them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.”

“All our knowledge falls with the bounds of experience.”

“Whatever, over and above good life-conduct, man fancies that he can do to become well-pleasing to God is mere religious delusion.”

“However, he who makes himself a worm cannot complain afterwards that he gets stepped on.”

“Only the descent into the hell of self-knowledge can pave the way to godliness.”

“Human freedom is realised in the adoption of humanity as an end in itself, for the one thing that no-one can be compelled to do by another is to adopt a particular end.”

“Young man! Deny yourself satisfaction (of amusement, of debauchery, of love, etc.), not with the Stoical intention of complete abstinence, but with the refined Epicurean intention of having in view an ever-growing pleasure.”

“To require that a so-called layman should not use his own reason in religious matters, particularly since religion is to be appreciated as moral, but instead follow the appointed clergyman and thus someone else's reason, is an unjust demand because as to morals every man must account for all his doings. The clergyman will not and even cannot assume such a responsibility.”

“The guidelines for achieving wisdom consist of three leading maxims: 1) Think for yourself; 2) (in communication with other people) Put yourself in the place of the other person; 3) Always think by remaining faithful to your own self.”

“Through failures one becomes intelligent; but the one who has trained himself in this subject so that he can make others wise through their own failures, has used his intelligence. Ignorance is not stupidity.”

“The woman wants to dominate, the man wants to be dominated.”

“There must be a seed of every good thing in the character of men, otherwise no one can bring it out.”

“A mind of slow apprehension is therefore not necessarily a weak mind. The one who is alert with abstractions is not always profound, he is more often very superficial.”

“Man's greatest concern is to know how he shall properly fill his place in the universe and correctly understand what he must be in order to be a man.”

“When I treat a man contemptuously, I can inspire him with no practical desire to appreciate my grounds of truth. When I treat any one as worthless, I can inspire him with no desire to do right.”

“A person who already displays … cruelty to animals is also no less hardened towards men. We can already know the human heart, even in regard to animals.”

“I am an investigator by inclination. I feel a great thirst for knowledge and an impatient eagerness to advance, also satisfaction at each progressive step.”

“The more we devote ourselves to observing animals and their behaviour, the more we love them.”

“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?”

“Philosophical knowledge is the knowledge gained by reason from concepts; mathematical knowledge is the knowledge gained by reason from the construction of concepts.”

“Thus our duties to animals are indirectly duties to humanity.”

Back to top of page

More quotes...