Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Kant

Kant, Immanuel, philosopher, was born at Konigsberg, in Prussia, in 1724, and died there in 1804. His father and mother were poor, Godfearing people whose religion was of the Pietistic kind. He was educated in Konigsberg at the Collegium Fredericianum, where he came under the influence of F. A. Schultz.and at the university, which he quitted in 1746. The next nine years he passed as domestic tutor in various families in the neighbourhood. Returning to Konigsberg as priratdocent in 1755, he gave lessons in metaphysics, physics, mathematics, and other subjects, and in 1770 was appointed ordinary professor of logic and metaphysics in the university. His works published before this date were Thoughts on the True Ettimate of Living Forces (1747), Theory of the Heavens (1755), and Dreams of a Visionary Explained by Breams of Metaphysics (1766). His Form and Principles of the Sensible and the Intelliyible World (1770) is important as containing the complete enunciation of his theories of Time and Space, but it took him much longer to develop his views of the intelligible world, and his monumental work, the Criticism of Pure Reason, did not appear until 1781. It was followed by the Foundation of the Metaphysic of Morals (1785). the Criticism of Practical Reason (1788), the Criticism of Judgment (1790), and Religion with inthe Boundaries of Mere Reason (1793). The upshot of Kant's philosophical labours was that by reconciling the opposed views of Idealism and Realism - the one of which denied the existence of matter, the other that of spirit - he made it again possible to construct a system in which each should find its appropriate sphere. He called his philosophy a criticism because, instead of proceeding on a dogmatic basis, it endeavoured to determine the character of knowledge, the processes by which man becomes possessed of knowledge, and the limits within which knowledge is possible; and a transcendental criticism, because it began by laying down the subjective a priori conditions necessarily involved in all experience. Knowledge is based on synthetic a priori judgments - synthetic because, unless the predicate gives something not contained in the idea of the subject, nothing is added to what already existed in the mind; and a priori because, to be truly valid, they must be necessary and universal, whereas the widest inductions hold good only within the range of experience. The world of sense, as known to us, is composed of elements of two kinds - material and formal. The former are empirical - i.e. they are given in experience, and in regard to them the mind is passive; the latter are pure - i.e. they are given by the mind, which, in regard to them, is active. The material element in knowledge consists of sensation or impressions. The formal element is partly furnished by sensibility, partly by understanding: it embraces both the pure a priori perceptions of space and time as media in which all empirical perceptions must be embodied, and the pure a priori conceptions of quantity, quality, relation, and modality. Under each of these heads three kinds of judgment may be formed, viz.: - Universal, particular, and singular (quantity); affirmative, negative, and limitative

(quality); categorical, hypothetical, and disjunctive (relation); and problematic, assertoric, and apodeictic (modality). These twelve kinds of judgment are based on the twelve "Categories," or primitive intelligible notions, viz.: - Totality, plurality, unity; reality, negation, limitation; substance and accident, cause and effect, community or reciprocity; possibility and impossibility, existence and non-existence, necessity and contingency. An object is brought under a Category by means of the "schematism of the pure understanding," which bridges over the interval between mere sensation and pure thought by introducing the element of time, which partakes of the nature of both. In each case a certain a priori rule must be followed. The world of sense. as known through experience, is thus in a large measure the creation of our own minds, and consequently, on the sensuous side, we have no knowledge of the "thing in itself." In passing from the sensible to the supersensible world - homphenomeiia to noumena - we leave the domain of Understanding for that of Reason. The judgments of the understanding are valid, because its notions, empty in themselves, are filled with the material given in experience; but, inasmuch as experience is now no longer possible, the ideas of reason are void of content - (they are regulative, not constitutive, elements of thought) - and afford no basis for the formation of judgments. Hence reason, in formulating principles regarding the supersensible substrate - e.g. the soul is immortal, the world had a beginning in time or the world had no beginning in time, God exists - steps beyond the limits within which knowledge is possible (in Kantian phraseology, becomes transcendent), and the result is mere "paralogisms," "antinomies," and, in the case of the Deity, an empty ideal. We are thus forced to turn to the regulative function of the ideas, and this brings us within the domain of practical reason. My conscience presents me with a moral law - a "Categorical Imperative," which I am bound to follow, subordinating to it all the merely animal volitions which spring from desire based on pleasure and pain. The Categorical Imperative, placed as it is beyond the sphere of sense, cannot be directly embodied in a concrete proposition, but in regard to its universal validity it may be formulated thus: Act as if the principle by which you act were by your will to be made a universal law of nature. It must constrain our wills entirely by its own force; we must obey it simply because we respect it, not because we look forward to the pleasure which accompanies right action. The will, therefore, which acts in conformity with the moral law must be autonomous, and this involves the idea of the subject as a free cause. But within the limits of sensuous existence we cannot arrive at the state of perfection demanded by the moral law, and thus the immortality of the soul reappears as a postulate of the Practical Reason. Again, in the world of sense the aim of actions performed in obedience to the moral law must be the happiness of our fellowmen, but we cannot be sure that universal happiness will result from right action unless we believe that the course of the world is directed by a Supreme Intelligence. The ideas, which were proved value less from the theoretical standpoint, are thus shown to be part of the equipment which man must possess as a moral agent. We are now confronted with the question, How can there be any connection between the sensible realm of nature and the supersensible realm of freedom ? It lies in the very idea of freedom to realise in the world of sense the end presented in its laws, and therefore there must be a principle which unites the supersensible substrate of nature with the supersensible which is involved practically in the conception of freedom. The link is found in the faculty of judgment, which furnishes the a priori conception of design as the final cause of sensible existence, and thus bridges the chasm between the phenomenal and the intellectual world.