Kant Quotes

Quotes tagged as "kant" (showing 1-30 of 89)
W. Somerset Maugham
“Kant thought things, not because they were true, but because he was Kant.”
W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage

Walter Kaufmann
“What Pascal overlooked was the hair-raising possibility that God might out-Luther Luther. A special area in hell might be reserved for those who go to mass. Or God might punish those whose faith is prompted by prudence. Perhaps God prefers the abstinent to those who whore around with some denomination he despises. Perhaps he reserves special rewards for those who deny themselves the comfort of belief. Perhaps the intellectual ascetic will win all while those who compromised their intellectual integrity lose everything.

There are many other possibilities. There might be many gods, including one who favors people like Pascal; but the other gods might overpower or outvote him, à la Homer. Nietzsche might well have applied to Pascal his cutting remark about Kant: when he wagered on God, the great mathematician 'became an idiot.”
Walter Kaufmann, Critique of Religion and Philosophy

Mitch Stokes
“To question reason is to trust it.”
Mitch Stokes

Bertrand Russell
“Socrates could enjoy a banquet now and again, and must have derived considerable satisfaction from his conversations while the hemlock was taking effect, but most of his life he lived quietly with Xanthippe, taking a constitutional in the afternoon, and perhaps meeting with a few friends by the way. Kant is said never to have been more than ten miles from Konigsberg in all his life. Darwin, after going round the world, spent the whole rest of his life in his own house. Marx, after stirring up a few revolutions, decided to spend the remainder of his days in the British Museum. Altogether it will be found that a quiet life is characteristic of great men, and that their pleasures have not been of the sort that would look exciting to the outward eye. No great achievement is possible without persistent work, so absorbing and so difficult that little energy is left over for the more strenuous kinds of amusement, except such as serve to recuperate physical energy during holidays, of which Alpine climbing may serve as the best example.”
Bertrand Russell

Immanuel Kant
“No one may force anyone to be happy according to his manner of imagining the well-being of other men; instead, everyone may seek his happiness in the way that seems good to him as long as he does not infringe on the freedom of others to pursue a similar purpose, when such freedom may coexist with the freedom of every other man according to a possible and general law.”
Immanuel Kant

“Especially to be avoided is approaching Kant's life in a spirit of hero worship or hagiography -- as though our interest in a philosopher's thoughts is, or ought to be, proportional to our admiration for the thinker as a human being. If there have been any true saints or heroes among important figures in the history of philosophy, we would do well to entirely ignore their heroism and saintliness in studying their philosophical thoughts. It is unhealthy and completely unphilosophical to venerate philosophers of the past as gurus at whose feet we should sit in order to absorb their wisdom. Such an attitude toward any other person, whether living or dead, betrays a contemptible slavishness of mind that is incompatible with doing philosophy at all. In holding this opinion, I am, incidentally, also being a good Kantian, since Kant regarded the practice of those who set others up as models for imitation as morally corrupt, tending sooner to produce either self-contempt or envy than virtue. But that is all the more reason to apply Kant's view on this matter to Kant himself. Even the view itself should be given no credit at all just because Kant held it, but should be held only because experience shows it to be true -- and true even about Kant himself.”
Allen W. Wood, Kant

Immanuel Kant
“...Ethical laws cannot be thought of as emanating originally merely from the will of this superior being as statutes, which, had he not first commanded them, would perhaps not be binding, for then they would not be ethical laws and the duty proper to them would not be the free duty of virtue but the coercive duty of law.”
Immanuel Kant, Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone

Susan Neiman
“Given all the forces arrayed against it, no wonder Kant thought growing up to be more a matter of courage than knowledge: all the information in the world is no substitute for the guts to use your own judgement. And judgement can be learned — principally through the experience of watching others use it well —but it cannot be taught.”
Susan Neiman, Why Grow Up?: Subversive Thoughts for an Infantile Age

Immanuel Kant
“There is no freedom, but everything in the world takes place entirely according to nature....Transcendental freedom is therefore opposed to the law of causality, and represents such a connection of successive states of effective causes, that no unity of experience is possible with it. It is therefore an empty fiction of the mind, and not to be met with in any experience.
We have, therefore, nothing but nature, in which we must try to find the connection and order of cosmical events. Freedom (independence) from the laws of nature is no doubt a deliverance from restraint, but also from the guidance of all rules. For we cannot say that, instead of the laws of nature, laws of freedom may enter into the causality of the course of the world, because, if determined by laws, it would not be freedom, but nothing else but nature. Nature, therefore, and transcendental freedom differ from each other like legality and lawlessness. The former, no doubt, imposes upon the understanding the difficult task of looking higher and higher for the origin of events in the series of causes, because their causality is always conditioned. In return for this, however, it promises a complete and well-ordered unity of experience; while, on the other side, the fiction of freedom promises, no doubt, to the enquiring mind, rest in the chain of causes, leading him up to an unconditioned causality, which begins to act by itself, but which, as it is blind itself, tears the thread of rules by which alone a complete and coherent experience is possible.”
Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason

Immanuel Kant
“Now I say: man and generally any rational being exists as an end in himself, not merely as a means to be arbitrarily used by this or that will, but in all his actions, whether they concern himself or other rational beings, must always be regarded at the same time as an end.”
Immanuel Kant, The Metaphysics of Morals

Immanuel Kant
“Space is only the form of external intuition, and not a real object that could be perceived externally, nor is it a correlate of phenomena, but the form of phenomena themselves. Space, therefore, cannot exist absolutely (by itself) as something determining the existence of things, because it is no object, but only the form of possible objects. Things, therefore, as phenomenal, may indeed determine space, that is, impart reality to one or other of its predicates (quality and relation); but space, on the other side, as something existing by itself, cannot determine the reality of things in regard to quantity or form, because it is nothing real in itself.”
Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason

Immanuel Kant
“It is different with the transcendental division of a phenomenon. How far that may extend is not a matter of experience, but a principle of reason, which never allows us to consider the empirical regressus in the decomposition of extended bodies, according to the nature of these phenomena, as at any time absolutely completed.”
Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason

Immanuel Kant
“For if phenomena are things by themselves, freedom cannot be saved. Nature in that case is the complete and sufficient cause determining every event, and its condition is always contained in that series of phenomena only which, together with their effect, are necessary under the law of nature.”
Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason

Immanuel Kant
“Innocence is indeed a glorious thing, only, on the other hand, it is very sad that it cannot well maintain itself, and is easily seduced.”
Immanuel Kant, The Metaphysics of Morals

Immanuel Kant
“....Happiness is not an ideal of reason but of imagination, resting solely on empirical grounds, and it is vain to expect that these should define an action by which one could attain the totality of a series of consequences which is really endless.”
Immanuel Kant, The Metaphysics of Morals

Immanuel Kant
“The world of sense, if it is limited, lies necessarily within the infinite void. If we ignore this, and with it, space in general, as an a priori condition of the possibility of phenomena, the whole world of sense vanishes, which alone forms the object of our enquiry.”
Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason

Immanuel Kant
“What then is it which justifies virtue or the morally good disposition, in making such lofty claims? It is nothing less than the privilege it secures to the rational being of participating in the giving of universal laws, by which it qualifies him to be a member of a possible kingdom of ends, a privilege to which he was already destined by his own nature as being an end in himself, and on that account legislating in the kingdom of ends; free as regards all laws of physical nature, and obeying those only which he himself gives, and by which his maxims can belong to a system of universal law, to which at the same time he submits himself. For nothing has any worth except what the law assigns it.”
Immanuel Kant, The Metaphysics of Morals

Immanuel Kant
“It is a remark which needs no subtle reflection to make, but which we may assume that even the commonest understanding can make, although it be after its fashion by an obscure discernment of judgment which it calls feeling, that all the 'ideas' that come to us involuntarily (as those of the senses) do not enable us to know objects otherwise than as they affect us; so that what they may be in themselves remains unknown to us, and consequently that as regards 'ideas' of this kind even with the closest attention and clearness that the understanding can apply to them, we can by them only attain to the knowledge of appearances, never to that of things in themselves.”
Immanuel Kant, The Metaphysics of Morals

Immanuel Kant
“For now we see that when we conceive ourselves as free we transfer ourselves into the world of understanding as members of it, and recognise the autonomy of the will with its consequence, morality; whereas, if we conceive ourselves as under obligation we consider ourselves as belonging to the world of sense, and at the same time to the world of understanding.”
Immanuel Kant, The Metaphysics of Morals

Immanuel Kant
“But freedom is a mere Idea, the objective reality of which can in no wise be shown according to the laws of nature, and consequently not in any possible experience; and for this reason it can never be comprehended or understood, because we cannot support it by any sort of example or analogy.”
Immanuel Kant, The Metaphysics of Morals

Immanuel Kant
“There are such manifold forms of nature; there are many modifications of the general transcendental concepts of nature that are left undetermined by the laws furnished by pure intellect a priori because these laws only concern the general possibility of nature as an object of the senses.”
Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment

Immanuel Kant
“Only by what a man does heedless of enjoyment, in complete freedom and independently of what he can produce passively from the hand of nature, does he give absolute worth to his existence, as the real existence of a person. Happiness, with all its plethora of pleasures, is far from being an unconditioned good.”
Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment

Immanuel Kant
“...When he puts a thing on a pedestal and calls it beautiful, he demands the same delight from others. He judges not merely for himself, but for all men, and then speaks of beauty as if it were the property of things.”
Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment

Immanuel Kant
“We have no reason for assuming the form of such a thing to be still partly dependent on blind mechanism, for with such confusion of heterogeneous principles every reliable rule for estimating things would disappear.”
Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment

Immanuel Kant
“The concept of happiness is not one which man abstracts more or less from his instincts and so derives from his animal nature. It is, on the contrary, a mere idea of a state, and one to which he seeks to make his actual state of being adequate under purely empirical conditions--an impossible task. He projects this idea himself, and, thanks to his intellect, and its complicated relations with imagination and sense, projects it in such different ways, and even alters his concept so often, that were nature a complete slave to his elective will, it would nevertheless be utterly unable to adopt any definite, universal and fixed law by which to accommodate itself to this fluctuating concept and so bring itself into accord with the end that each individual arbitrarily sets before himself. But even if we sought to reduce this concept to the level of the true wants of nature in which our species is in complete and fundamental accord, or, trying the other alternative, sought to increase to the highest level man's skill in reaching his imagined ends, nevertheless what man means by happiness, and what in fact constitutes his peculiar ultimate physical end, as opposed to the end of freedom, would never be attained by him. For his own nature is not so constituted as to rest or be satisfied in any possession or enjoyment whatever. Also external nature is far from having made a particular favorite of man or from having preferred him to all other animals as the object of its beneficence. For we see that in its destructive operations--plague, famine, flood, cold, attacks from animals great and small, and all such things--it has as little spared him as any other animal. But, besides all this, the discord of inner natural tendencies betrays man into further misfortunes of his own invention, and reduces other members of his species, through the oppression of lordly power, the barbarism of wars, and the like, to such misery, while he himself does all he can to work ruin to his race, that, even with the utmost goodwill on the part of external nature, its end, supposing it were directed to the happiness of our species, would never be attained in a system of terrestrial nature, because our own nature is not capable of it. Man, therefore, is ever but a link in the chain of nature's ends.”
Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment

Immanuel Kant
“...Freedom of the will is of a wholly unique nature in that an incentive can determine the will to an action only so far as the individual has incorporated it into his maxim (has made it the general rule in accordance with which he will conduct himself); only thus can an incentive, whatever it may be, co-exist with the absolute spontaneity of the will (i.e., freedom).”
Immanuel Kant, Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone

Immanuel Kant
“Now the ground of this evil cannot be placed, as is so commonly done, in man's senses and the natural inclinations to evil (rather do they afford the occasion for what the moral disposition in its power can manifest, namely, virtue); we cannot, must not even be considered responsible for their existence since they are not implanted in us and we are not their authors. We are accountable, however, for the propensity to evil, which, as it affects the morality of the subject, is to be found in him as a free-acting being and for which it must be possible to hold him accountable as the offender--this, too, despite the fact that this propensity is so deeply rooted in the will that we are forced to say that it is to be found in man by nature.”
Immanuel Kant, Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone

Immanuel Kant
“The public use of one’s reason must always be free, and it alone can bring about enlightenment among men.”
Immanuel Kant, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals/What Is Enlightenment?

“Kant finds that the ‘virtue of the heart’ is central and emphasizes the role of the understanding and concepts at the expense of inclinations and feelings, Gellert argues that the understanding and feeling coincide with one another. It is our task to cultivate our feelings so that they become true moral feelings.”
Manfred Kuehn

Charles Taylor
“Spontaneity at all levels is guided by the goal of getting it right; being clearly “forced” to come to some conclusion is not its negation, but its highest fulfillment.”
Charles Taylor, Retrieving Realism

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