Immanuel Kant

Immanuel Kant
Birth 1724
Death 1804

Architect of German classical philosophy and transcendental idealism, whose work fuelled the development of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, aesthetics and cosmology. He saw the world around us as an ‘appearance’ (‘Anschauung’), in contrast to fundamental ‘things-in-themselves’ (‘Dinge-an-sich’). But his most valuable theories are those that relate to human beings, rights and the state. He asserted the absolute value of human beings as the centre of the world, who deserve personal freedom and equality in the eyes of the law. Kant’s legacy had an indisputable influence on European philosophy as a whole, and on us; ‘the transcendental unity of perception’ still sends shivers down our spines.

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