Immanuel Kant

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Edited by Andrew Chignell (Princeton University)
Assistant editor: Reza Hadisi (Princeton University, University of Arizona)
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Summary

Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) is the most influential thinker in modern western philosophy. 

The central doctrine of Kant’s theoretical philosophy is what he calls “transcendental idealism.”  This is, roughly, the view that there is a sharp distinction between things as they appear to us and things as they really are (in themselves). It is controversial what that distinction consists in or even how to characterize it, but it is clear that Kant wants to deny that things-in-themselves have spatio-temporal features.  Thus they are things that we can think about (‘noumena’) but not things that appear (‘phenomena’). 

Kant argues that we can only explain our knowledge of non-trivial (‘synthetic’) necessary principles -- including the principle according to which all events have causes --  if transcendental idealism is true.  He also thinks that distinguishing between phenomena and noumena leaves room for incompatibilist freedom, God, and the immortality of the soul (at the noumenal level). 

Kant places the notion of autonomy at the center of his moral and political philosophy, and argues that specific moral obligations are based in a very general principle called the Categorical Imperative.  This principle is fundamental to practical rationality and requires that we respect the autonomy of rational agents and refuse to make arbitrary exceptions for ourselves. 

In his early years, Kant was trained in the German rationalist tradition of Christian Wolff (1679–1750) and G. W. Leibniz (1646–1716). But he was influenced by the British Empiricists like John Locke (1632–1704), Isaac Newton (1642–1727), and David Hume (1711–1776). Later, Kant characterizes his Critical philosophy as a synthesis of rationalism and empiricism. 

Kant’s massive influence is felt across the continental and analytic traditions. He is typically regarded as the forefather of German Idealism, and a key figure in the development of Existentialism, NeoKantianism (obviously), Phenomenology, Critical Theory, and even Post-Modernism. 

In the analytic tradition, Kant’s views were in the background of many of the debates in 20th-century epistemology and philosophy of mind. Kantian moral philosophy is one of the main positions in contemporary ethics, and Kantian political philosophy dominated most of the discussion in 20th and early 21st century political philosophy. Kant’s views about aesthetic judgment are central to many developments in the philosophy of art and art criticism. Kant is not a major figure in contemporary analytic metaphysics, however.

Key works

The three Critiques are the central texts for Kant’s “critical system”: Critique of Pure Reason (1781/1787), Critique of Practical Reason (1788), Critique of Power of Judgment (1790). His Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals (1785) is among the most influential works in modern ethics. Other major works include Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics (1783), Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science (1786), Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason (1793)Metaphysics of Morals (1797), and Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View (1798)

The standard German edition of Kant’s works is Königlichen Preußischen (later Deutschen) Akademie der Wissenschaften (ed.), 1900–, Kants gesammelte Schriften, Berlin: Georg Reimer (later Walter De Gruyter). The standard English edition of Kant’s works is P. Guyer and A. Wood (eds.), 1992–, The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Introductions Good overall introductions include Wood 2004, Höffe & Farrier 1994, and Guyer 2006Buroker 2006 offers a good introductory overview of Kant’s key text in theoretical philosophy. Cleve 1999 is a more advanced introduction for analytic philosophers. Gardner 1999 is an opinionated but very accessible introduction.  A good introduction to Kant's moral philosophy is Sedgwick 2008.
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Subcategories:
Kant: Metaphysics and Epistemology (11,019 | 3,176)

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Kant: Metaphysics and Epistemology
  1. Paragraphs 20 and 26 of the Transcendental Deduction.George di Giovanni - 1980 - Idealistic Studies 10:131.
    Whether transcendental arguments are possible or not is a question that has received wide attention in the analytical literature of recent years. It is important to distinguish carefully, however, between Kant’s own Transcendental Deduction and the kind of reasoning which has lately been dubbed “transcendental.” Eva Schaper has accurately defined the difference some years ago. The “transcendental arguments” to which we have recently been accustomed are arguments that seek to establish the logical preconditions of empirical enquiry. They all start from (...)
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  2. Antinomies En Droit International Privé.Raymond Elst - 1964 - Dialectica 18 (1):138.
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  3. La Deduction Transcendentale Dans L'oeuvre de Kant.T. M. G. - 1937 - Journal of Philosophy 34 (4):100-103.
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  4. Kant's Theory of Freedom.Paul Guyer - 1992 - Journal of Philosophy 89 (2):99-110.
  5. The Development of Kantian Thought: The History of a Doctrine.Bella K. Milmed - 1964 - Journal of Philosophy 61 (7):218-226.
  6. Kant's Theory of Mental Activity: A Commentary on the Transcendental Analytic of the Critique of Pure Reason.Bella K. Milmed - 1964 - Journal of Philosophy 61 (16):479-488.
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  7. Immanuel Kant. Ontologie Und Wissenschaftstheorie.Lewis White Beck - 1952 - Journal of Philosophy 49 (12):424-425.
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  8. Kant and Current Philosophical Issues: Some Modern Developments of His Theory of Knowledge.Stephen Korner - 1962 - Journal of Philosophy 59 (25):802-805.
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  9. Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics.Robert D. Mack - 1951 - Journal of Philosophy 48 (16):507-508.
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  10. Is Existence a Predicate?W. Kneale & G. E. Moore - 1936 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 15 (1):154-188.
  11. Force and Freedom: Kant’s Legal and Political Philosophy*: Dialogue.Jon Mandle - 2010 - Dialogue 49 (3):479-487.
  12. Transcendental Idealism: What Jerusalem Has To Say to Königsberg: Dialogue.Mark Glouberman - 2010 - Dialogue 49 (1):25-51.
    ABSTRACT: The Bible illuminates Kant’s distinction between appearances and things-in-themselves. The two biblical creation stories, in Genesis 1 and in Genesis 2, offer different ontological parsings, only the second of which, like Kant’s appearances, is relativized to the human case. But while Kant’s other region remains undercharacterized, the Bible articulates quite fully the world as it is before the advent of men and women. The Bible treats this realm from the sub-human standpoint. This broadly anthropological approach to the idea of (...)
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  13. Die Begriffe Phänomenon Und Noumenon in Ihrem Verhältniss Zu Einander Bei Kant. [REVIEW]George Dawes Hicks - 1899 - Ancient Philosophy (Misc) 9:640.
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  14. Ernst Platner Und Kant's Kritik der Reinen Vernunft, MIT Besonderer Berücksichtigung von Tetens Und Aenesidemus. [REVIEW]Arthur Wreschner - 1893 - Ancient Philosophy (Misc) 4:315.
  15. A Defence of Idealism: Some Questions and Conclusions. [REVIEW]M. W. Robieson - 1919 - Ancient Philosophy (Misc) 29:636.
  16. A Critique of Pure Kant. [REVIEW]Charles Kirkland Wheeler - 1919 - Ancient Philosophy (Misc) 29:317.
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  17. Richard Avenarius' Biomechanische Grundlegung der Neuen Allgemeinen Erkenntnisstheorie, Eine Einführung in Die "Kritik der Reinen Erfahrung". [REVIEW]Friedrich Carstanjen - 1894 - Ancient Philosophy (Misc) 5:627.
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  18. Ontology.R. E. Butts - 1960 - Kant-Studien 52:426.
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  19. Probleme der Prinzipienlehre in der Philosophie Kants.G. Martin - 1960 - Kant-Studien 52:173.
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  20. Eidos, Idea, and Participation.Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka - 1960 - Kant-Studien 52 (1-4):59.
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  21. G. Stiehler, Der Idealismus von Kant bis Hegel.W. Teichner - 1972 - Kant-Studien 63 (4):512.
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  22. J. Lacroix, Kant et le kantisme. [REVIEW]A. Lachièze-rey - 1967 - Kant-Studien 58 (1):116.
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  23. Kant's Notion of Intuition: In Response to Hintikka.J. Mitscherling - 1981 - Kant-Studien 72 (2):186.
  24. R. Kroner, Von Kant Bis Hegel. Auflage 3. [REVIEW]R. Malter - 1982 - Kant-Studien 73 (3):368.
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  25. F. Peccorini, A Method of Self-Orientation to Thinking. An Essay on the Use of the Principle of Sufficient Reason in Kant's Metaphysics.K. Oedingen - 1972 - Kant-Studien 63 (1):127.
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  26. H. Hoppe, Synthesis bei Kant.W. Marx - 1986 - Kant-Studien 77 (4):498.
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  27. J. C. Evans, Jr., The metaphysics of Transcendental Subjectivity. Descartes, Kant and W. Sellars.W. Sauer - 1986 - Kant-Studien 77 (4):503.
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  28. A Discussion of Melnick's Argument From Time Magnitude.J. C. Anderson Lubbock - 1977 - Kant-Studien 68 (3):349.
  29. H.E. Allison, Kants Transcendental Idealism.R. B. Pippin - 1986 - Kant-Studien 77 (3):365.
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  30. Ch. E. Macann, Kant and the Foundations of Metaphysics.E. C. Sandberg - 1986 - Kant-Studien 77 (3):373.
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  31. Kant on `God Is': A Reply to Mr. Engel.William H. Baumer - 1964 - Kant-Studien 55 (4):498.
  32. W. H. Walsh: Kant's Criticism of Metaphysics.J. Kopper - 1978 - Kant-Studien 69 (2):215.
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  33. Epistemology De-Naturalized.P. T. Sagal - 1978 - Kant-Studien 69 (1):97.
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  34. Kant, Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens, tr. S. L. Jaki.H. L. Wilson - 1987 - Kant-Studien 78 (1):119.
  35. Kant, Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens.M. Kleinschnieder - 1974 - Kant-Studien 65 (3):321.
  36. K. Röttgers, Kritik und Praxis. Zur Geschichte des Kritikbegriffs von Kant bis Marx.W. Steinbeck - 1976 - Kant-Studien 67 (1):107.
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  37. C. Hodge, The Kantian Epistemology and Theism.E. F. Buchner - 1897 - Kant-Studien 1:431.
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  38. G. Buchdahl, Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science. The Classical Origins, Descartes to Kant.J. Kopper - 1971 - Kant-Studien 62 (1):126.
  39. On Strawson's Criticism of Kant's "Transcendental Idealism".J. Srzednicki - 1984 - Kant-Studien 75 (1):94.
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  40. Kant's Criticism of Metaphysics1—I: PHILOSOPHY.W. H. Walsh - 1939 - Philosophy 14 (55):313-325.
    What is the Critique of Pure Reason about? The terminology of the work is so perplexing, its argument so obscurely expressed, that the ordinary reader may be forgiven if he puts it down at the end very much in the dark as to what it all means. He will have seen that in it Kant has attempted to establish certain conclusions: the subjectivity of space and time, the existence and objective validity of a number of a priori concepts or categories, (...)
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  41. Kant's Criticism of Metaphysics—II: KANT'S CRITICISM OF METAPHYSICS.W. H. Walsh - 1939 - Philosophy 14 (56):434-448.
    So much for the Aesthetic. We can now proceed to the Analytic, the philosophical importance of which is much greater. Kant's main contentions in this part of his work can be summed up in; two propositions: human understanding contains certain a priori concepts, and on these are based certain non-empirical principles; these concepts are only general concepts of a phenomenal object, and therefore the principles in question are only prescriptive to sense-experience. As has already been said, interest in the first (...)
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  42. Metaphysical Foundations of the Natural Law.Charles A. Hart - 1950 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 24:18.
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  43. Kant y la mota de polvo.Felipe Martínez Marzoa - 2004 - Logos. Anales Del Seminario de Metafísica [Universidad Complutense de Madrid, España] 37:55-66.
    La distancia de Kant con respecto al idealismo es interpretada como crisis del punto de vista que remite la cuestión ontológica a la cuestión de totalidad. Se esbozan las implicaciones de esta interpretación en varios niveles del pensamiento kantiano.
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  44. """ Unconditioned condition" and" Givenness of things in themselves" according to the critique of pure reason.F. L. Peccorini - 1974 - Giornale di Metafisica 29:232-248.
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  45. Transcendental Apperception and Genesis of Kant's Theological Convinction.F. L. Peccorini - 1972 - Giornale di Metafisica 27:43-65.
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  46. The Revolutionary Kant: A Commentary on the Critique of Pure Reason– By Graham Bird: REVIEWS.Jane Singleton - 2008 - Philosophical Investigations 31 (3):261-268.
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  47. Judgment.W. A. Merrylees - 1933 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 11 (3):161.
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  48. The Intuitive Recommencement of Metaphysics.Camille Riquier - 2016 - Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy 24 (2):62-83.
    If we are to understand the complex relationship between Bergson and Kant, we must not approach the former’s philosophy as if it could only be either pre-critical or post-Kantian. Instead, the present essay seeks to shed light on this relationship by treating Kant as another “missing precursor of Bergson.” In Bergson’s eyes, Kant, like Descartes, contains two possible paths for philosophy, which reflect the two fundamental tendencies that are mixed together in the élan vital and continued in humankind: intuition and (...)
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  49. Robert B. Louden, Kant's Human Being: Essays On His Theory Of Human Nature Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011 Pp. 256 Isbn 9780199768714 , £45. [REVIEW]Howard Williams - 2013 - Kantian Review 18 (1):154-157.
    Book Reviews Howard Williams, Kantian Review, FirstView Article.
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  50. Causality and the Concept of a “Thing”.Michael A. Slote - 1979 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 4 (1):387-399.
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