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Immanuel Kant
(22 Apr 1724 - 12 Feb 1804)

German philosopher whose writings investigated rational understanding and were some of the most influential of his era. He wrote the well-known Critique of Practical Reason.


Science Quotes by Immanuel Kant (23 quotes)

Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-incurred immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one's own understanding without the guidance of another. This immaturity is self-incurred if its cause is not lack of understanding, but lack of resolution and courage to use it without the guidance of another. The motto of enlightenment is therefore: Sapere aude! Have courage to use your own understanding!
— Immanuel Kant
'An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?', (1784). In Hans Reiss (ed.), Kant: Political Writings, trans. H. B. Nisbet (1970), 54.
Science quotes on:  |  Courage (16)  |  Enlightenment (7)  |  Guidance (6)  |  Immature (2)  |  Motto (13)  |  Understanding (231)

All human knowledge begins with intuitions, proceeds from thence to concepts, and ends with ideas.
— Immanuel Kant
Critique of Pure Reason (1781, 1787), B 730. As translated by Norman Kemp Smith in Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (1929), 569.
Science quotes on:  |  Beginning (71)  |  Concept (38)  |  End (51)  |  Human (168)  |  Idea (226)  |  Intuition (26)  |  Knowledge (679)

An organized product of nature is that in which all the parts are mutually ends and means.
— Immanuel Kant
Critik der Urtheilskraft (1799), 296. In William Whewell, History of Scientific Ideas (1858), Vol. 2, 239.
Science quotes on:  |  Organism (70)

Give me matter, and I will construct a world out of it!
— Immanuel Kant
'Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens' (1755), preface. In W. Hastie (ed. and trans.), Kant's Cosmogony: As in his Essay on the Retardation of the Rotation of the Earth and his Natural History and Theory of the Heavens (1900), 29.
Science quotes on:  |  Matter (135)  |  World (231)

God put a secret art into the forces of Nature so as to enable it to fashion itself out of chaos into a perfect world system.
— Immanuel Kant
Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens (1755), editted and translated by William Hastie in Kant's Cosmogony (1900), 27.
Science quotes on:  |  Chaos (33)  |  Force (75)  |  Nature (534)  |  Perfection (43)  |  Secret (44)  |  System (66)

If it were possible for us to have so deep an insight into a man's character as shown both in inner and in outer actions, that every, even the least, incentive to these actions and all external occasions which affect them were so known to us that his future conduct could be predicted with as great a certainty as the occurrence of a solar or lunar eclipse, we could nevertheless still assert that the man is free.
— Immanuel Kant
Critique of Practical Reason (1788). In L. W. Beck (ed. & trans.), Critique of Practical Reason and Other Writings in Moral Philosophy (1949), 204-5.
Science quotes on:  |  Action (57)  |  Certainty (59)  |  Character (39)  |  Conduct (8)  |  Eclipse (11)  |  Free (13)  |  Incentive (4)  |  Insight (28)  |  Prediction (48)

In scientific matters ... the greatest discoverer differs from the most arduous imitator and apprentice only in degree, whereas he differs in kind from someone whom nature has endowed for fine art. But saying this does not disparage those great men to whom the human race owes so much in contrast to those whom nature has endowed for fine art. For the scientists' talent lies in continuing to increase the perfection of our cognitions and on all the dependent benefits, as well as in imparting that same knowledge to others; and in these respects they are far superior to those who merit the honour of being called geniuses. For the latter's art stops at some point, because a boundary is set for it beyond which it cannot go and which has probably long since been reached and cannot be extended further.
— Immanuel Kant
The Critique of Judgement (1790), trans. J. C. Meredith (1991), 72.
Science quotes on:  |  Apprentice (3)  |  Benefit (21)  |  Boundary (10)  |  Cognition (2)  |  Discovery (360)  |  Genius (92)  |  Honour (20)  |  Imitator (2)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Perfection (43)  |  Science And Art (58)

It is presumed that there exists a great unity in nature, in respect of the adequacy of a single cause to account for many different kinds of consequences.
— Immanuel Kant
In Theoretical Philosophy, 1755-1770, trans. and ed. By David Walford (2003), 155.
Science quotes on:  |  Adequacy (4)  |  Cause (122)  |  Consequence (44)  |  Difference (135)  |  External (18)  |  Nature (534)  |  Unity (16)

Nature even in chaos cannot proceed otherwise than regularly and according to order.
— Immanuel Kant
Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens (1755), editted and translated by William Hastie in Kant's Cosmogony (1900), 26.
Science quotes on:  |  Chaos (33)  |  Nature (534)  |  Order (60)

Nature, when left to universal laws, tends to produce regularity out of chaos.
— Immanuel Kant
'Seventh Reflection: Cosmogony' in 'The Only Possible Argument in Support of a Demonstration of the Existence of God', (1763), editted and translated by David Walford in Theoretical Philosophy, 1755-1770 (2003), 191
Science quotes on:  |  Chaos (33)  |  Law (273)  |  Nature (534)  |  Order (60)

Notion without intuition is empty, intuition without notion is blind.
— Immanuel Kant
In Ralph Keyesr, The Quote Verifier, 52.
Science quotes on:  |  Intuition (26)

Our knowledge springs from two fundamental sources of the mind; the first is the capacity of receiving representations (receptivity for impressions), the second is the power of knowing an object through these representations (spontaneity [in the production] of concepts).
— Immanuel Kant
Critique of Pure Reason (1781), trans. Norman Kemp Smith (1929), 92.
Science quotes on:  |  Impression (32)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Mind (272)  |  Representation (17)

Philosophy stands in need of a science which shall determine the possibility, principles, and extent of human knowledge ΰ priori.
— Immanuel Kant
Critique of Pure Reason, translated by John Miller Dow Meiklejohn (1899), 4.
Science quotes on:  |  A Priori (8)  |  Extent (11)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Philosophy (132)  |  Possibility (70)  |  Principle (97)

Reason must approach nature with the view, indeed, of receiving information from it, not, however, in the character of a pupil, who listens to all that his master chooses to tell him, but in that of a judge, who compels the witnesses to reply to those questions which he himself thinks fit to propose. To this single idea must the revolution be ascribed, by which, after groping in the dark for so many centuries, natural science was at length conducted into the path of certain progress.
— Immanuel Kant
Critique of Pure Reason, translated by J.M.D. Meiklejohn (1855), Preface to the Second Edition, xxvii.
Science quotes on:  |  Approach (16)  |  Ascribe (6)  |  Century (38)  |  Compel (4)  |  Dark (12)  |  Grope (2)  |  Idea (226)  |  Information (56)  |  Judge (14)  |  Master (19)  |  Natural Science (29)  |  Nature (534)  |  Progress (200)  |  Proposition (28)  |  Pupil (10)  |  Question (159)  |  Reason (173)  |  Revolution (34)  |  View (48)  |  Witness (9)

Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.
— Immanuel Kant
In Joey Green, Philosophy on the Go (2007), 128
Science quotes on:  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Science (875)  |  Wisdom (91)

The ideal of the supreme being is nothing but a regulative principle of reason which directs us to look upon all connection in the world as if it originated from an all-sufficient necessary cause.
— Immanuel Kant
Critique of Pure Reason (1781), trans. Norman Kemp Smith (1929), 517.
Science quotes on:  |  Cause (122)  |  Connection (39)  |  God (234)  |  Ideal (26)  |  Necessity (78)  |  Reason (173)

The science of mathematics presents the most brilliant example of how pure reason may successfully enlarge its domain without the aid of experience
— Immanuel Kant
In Joey Green, Philosophy on the Go (2007), 128
Science quotes on:  |  Mathematics (367)  |  Reason (173)

Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind... The understanding can intuit nothing, the senses can think nothing. Only through their union can knowledge arise.
— Immanuel Kant
Critique of Pure Reason (1781), trans. Norman Kemp Smith (1929), 93.
Science quotes on:  |  Concept (38)  |  Content (17)  |  Intuition (26)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Sense (104)  |  Thought (170)  |  Understanding (231)

Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the oftener and more steadily they are reflected on: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.
— Immanuel Kant
Critique of Practical Reason (1788). In L. W. Beck (ed. and trans.), Critique of Practical Reason and Other Writings in Moral Philosophy (1949), 258.
Science quotes on:  |  Admiration (23)  |  Awe (9)  |  Law (273)  |  Mind (272)  |  Morality (19)  |  Star (132)

We come no nearer the infinitude of the creative power of God, if we enclose the space of its revelation within a sphere described with the radius of the Milky Way, than if we were to limit it to a ball an inch in diameter. All that is finite, whatever has limits and a definite relation to unity, is equally far removed from the infinite... Eternity is not sufficient to embrace the manifestations of the Supreme Being, if it is not combined with the infinitude of space.
— Immanuel Kant
'Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens' (1755), part 2, ch.7. In W. Hastie (ed. and trans.), Kant's Cosmogony: As in his Essay on the Retardation of the Rotation of the Earth and his Natural History and Theory of the Heavens (1900), 139-40.
Science quotes on:  |  Creation (129)  |  Eternity (22)  |  Finite (13)  |  God (234)  |  Infinite (39)  |  Milky Way (12)  |  Space (68)  |  Sphere (12)

When Galileo caused balls, the weights of which he had himself previously determined, to roll down an inclined plane; when Torricelli made the air carry a weight which he had calculated beforehand to be equal to that of a definite volume of water; or in more recent times, when Stahl changed metal into lime, and lime back into metal, by withdrawing something and then restoring it, a light broke upon all students of nature. They learned that reason has insight only into that which it produces after a plan of its own, and that it must not allow itself to be kept, as it were, in nature's leading-strings, but must itself show the way with principles of judgement based upon fixed laws, constraining nature to give answer to questions of reason's own determining. Accidental observations, made in obedience to no previously thought-out plan, can never be made to yield a necessary law, which alone reason is concerned to discover.
— Immanuel Kant
Critique of Pure Reason (1781), trans. Norman Kemp Smith (1929), 20.
Science quotes on:  |  Discovery (360)  |  Experiment (369)  |  Galileo Galilei (64)  |  Insight (28)  |  Judgement (3)  |  Law (273)  |  Nature (534)  |  Observation (264)  |  Plan (40)  |  Reason (173)  |  Georg Ernst Stahl (7)  |  Evangelista Torricelli (5)

Without the sensuous faculty no object would be given to us, without understanding no object would be thought. Thoughts without content are void, intuitions without conceptions, blind.
— Immanuel Kant
Critique of Pure Reason, translation by John Miller Dow Meiklejohn (1899), 45.
Science quotes on:  |  Intution (2)  |  Sense (104)  |  Thought (170)  |  Understanding (231)

[Aristotle formal logic thus far (1787)] has not been able to advance a single step, and hence is to all appearances closed and completed.
— Immanuel Kant
In Preface to second edition (1787) of Critique Of Pure Reason (1781) as translated by Werner Pluhar (1996), 15. An earlier translation by N. Kemp-Smith (1933) is similar, but ends with “appearance a closed and completed body of doctrine.”
Science quotes on:  |  Advance (52)  |  Appearance (47)  |  Aristotle (101)  |  Closed (3)  |  Formal (4)  |  Logic (132)  |  Step (26)



Quotes by others about Immanuel Kant (4)

Historically the most striking result of Kant's labors was the rapid separation of the thinkers of his own nation and, though less completely, of the world, into two parties;—the philosophers and the scientists.
The Order of Nature: An Essay (1917), 69.
Science quotes on:  |  Philosopher (67)  |  Scientist (237)

[Helmholtz] is not a philosopher in the exclusive sense, as Kant, Hegel, Mansel are philosophers, but one who prosecutes physics and physiology, and acquires therein not only skill in developing any desideratum, but wisdom to know what are the desiderata, e.g., he was one of the first, and is one of the most active, preachers of the doctrine that since all kinds of energy are convertible, the first aim of science at this time. should be to ascertain in what way particular forms of energy can be converted into each other, and what are the equivalent quantities of the two forms of energy. Letter to Lewis Campbell (21 Apr 1862).
In P. M. Harman (ed.), The Scientific Letters and Papers of James Clerk Maxwell (1990), Vol. 1, 711.
Science quotes on:  |  Acquire (7)  |  Ascertain (5)  |  Conservation Of Energy (17)  |  Conversion (11)  |  Doctrine (33)  |  Equivalent (7)  |  Exclusive (5)  |  Form (70)  |  Hermann von Helmholtz (17)  |  Philosopher (67)  |  Physics (156)  |  Physiology (41)  |  Preacher (4)  |  Prosecute (3)  |  Quantity (23)  |  Sense (104)  |  Skill (27)  |  Wisdom (91)

Pathology, probably more than any other branch of science, suffers from heroes and hero-worship. Rudolf Virchow has been its archangel and William Welch its John the Baptist, while Paracelsus and Cohnheim have been relegated to the roles of Lucifer and Beelzebub. ... Actually, there are no heroes in Pathology—all of the great thoughts permitting advance have been borrowed from other fields, and the renaissance of pathology stems not from pathology itself but from the philosophers Kant and Goethe.
Quoted from an address to a second year class, in Levin L. Waters, obituary for Harry S. N. Greene, M.D., in Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine (Feb-Apr 1971), 43:4-5, 207.
Science quotes on:  |  Advance (52)  |  Beelzebub (2)  |  Borrowing (4)  |  Branch (23)  |  Field (69)  |  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (44)  |  Hero (10)  |  Philippus Aureolus Paracelsus (13)  |  Pathology (9)  |  Philosopher (67)  |  Renaissance (5)  |  Stem (7)  |  Suffering (20)  |  Rudolf Virchow (27)  |  Worship (11)

Kant, discussing the various modes of perception by which the human mind apprehends nature, concluded that it is specially prone to see nature through mathematical spectacles. Just as a man wearing blue spectacles would see only a blue world, so Kant thought that, with our mental bias, we tend to see only a mathematical world.
In The Mysterious Universe (1930), 115.
Science quotes on:  |  Apprehension (8)  |  Bias (8)  |  Blue (9)  |  Comprehension (30)  |  Conclusion (74)  |  Discussion (17)  |  Human (168)  |  Mathematics (367)  |  Mental (16)  |  Mode (8)  |  Nature (534)  |  Perception (21)  |  Prone (4)  |  Seeing (29)  |  Spectacles (3)  |  World (231)


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  • todayinsci icon 22 Apr - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Kant's birth.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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- 90 -
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Euclid
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- 80 -
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- 70 -
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- 60 -
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- 20 -
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