Talk:Immanuel Kant

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This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Immanuel Kant page.


Edited the bracketed remark out of the "Sapere Aude" quote because the language is clarified within the quote immediately after it is used.



Does anyone have an english translation for this one? Able to translate?

"Das Recht muß nie der Politik, wohl aber die Politik jederzeit dem Recht angepaßt werden." - Über ein vermeintes Recht aus Menschenliebe zu Lügen, A 313

What is right must never be fitted to policy; rather policy must at each moment fit what is right. 23:35, 26 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]


  • Fallacious and misleading arguments are most easily detected if set out in correct syllogistic form.
  • He who has made great moral progress ceases to pray.

  • If we attend to the course of conversation in mixed companies consisting not merely of scholars and subtle reasoners but also of business people or women, we notice that besides storytelling and jesting they have another entertainment, namely, arguing.
  • Immaturity is the incapacity to use one's intelligence without the guidance of another.
  • In law a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others. In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so.
  • Intuition and concepts constitute... the elements of all our knowledge, so that neither concepts without an intuition in some way corresponding to them, nor intuition without concepts, can yield knowledge.
  • It is not God's will merely that we should be happy, but that we should make ourselves happy.
  • It is not necessary that whilst I live I live happily; but it is necessary that so long as I live I should live honourably.
  • Man must be disciplined, for he is by nature raw and wild.
  • Metaphysics is a dark ocean without shores or lighthouse, strewn with many a philosophic wreck.
  • Nothing is divine but what is agreeable to reason.
  • Reason can never prove the existence of God.
  • Reason does not work instinctively, but requires trial, practice, and instruction in order to gradually progress from one level of insight to another.
  • Reason must approach nature in order to be taught by it. It must not, however, do so in the character of a pupil who listens to everything that the teacher chooses to say, but of an appointed judge who compels the witness to answer questions which he has himself formulated.
  • Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.
  • Seek not the favor of the multitude; it is seldom got by honest and lawful means. But seek the testimony of few; and number not voices, but weigh them.
  • The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility.
  • The history of the human race, viewed as a whole may be regarded as the realization of a hidden plan of nature to bring about a political constitution, internally, and for this purpose, also externally perfect, as the only state in which all the capacities implanted by her in mankind can be fully developed.
  • The only objects of practical reason are therefore those of good and evil. For by the former is meant an object necessarily desired according to a principle of reason; by the latter one necessarily shunned, also according to a principle of reason.
  • The possession of power unavoidably spoils the free use of reason.
  • Marriage is the agreement between two people of the opposite sexes to the life-long exclusive possession of each other's sexual organs.
    • Quoted by György Lukács in The Process of Democratization (1991), p. 155, but no specific source is given.

Help with citation[edit]

I have a quotation from the Critique of Pure Reason which reads as follows:

"For it is extremely absurd to expect to be enlightened by reason, and yet to prescribe to her beforehand on which side she must incline."

The translation used is by F. Max Mueller. I do not know however how to cite the quotation properly. For example, rather than "Chapter x, section y", one quotation is cited as being from "A 51, B 75". This I do not understand. Would one please privy me? Thank you IOHANNVSVERVS (talk) 07:08, 3 November 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Kant published the first edition in 1781 [edition A], the second edition in 1787 [edition B]. Kants gesammelte Schriften (Akademie edition) is the standard edition of Kant's works. Page number of those edition is used. In Hackett edition (translated by Werner S. Pluhar, 1996) or Cambridge edition (edited and translated by Paul Guyer and Allen W. Wood, 1998) you can see the mark like "A 51", or "B 75". In introduction of Cambridge edition or translator's preface in Hackett edition, you can see more explanation about this.
The quote "For it is quite absurd to expect enlightenment from reason and yet to prescribe to it in advance on which side it must come out." (Cambridge edition) or "For to expect enlightenment from reason and yet to prescribe to it beforehand on which side it must necessarily sally forth is quite absurd." (Hackett edition) is from "A 747, B 775".
Maybe since the publication of Norman Kemp Smith's English translation, this mark has been a sort of academic custom. --Y-S.Ko (talk) 23:08, 3 November 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Y-S.Ko, thank you very much for your response. I have added the quotation using your suggested citation.
I do not know if I understand properly your explanation however. Am I correct in thinking that to say "A 747, B 775" is equal to saying "page 747 of the 1781 edition, page 775 of the 1787 edition"? IOHANNVSVERVS (talk) 07:52, 4 November 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I think the answer is yes. By the way, Could you explain why you use old translation rather than recent one? --Y-S.Ko (talk) 09:24, 7 November 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I prefer the Mueller translation. IOHANNVSVERVS (talk) 13:37, 7 November 2015 (UTC)[reply]

A source for "Have patience awhile; slanders are not long-lived."[edit]

The cited source for this quotation [Northend, C. (1880). Gems of thought: being a collection of more than 1000 choice selections or aphorisms. New York: Appleton.] itself has no specific source citation for it. It would seem to be from a personal correspondence of Kant, but it does not appear in the Cambridge collection of his correspondence.[1]. Does anyone know which primary text or correspondence it is from? --Mavaddat (talk) 17:43, 17 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Jew quotes[edit]

I found some recent books attributing some statements about Jews to Kant. I am wondering if anyone is able to find any earlier references to them. I don't want to add them to the main page until I'm more sure that he made these statements.

  • pg 402 of HyperHumanity 2013 by Mike Hockney
    • "Every coward is a liar; Jews for example, not only in business, but also in common life."
    • "The Jews still cannot claim any true genius, any truly great man. All their talents and skills revolve around strategems and low cunning... They are a nation of swindlers."
    • The Jews are by nature "sharp dealers" who are "bound together by superstition." Their "immoral and vile" behavior in commerce shows that they "do not aspire to civic virtue," for "the spirit of usury holds"
  • Ideology of Death 1996 by John Weiss, pg 67
    • Even the moderate Kant thought Jews by nature "sharp dealers" who were "bound together by superstition." Their "immoral and vile" behavior in commerce and trade showed they "do not aspire to civic virtue," for "the spirit of usury holds sway amongst them" a "nation of swindlers" who ben../

The last quote was cut off in the Gbooks preview, but this 2009 appendix indicates it ended benefit only “from deceiving their host’s culture.” with reference 190 saying "Kant, quoted in Weiss 1996, p. 67."

The paraphrasing Hockney did in 2013 resembles that of Weiss from 1996. I'd like to know the full quote it's based on though.

Even if we are unable to find further evidence to support/verify these excerpts, they seem notable enough and controversial enough to list under 'attributed'. If anyone has objected to these attributes we could then list their objections to them. ScratchMarshall (talk) 21:07, 13 February 2018 (UTC)[reply]

  1. Kant, Immanuel; Zweig, Arnulf (1999-05-26) (in en). Correspondence. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521354011.