Immanuel Kant

German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) is considered the most influential thinker of the Enlightenment era and one of the greatest Western philosophers of all times. His works, especially those on epistemology (theory of knowledge), aesthetics and ethics had a profound influence on later philosophers, including contemporary ones.

Besides establishing himself as one of the foremost Western philosophers, Kant also made an important contribution to science and is considered one of the most important figures in the development of modern science despite the fact that he was most interested in philosophy of science and knowledge that science produces. His main contribution to the rise modern science was its liberation from theology.

Early Life

Immanuel Kant was born to Johann Georg Cant and his wife Anna Regina Cant as fourth of nine children. His (paternal) grandfather was from Scotland where the surname Cant is still relatively common in the north. Immanuel decided to change his surname from Cant into Kant in order for it to meet the German spelling and pronunciation practices.

Kant grew up under the influence of Pietism, a Protestant sect that was very popular in north Germany during the early 18th century. At the age of 8, he enrolled into a Latin Pietist school with an aim to study theology when older. However, he soon developed interest in Latin and the classics. At the age of 16, he entered the University of Königsberg and mainly dedicated himself to study of mathematics but he also began to develop interest in philosophy. In 1746, he was forced to leave the university due to his father’s death. For nearly a decade, he worked as a private tutor for three influential families in order to help his younger siblings.

Later life and Death

In 1755, Kant returned to the University of Königsberg to continue his education. Within the same year, he received a doctorate from philosophy. He spent the next 15 years working as a...