145+ Best Immanuel Kant Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Immanuel Kant was an influential philosopher in the Age of Enlightenment. In his doctrine of transcendental idealism, he argued that space, time, and causation are mere sensibilities; “things-in-themselves” exist, but their nature is unknowable. Profoundly inspirational Immanuel Kant quotes will encourage you to think a little deeper than you usually would and broaden your perspective.

If you’re searching for famous philosopher quotes that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of quotes by Jean Jacques Rousseau, best Jean-Paul Sartre quotes and greatest David Hume quotes.

Famous Immanuel Kant Quotes

Maturity is having the courage to use one’s own intelligence! – Immanuel Kant

By a lie a man throws away and, as it were, annihilates his dignity as a man. A man who himself does not believe what he tells another has even less worth than if he were a mere thing makes himself a mere deceptive appearance of man, not man himself. – Immanuel Kant

Immaturity is the incapacity to use one’s intelligence without the guidance of another. – Immanuel Kant

After death the soul possesses self-consciousness, otherwise, it would be the subject of spiritual death, which has already been disproved. With this self-consciousness necessarily remains personality and the consciousness of personal identity. – Immanuel Kant

Life is the faculty of spontaneous activity, the awareness that we have powers. – Immanuel Kant

Always recognize that human individuals are ends, and do not use them as means to your end. – Immanuel Kant

In man (as the only rational creature on earth) those natural capacities which are directed to the use of his reason are to be fully developed only in the race, not in the individual. – Immanuel Kant

Great minds think for themselves. – Immanuel Kant

I assert that, in any particular natural science, one encounters genuine scientific substance only to the extent that mathematics is present. – Immanuel Kant

Imagination is a powerful agent for creating, as it were, a second nature out of the material supplied to it by actual nature. – Immanuel Kant

A man who has tasted with profound enjoyment the pleasure of agreeable society will eat with a greater appetite than he who rode horseback for two hours. An amusing lecture is as useful for health as the exercise of the body. – Immanuel Kant

If education is to develop human nature so that it may attain the object of its being, it must involve the exercise of judgment. – Immanuel Kant

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. – Immanuel Kant

No state at war with another state should engage in hostilities of such a kind as to render mutual confidence impossible when peace will have been made. – Immanuel Kant

If a man is often the subject of conversation, he soon becomes the subject of criticism. – Immanuel Kant

Freedom is independence of the compulsory will of another, and in so far as it tends to exist with the freedom of all according to a universal law, it is the one sole original inborn right belonging to every man in virtue of his humanity. – Immanuel Kant

Without man and his potential for moral progress, the whole of reality would be a mere wilderness, a thing in vain, and have no final purpose. – Immanuel Kant

All thought must, directly or indirectly, by way of certain characters, relate ultimately to intuitions, and therefore, with us, to sensibility, because in no other way can an object be given to us. – Immanuel Kant

The greatest human quest is to know what one must do in order to become a human being. – Immanuel Kant

Animals are there merely as a means to an end. That end is man. – Immanuel Kant

Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life. – Immanuel Kant

Two things awe me most, the starry sky above me and the moral law within me. – Immanuel Kant

Nothing is divine but what is agreeable to reason. – Immanuel Kant

Give me matter, and I will construct a world out of it! – Immanuel Kant

Most men use their knowledge only under guidance from others because they lack the courage to think independently using their own reasoning abilities. It takes intellectual daring to discover the truth. – Immanuel Kant

But although all our knowledge begins with experience, it does not follow that it arises from experience. – Immanuel Kant

Happiness, though an indefinite concept, is the goal of all rational beings – Immanuel Kant

All human knowledge begins with intuitions, proceeds from thence to concepts, and ends with ideas. – Immanuel Kant

Perhaps a revolution can overthrow autocratic despotism and profiteering or power-grabbing oppression, but it can never truly reform a manner of thinking; instead, new prejudices, just like the old ones they replace, will serve as a leash for the great unthinking mass. – Immanuel Kant

Reason in a creature is a faculty of widening the rules and purposes of the use of all its powers far beyond natural instinct; it acknowledges no limits to its projects. Reason itself does not work instinctively, but requires trial, practice, and instruction in order gradually to progress from one level of insight to another. – Immanuel Kant

We are not rich by what we possess but by what we can do without. – Immanuel Kant

From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. – Immanuel Kant

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

Perpetual Peace is only found in the graveyard. – Immanuel Kant

Man’s greatest concern is to know how he shall properly fill his place in the universe and correctly understand what he must be in order to be a man. – Immanuel Kant

For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first. – Immanuel Kant

Every human being should always be treated as an end and never as a mere instrument. – Immanuel Kant

Natural science physics contains in itself synthetical judgments a priori, as principles. … Space then is a necessary representation a priori, which serves for the foundation of all external intuitions. – Immanuel Kant

When a thoughtful human being has overcome incentives to vice and is aware of having done his bitter duty, he finds himself in a state that could be called happiness, a state of contentment and peace of mind in which virtue is its own reward. – Immanuel Kant

Religion is the recognition of all our duties as divine commands. – Immanuel Kant

Freedom can never be comprehended, nor even can insight into it be gained. – Immanuel Kant

Space and time are the framework within which the mind is constrained to construct its experience of reality. – Immanuel Kant

Reason should investigate its own parameters before declaring its omniscience. – Immanuel Kant

Philosophical knowledge is the knowledge gained by reason from concepts; mathematical knowledge is the knowledge gained by reason from the construction of concepts. – Immanuel Kant

I freely admit that the remembrance of David Hume was the very thing that many years ago first interrupted my dogmatic slumber and gave a completely different direction to my researches in the field of speculative philosophy. – Immanuel Kant

Act so that the maxim of your act could be made the principle of a universal law. – Immanuel Kant

Patience is the strength of the weak, impatience is the weakness of the strong. – Immanuel Kant

You only know me as you see me, not as I actually am. – Immanuel Kant

Maximum individuality within maximum community – Immanuel Kant

If we could see ourselves… as we really are, we should see ourselves in a world of spiritual natures, our community which neither began at birth nor will end with the death of the body. – Immanuel Kant

Procrastination is hardly more evil than grasping impatience. – Immanuel Kant

Have the courage to use your own reason- That is the motto of enlightenment. Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785) – Immanuel Kant

Enlightenment is man’s leaving his self-caused immaturity. Immaturity is the incapacity to use one’s intelligence without the guidance of another. Such immaturity is self-caused if it is not caused by lack of intelligence, but by lack of determination and courage to use one’s intelligence without being guided by another. Sapere Aude! Have the courage to use your own intelligence! is therefore the motto of the enlightenment. – Immanuel Kant

Physicians think they do a lot for a patient when they give his disease a name. – Immanuel Kant

It is the Land of Truth (enchanted name!), surrounded by a wide and stormy ocean, the true home of illusion, where many a fog bank and ice, that soon melts away, tempt us to believe in new lands, while constantly deceiving the adventurous mariner with vain hopes, and involving him in adventures which he can never leave, yet never bring to an end. – Immanuel Kant

What can I know? What ought I to do? What may I hope? – Immanuel Kant

If, like Hume, I had all manner of adornment in my power, I would still have reservations about using them. It is true that some readers will be scared off by dryness. But isn’t it necessary to scare off some if in their case the matter would end up in bad hands? – Immanuel Kant

For how is it possible, says that acute man, that when a concept is given me, I can go beyond it and connect with it another which is not contained in it, in such a manner as if that latter necessarily belonged to the former? – Immanuel Kant

The ultimate destiny of the human race is the greatest moral perfection, provided that it is achieved through human freedom, whereby alone man is capable of the greatest happiness. – Immanuel Kant

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. – Immanuel Kant

The sum total of all possible knowledge of God is not possible for a human being, not even through a true revelation. But it is one of the worthiest inquiries to see how far our reason can go in the knowledge of God. – Immanuel Kant

Christianity possesses the great advantage over Judaism of being represented as coming from the mouth of the first Teacher not as a statutory but as a moral religion, and as thus entering into the closest relation with reason so that, through reason, it was able of itself, without historical learning, to be spread at all times and among all peoples with the greatest trustworthiness. – Immanuel Kant

Duty is the necessity to act out of reverence for the law. – Immanuel Kant

Humanity is at its greatest perfection in the race of the whites. – Immanuel Kant

Nature, when left to universal laws, tends to produce regularity out of chaos. – Immanuel Kant

Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the oftener and more steadily we reflect on them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me. – Immanuel Kant

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

There is needed, no doubt, a body of servants (ministerium) of the invisible church, but not officials (officiales), in other words, teachers but not dignitaries, because in the rational religion of every individual there does not yet exist a church as a universal union (omnitudo collectiva). – Immanuel Kant

Moral Teleology supplies the deficiency in physical Teleology , and first establishes a Theology ; because the latter, if it did not borrow from the former without being observed, but were to proceed consistently, could only found a Demonology , which is incapable of any definite concept. – Immanuel Kant

It is never too late to become reasonable and wise. – Immanuel Kant

In all judgements by which we describe anything as beautiful, we allow no one to be of another opinion. – Immanuel Kant

Even a man’s exact imitation of the song of the nightingale displeases us when we discover that it is a mimicry, and not the nightingale. – Immanuel Kant

The enjoyment of power inevitably corrupts the judgment of reason, and perverts its liberty. – Immanuel Kant

The arts of speech are rhetoric and poetry. Rhetoric is the art of transacting a serious business of the understanding as if it were a free play of the imagination; poetry that of conducting a free play of the imagination as if it were a serious business of the understanding. – Immanuel Kant

Enthusiasm is always connected with the senses, whatever be the object that excites it. The true strength of virtue is serenity of mind, combined with a deliberate and steadfast determination to execute her laws. That is the healthful condition of the moral life; on the other hand, enthusiasm, even when excited by representations of goodness, is a brilliant but feverish glow which leaves only exhaustion and languor behind. – Immanuel Kant

Three things tell a man: his eyes, his friends and his favorite quotes – Immanuel Kant

A single line in the Bible has consoled me more than all the books I ever read besides. – Immanuel Kant

The more we come in contact with animals and observe their behavior, the more we love them, for we see how great is their care of the young. – Immanuel Kant

Standing armies shall in time be totally abolished. – Immanuel Kant

Happiness is not an ideal of reason, but of imagination. – Immanuel Kant

In the metaphysical elements of aesthetics the various nonmoral feelings are to be made use of; in the elements of moral metaphysics the various moral feelings of men, according to the differences in sex, age, education, and government, of races and climates, are to be employed. – Immanuel Kant

The sceptics, a kind of nomads, despising all settled culture of the land, broke up from time to time all civil society. Fortunately, their number was small, and they could not prevent the old settlers from returning to cultivate the ground afresh, though without any fixed plan or agreement. – Immanuel Kant

But a lie is a lie, and in itself intrinsically evil, whether it be told with good or bad intents. – Immanuel Kant

I shall never forget my mother, for it was she who planted and nurtured the first seeds of good within me. She opened my heart to the lasting impressions of nature; she awakened my understanding and extended my horizon and her percepts exerted an everlasting influence upon the course of my life. – Immanuel Kant

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. – Immanuel Kant

Things which we see are not by themselves what we see. It remains completely unknown to us what the objects may be by themselves and apart from the receptivity of our senses. We know nothing but our manner of perceiving them. – Immanuel Kant

Man desired concord: but nature knows better what is good for his species; she desires discord. Man wants to live easy and content; but nature compels him to leave ease… and throw himself into roils and labors. – Immanuel Kant

Do the right thing because it is right. – Immanuel Kant

When I could have used a wife, I could not support one; and when I could support one, I no longer needed any – Immanuel Kant

One cannot avoid a certain feeling of disgust, when one observes the actions of man displayed on the great stage of the world. Wisdom is manifested by individuals here and there; but the web of human history as a whole appears to be woven from folly and childish vanity, often, too, from puerile wickedness and love of destruction: with the result that at the end one is puzzled to know what idea to form of our species which prides itself so much on its advantages. – Immanuel Kant

Ghost stories are always listened to and well received in private, but pitilessly disavowed in public. For my own part, ignorant as I am of the way in which the human spirit enters the world and the way in which he goes out of it, I dare not deny the truth of many such narratives. – Immanuel Kant

The human heart refuses to believe in a universe without a purpose. – Immanuel Kant

All our knowledge falls with the bounds of experience. – Immanuel Kant

The light dove, cleaving the air in her free flight, and feeling its resistance, might imagine that its flight would be still easier in empty space. – Immanuel Kant

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

We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals. – Immanuel Kant

Often war is waged only in order to show valor; thus an inner dignity is ascribed to war itself, and even some philosophers have praised it as an ennoblement of humanity, forgetting the pronouncement of the Greek who said, ‘War is an evil in as much as it produces more wicked men than it takes away.’ – Immanuel Kant

Time is not an empirical concept. For neither co-existence nor succession would be perceived by us, if the representation of time did not exist as a foundation a priori. – Immanuel Kant

Freedom is that faculty that enlarges the usefulness of all other faculties. – Immanuel Kant

If you have work to do. If you have someone you love. If You have hope. Then You are Happy now! – Immanuel Kant

THERE ARE TWO THINGS that don’t have to mean anything, one is music and the other is laughter. – Immanuel Kant

Freedom is the alone unoriginated birthright of man and belongs to him by force of his humanity. – Immanuel Kant

Both love of mankind, and respect for their rights are duties; the former however is only a conditional, the latter an unconditional, purely imperative duty, which he must be perfectly certain not to have transgressed who would give himself up to the secret emotions arising from benevolence. – Immanuel Kant

Suicide is not abominable because God prohibits it; God prohibits it because it is abominable. – Immanuel Kant

The only thing that is good without qualification is a good will. – Immanuel Kant

Art is purposiveness without purpose. – Immanuel Kant

Human reason is by nature architectonic. – Immanuel Kant

Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end. – Immanuel Kant

Reason is given to us as a practical faculty, that is, as one that influences the will. – Immanuel Kant

The existence of the Bible, as a book for the people, is the greatest benefit which the human race has ever experienced. Every attempt to belittle it is a crime against humanity. – Immanuel Kant

It is therefore correct to say that the senses do not err — not because they always judge rightly, but because they do not judge at all. – Immanuel Kant

Democracy is necessarily despotism, as it establishes an executive power contrary to the general will; all being able to decide against one whose opinion may differ, the will of all is therefore not that of all: which is contradictory and opposite to liberty. – Immanuel Kant

Two things strike me dumb: the infinite starry heavens, and the sense of right and wrong in man. – Immanuel Kant

If we knew that god exists, such knowledge would make morality impossible. For, if we acted morally from fear or fright, or confident of a reward, then this would not be moral. It would be enlightened selfishness. – Immanuel Kant

Aus so krummen Holze, als woraus der Mensch gemacht ist, kann nichts ganz Gerades gezimmert werden. Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing can ever be made. – Immanuel Kant

There is nothing higher than reason. – Immanuel Kant

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

Of all the arts poetry (which owes its origin almost entirely to genius and will least be guided by precept or example) maintains the first rank. – Immanuel Kant

Rules for Happiness: something to do, someone to love, something to hope for. – Immanuel Kant

Experience without theory is blind, but theory without experience is mere intellectual play. – Immanuel Kant

The instruction of children should aim gradually to combine knowing and doing. Among all sciences mathematics seems to be the only one of a kind to satisfy this aim most completely. – Immanuel Kant

There is no virtue in penance and fasting which waste the body; they are only fanatical and monkish. – Immanuel Kant

The busier we are, the more acutely we feel that we live, the more conscious we are of life. – Immanuel Kant

A ruler is merely the trustee of the rights of other men and he must always stand in dread of having in some way violated these rights. – Immanuel Kant

I am myself by inclination an investigator. – Immanuel Kant

Always regard every man as an end in himself, and never use him merely as a means to your ends [i.e., respect that each person has a life and purpose that is their own; do not treat people as objects to be exploited]. – Immanuel Kant

Better the whole people perish than that injustice be done – Immanuel Kant

I am an investigator by inclination. I feel a great thirst for knowledge. – Immanuel Kant

We ourselves introduce that order and regularity in the appearance which we entitle nature. We could never find them in appearances had we not ourselves, by the nature of our own mind, originally set them there. – Immanuel Kant

Our intellect does not draw its laws from nature, but it imposes its laws upon nature. – Immanuel Kant

Beneficence is a duty. He who frequently practices it, and sees his benevolent intentions realized, at length comes really to love him to whom he has done good. When, therefore, it is said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, it is not meant, thou shalt love him first and do him good in consequence of that love, but, thou shalt do good to thy neighbor; and this thy beneficence will engender in thee that love to mankind which is the fulness and consummation of the inclination to do good. – Immanuel Kant

If you punish a child for being naughty, and reward him for being good, he will do right merely for the sake of the reward; and when he goes out into the world and finds that goodness is not always rewarded, nor wickedness always punished, he will grow into a man who only thinks about how he may get on in the world, and does right or wrong according as he finds advantage to himself. – Immanuel Kant

Is it reasonable to assume a purposiveness in all the parts of nature and to deny it to the whole? – Immanuel Kant

Through laziness and cowardice a large part of mankind, even after nature has freed them from alien guidance, gladly remain immature. It is because of laziness and cowardice that it is so easy for others to usurp the role of guardians. It is so comfortable to be a minor! – Immanuel Kant

Human reason has the peculiar fate in one species of its cognitions that it is burdened with questions which it cannot dismiss, since they are given to it as problems by the nature of reason itself, but which it also cannot answer, since they transcend every capacity of human reason. – Immanuel Kant

All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason. – Immanuel Kant

Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind. – Immanuel Kant

In the mere concept of one thing it cannot be found any character of its existence. – Immanuel Kant

The bad thing of war is, that it makes more evil people than it can take away. – Immanuel Kant

The only thing permanent is change. – Immanuel Kant

If I am to constrain you by any law, it must be one by which I am also bound. – Immanuel Kant

Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made. – Immanuel Kant

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. – Immanuel Kant

Among all nations, through the darkest polytheism glimmer some faint sparks of monotheism. – Immanuel Kant

Religion is too important a matter to its devotees to be a subject of ridicule. If they indulge in absurdities, they are to be pitied rather than ridiculed. – Immanuel Kant

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