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32. Kant


Subject Philosophy

People Kant, Immanuel

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631219088.2002.00037.x


Immanuel Kant was born in Königsberg, a flourishing Prussian port on the Baltic Sea. He went to the local grammar school, by all accounts an unwholesome place, where the pietist religious atmosphere was enforced by the ‘pedantic and gloomy discipline of fanatics’, but where he nevertheless succeeded in supplementing his limited means with his winnings from billiards and cards. At the age of 16 he began his studies at Königsberg University. During the next decade he studied, among other disciplines, mathematics, theology, physics and philosophy. In 1755 Kant gained the qualifications necessary for him to become a Privatdozent (an independent teacher) at the university. As a Privatdozent he was not entitled to a salary, but instead received a small fee from each student he taught. In order to survive financially Kant was forced to lecture for up to 36 hours per week, on subjects as diverse as logic, metaphysics, geography, ethics, physics, pedagogics, arithmetic, geometry, trigonometry, natural theology, astronomy, meteorology and anthropology; and in 1764 he was offered, but declined, the post of Professor of Poetry. In spite of this ‘monstrous academic workload’, Kant was anything but a recluse. One contemporary recalled that Kant ‘spent almost every midday and evening outside his house in social activities, frequently taking part also in a card party, and only getting home around ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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