About the Author
Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) was a German philosopher, researching, lecturing and writing on philosophy and anthropology during and at the end of the 18th Century Enlightenment. At the time, there were major successes and advances in physical science (for example, Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle) using reason and logic. But this stood in sharp contrast to the skepticism and lack of agreement or progress in empiricist philosophy. Kant’s magnum opus, the Critique of Pure Reason, aimed to unite reason with experience to move beyond what he took to be failures of traditional philosophy and metaphysics. He hoped to end an age of speculation where objects outside experience were used to support what he saw as futile theories, while opposing the skepticism and idealism of thinkers such as Descartes, Berkeley and Hume. He said that ‘it always remains a scandal of philosophy and universal human reason that the existence of things outside us ... should have to be assumed merely on faith, and that if it occurs to anyone to doubt it, we should be unable to answer him with a satisfactory proof’. Kant proposed a ‘Copernican Revolution’, saying that 'Up to now it has been assumed that all our cognition must conform to the objects; but ...let us once try whether we do not get farther with the problems of metaphysics by assuming that the objects must conform to our cognition'.
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