Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Kant, Immanuel (1724–1804)
Kant is the philosopher of freedom. All of his contributions to political theory can be understood as consequences of his consistent, if sometimes obscure, commitment to realizing human freedom. Taken in its historical context among other late eighteenth-century efforts at Enlightenment, Kant's work aims at human emancipation—from the institutions of the old regime, from social and political domination generally, and even from traditional patterns of thinking. “Sapere aude!” Kant exhorted his readers, “Have the courage to make use of your own understanding!” (8:35; 17.) * Kant achieved his philosophy of freedom despite rather difficult personal circumstances. He was born in 1724 in the Prussian city of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad) into a harness-making family whose fortunes declined over the course of his childhood. Educated in mediocre schools before his entry to university, Kant later supported himself by teaching large numbers of students in popular lecture courses and secured an appropriate university ...