The New Student's Reference Work/Kant, Immanuel

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Kant, Immanuel, a philosopher of worldwide renown, was born at Königsberg, East Prussia, April 22, 1724, and died there on Feb. 12, 1804. Kant's parents were poor but respectable, his father being a saddler or strap-maker. At 18, Kant entered the University of Königsberg as a student of theology, but he soon gave up that profession and diligently applied himself to mathematics and the physical sciences. After supporting himself for years as a private teacher at Königsberg, Kant was appointed a professor in the university and continued teaching and lecturing there till his death. Although Kant was fond of books of travel, he never was more than 40 miles from his native town. He was temperate in his habits, patient and persistent in his work, and was much admired. The teacher's object, he always declared, should be to induce the habit of self-reflection in his pupils. While lecturing, it was his custom to fix his eye very closely on some student and judge by the face and eye of that one whether he was understood or not. Kant was the author of a large number of works, the most famous of which are his Critique of Pure Reason, his Critique of the Practical Reason and his Critique of the Faculty of Judgment. In his political views Kant may be counted as one of the foremost champions of liberty and progress. In respect to religion his supreme idea was that of duty and obligation, leaving but little room for the play of the feelings. "Whoever will tell me," he was accustomed to say, "of a good action done, him will I thank, though it be the last hour of my life." A short time before his death he said to his friends: "I do not fear death; if I were sure of being called away this night, I could raise my hand to heaven and say: 'God be praised I.'"