Emmanuel Kant citations
Date de naissance: 22. avril 1724
Date de décès: 12. février 1804
Emmanuel Kant est un philosophe allemand, fondateur du criticisme et de la doctrine dite « idéalisme transcendantal ».
Né le 22 avril 1724 à Königsberg, capitale de la Prusse-Orientale, il y est mort le 12 février 1804. Grand penseur de l'Aufklärung, Kant a exercé une influence considérable sur l'idéalisme allemand, la philosophie analytique, la phénoménologie, la philosophie postmoderne, et la pensée critique en général. Son œuvre, considérable et diverse dans ses intérêts, mais centrée autour des trois Critiques, à savoir la Critique de la raison pure, la Critique de la raison pratique et la Critique de la faculté de juger, fait ainsi l'objet d'appropriations et d'interprétations successives et divergentes.
Citations Emmanuel Kant
„Les esprits qui ont le sentiment du sublime sont entraînés insensiblement vers les sentiments élevés de l’amitié, du mépris du monde, de l’éternité, par le calme et le silence d’une soirée d’été, alors que la lumière tremblante des étoiles perce les ombres de la nuit, et que la lune solitaire paraît à l’horizon. Le jour brillant inspire l’ardeur du travail et le sentiment de la joie. Le sublime émeut, le beau charme.“
The Critique of Aesthetic Judgement
„Un gouvernement qui serait fondé sur le principe de la bienveillance envers le peuple, tel celui du père envers ses enfants, c’est-à-dire un gouvernement paternel, où par conséquent les sujets tels des enfants mineurs, incapables de décider de ce qui leur est vraiment utile ou nuisible, sont obligés de se comporter d’une manière purement passive, afin d’attendre uniquement du jugement du chef de l’État la façon dont ils doivent être heureux, et uniquement de sa bonté qu’il le veuille également -un tel gouvernement, dis-je, est le plus grand despotisme que l’on puisse concevoir.“
Théorie et pratique - D'un prétendu droit de mentir par humanité, 1797
„Ce dernier talent correspond proprement à ce qu’on appelle l’âme; car exprimer et rendre universellement communicable ce qu’il y a d’indicible dans l’état d’esprit associé à une certaine représentation – et ce, que l’expression relève du langage, de la peinture ou de la plastique -, cela requiert un pouvoir d’appréhender le jeu si fugace de l’imagination et de le synthétiser dans un concept qui se peut communiquer sans la contrainte de règles (un concept qui, précisément pour cette raison, est original et fait apparaître en même temps une règle nouvelle qui n’a pu résulter d’aucun principe ou d’aucun exemple qui l’eusse précédée).“
La Critique de la faculté de juger (Critique du jugement esthétique): Une oeuvre fondamentale de l'esthétique moderne
„De tout ce qu'il est possible de concevoir dans le monde, et même en général hors du monde, il n’est rien qui puisse sans restriction être tenu pour bon, si ce n'est seulement une BONNE VOLONTÉ.“
Fondation de la métaphysique des mœurs, 1785, Première section
„Agis selon des maximes qui puissent en même temps se prendre elles-mêmes pour objet comme lois universelles de la nature.“
Fondation de la métaphysique des mœurs, 1785, Troisième section
Variante: Agis selon la maxime qui peut en même temps se transformer en loi universelle.
„…il n'est besoin ni de science ni de philosophie pour savoir ce qu’on a à faire, pour être honnête et bon, même sage et vertueux.“
Fondation de la métaphysique des mœurs, 1785, Première section
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„Agis de façon telle que tu traites l'humanité, aussi bien dans ta personne que dans tout autre, toujours en même temps comme fin, et jamais simplement comme moyen.“
Fondation de la métaphysique des mœurs, 1785, Deuxième section
„Une beauté naturelle est une belle chose; la beauté artistique est une belle représentation d’une chose.“
Critique de la faculté de juger, 1790
Variante: We are enriched not by what we possess, but by what we can do without.
„I see them before me and connect them directly with the consciousness of my existence. The former begins from the place I occupy in the external world of sense, and enlarges my connection therein to an unbounded extent with worlds upon worlds and systems of systems, and moreover into limitless times of their periodic motion, its beginning and continuance. The second begins from my invisible self, my personality, and exhibits me in a world which has true infinity, but which is traceable only by the understanding, and with which I discern that I am not in a merely contingent but in a universal and necessary connection, as I am also thereby with all those visible worlds.“
— Immanuel Kant, livre Critique of Practical Reason
Critique of Practical Reason (1788)
Contexte: Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the oftener and the more steadily we reflect on them: the starry heavens above and the moral law within. I have not to search for them and conjecture them as though they were veiled in darkness or were in the transcendent region beyond my horizon; I see them before me and connect them directly with the consciousness of my existence. The former begins from the place I occupy in the external world of sense, and enlarges my connection therein to an unbounded extent with worlds upon worlds and systems of systems, and moreover into limitless times of their periodic motion, its beginning and continuance. The second begins from my invisible self, my personality, and exhibits me in a world which has true infinity, but which is traceable only by the understanding, and with which I discern that I am not in a merely contingent but in a universal and necessary connection, as I am also thereby with all those visible worlds. The former view of a countless multitude of worlds annihilates as it were my importance as an animal creature, which after it has been for a short time provided with vital power, one knows not how, must again give back the matter of which it was formed to the planet it inhabits (a mere speck in the universe). The second, on the contrary, infinitely elevates my worth as an intelligence by my personality, in which the moral law reveals to me a life independent of animality and even of the whole sensible world, at least so far as may be inferred from the destination assigned to my existence by this law, a destination not restricted to conditions and limits of this life, but reaching into the infinite.
Translated by Thomas Kingsmill Abbott
„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.“
Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View (1784)
Contexte: 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. Therefore a single man would have to live excessively long in order to learn to make full use of all his natural capacities. Since Nature has set only a short period for his life, she needs a perhaps unreckonable series of generations, each of which passes its own enlightenment to its successor in order finally to bring the seeds of enlightenment to that degree of development in our race which is completely suitable to Nature’s purpose. This point of time must be, at least as an ideal, the goal of man’s efforts, for otherwise his natural capacities would have to be counted as for the most part vain and aimless. This would destroy all practical principles, and Nature, whose wisdom must serve as the fundamental principle in judging all her other offspring, would thereby make man alone a contemptible plaything.
Paraphrased variant: Reason does not work instinctively, but requires trial, practice, and instruction in order to gradually progress from one level of insight to another.
„There must be a seed of every good thing in the character of men, otherwise no one can bring it out.“
Part III : Selection on Education from Kant's other Writings, Ch. I Pedagogical Fragments, # 13
Contexte: There must be a seed of every good thing in the character of men, otherwise no one can bring it out. Lacking that, analogous motives, honor, etc., are substituted. Parents are in the habit of looking out for the inclinations, for the talents and dexterity, perhaps for the disposition of their children, and not at all for their heart or character.
„The humiliating difference between laymen and clergymen must disappear, and equality spring from true liberty.“
As quoted in German Thought, From The Seven Years' War To Goethe's Death : Six Lectures (1880) by Karl Hillebrand, p. 208
Contexte: [Religion should be].... successively freed from all statutes based on history, and one purely moral religion rule over all, in order that God might be all in all. The veil must fall. The leading-string of sacred tradition with all its appendices becomes by degrees useless, and at last a fetter … The humiliating difference between laymen and clergymen must disappear, and equality spring from true liberty. All this, however, must not be expected from an exterior revolution, which acts violently, and depends upon fortune In the principle of pure moral religion, which is a sort of divine revelation constantly taking place in the soul of man, must be sought the ground for a passage to the new order of things, which will be accomplished by slow and successive reforms.
„We see that scattered through space out to infinite distances, there exist similar systems of stars“
Free translation, as quoted by Edwin Powell Hubble, The Realm of the Nebulae (1936)
An Original Theory or New Hypothesis of the Universe (1750)
Contexte: I come now to another part of my system, and because it suggests a lofty idea of the plan of creation, it appears to me as the most seductive. The sequence of ideas that led us to it is very simple and natural. They are as follows: let us imagine a system of stars gathered together in a common plane, like those of the Milky Way, but situated so far away from us that even with the telescope we cannot distinguish the stars composing it; let us assume that its distance, compared to that separating us from the stars of the Milky Way, is the same proportion as the Milky Way is to the distance from the earth to the sun; such a stellar world will appear to the observer, who contemplates it at so enormous a distance, only as a little spot feebly illumined and subtending a very small angle; its shape will be circular, if its plane is perpendicular to the line of sight, elliptical, if it is seen obliquely. The faintness of its light, its form, and its appreciable diameter will obviously distinguish such a phenomenon from the isolated stars around it.
We do not need to seek far in the observations of astronomers to meet with such phenomena. They have been seen by various observers, who have wondered at their strange appearance, have speculated about them, and have suggested some times the most amazing explanations, sometimes theories which were more rational, but which had no more foundation than the former. We refer to the nebulæ, or, more precisely, to a particular kind of celestial body which M. de Maupertius describes as follows:
"These are small luminous patches, only slightly more brilliant than the dark background of the sky; they have this in common, that their shapes are more or less open elipses; and their light is far more feeble than that of any other objects to be perceived in the heavens."
... It is much more natural and reasonable to assume that a nebula is not a unique and solitary sun, but a system of numerous suns, which appear crowded, because of their distance, into a space so limited that their light, which would be imperceptible were each of them isolated, suffices, owing to their enormous numbers, to give a pale and uniform luster. Their analogy with our own system of stars; their form, which is precisely what it should be according to our theory; the faintness of their light, which denotes an infinite distance; all are in admirable accord and lead us to consider these elliptical spots as systems of the same order as our own—in a word, to be Milky Ways similar to the one whose constitution we have explained. And if these hypotheses, in which analogy and observation consistently lend mutual support, have the same merit as formal demonstrations, we must consider the existence of such systems as demonstrated...
We see that scattered through space out to infinite distances, there exist similar systems of stars [nebulous stars, nebulæ], and that creation, in the whole extent of its infinite grandeur, is everywhere organized into systems whose members are in relation with one another.... A vast field lies open to discoveries, and observations alone will give the key.