64 of the Best Immanuel Kant Quotes

Immanuel Kant was born in Prussia, now Russia, in 1724. He is one of the greatest known philosophers of all time. During his early life, Immanuel attended a Pietist school, this school was a Latin school and while attending it he developed a love for Latin classics. University of Konigsberg was next for Kant’s, in 1740 he attended this institution as a theological student, but he also preached occasionally. In the University of Konigsberg, his main areas of study were physics and mathematics.

Kant’s life work included works in the theory of knowledge (epistemology), aesthetics and ethics. Kant began tutoring, then he went on to spending 15 years of his life as a metaphysics lecturer. Immanuel Kant also published books and science papers, among them is his best-known published piece, Critique of Pure Reason that he published the first part of in 1781.

In Critique of Pure Reason Kant explains that experiences and reason interact with one’s understanding and thought, essentially explaining how the human mind takes experiences and organizes them in a way to understand how the world around them works. Immanuel Kant died in 1804, but he left behind his life’s work and legacy. To commemorate his impact to society, we have gathered up his best quotes. Enjoy!

Immanuel Kant Quotes

  1. “Historically the most striking result of Kant’s labors was the rapid separation of the thinkers of his own nation and, though less completely, of the world, into two parties; the philosophers and the scientists.” – Immanuel Kant
  2. “We are not rich by what we possess but by what we can do without.” – Immanuel Kant
  3. “Rules for Happiness: something to do, someone to love, something to hope for.” – Immanuel Kant
  4. “It is beyond a doubt that all our knowledge begins with experience.” – Immanuel Kant
  5. “Look closely. The beautiful may be small.” – Immanuel Kant
  6. “Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end.” – Immanuel Kant, Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals/On a Supposed Right to Lie Because of Philanthropic Concerns
  7. “In all judgements by which we describe anything as beautiful, we allow no one to be of another opinion.” – Immanuel Kant
  8. “How then is perfection to be sought? Wherein lies our hope? In education, and in nothing else.” – Immanuel Kant
  9. “You only know me as you see me, not as I actually am” – Immanuel Kant
  10. “Experience without theory is blind, but theory without experience is mere intellectual play.” – Immanuel Kant
  11. “Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind.” – Immanuel Kant
  12. “Dare to think!” – Immanuel Kant, What is Enlightenment?
  13. “God put a secret art into the forces of Nature so as to enable it to fashion itself out of chaos into a perfect world system.” – Immanuel Kant
  14. “All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason.” – Immanuel Kant
  15. “Three things tell a man: his eyes, his friends and his favorite quotes” – Immanuel Kant
  16. “Morality is not the doctrine of how we may make ourselves happy, but how we may make ourselves worthy of happiness.” – Immanuel Kant
  17. “Immaturity is the incapacity to use one’s intelligence without the guidance of another.” – Immanuel Kant
  18. “I had to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith.” – Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason
  19. “Nothing is divine but what is agreeable to reason.” – Immanuel Kant
  20. “He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” – Immanuel Kant
  21. “But a lie is a lie, and in itself intrinsically evil, whether it be told with good or bad intents.” – Immanuel Kant
  22. “Two things awe me most, the starry sky above me and the moral law within me.” – Immanuel Kant
  23. “Act that your principle of action might safely be made a law for the whole world.” – Immanuel Kant
  24. “For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first.” – Immanuel Kant
  25. “All thought must, directly or indirectly, by way of certain characters, relate ultimately to intuitions, and therefore, with us, to sensibility, because in no other way can an object be given to us.” – Immanuel Kant
  26. “There is something splendid about innocence; but what is bad about it, in turn, is that it cannot protect itself very well and is easily seduced.” – Immanuel Kant
  27. “Patience is the strength of the weak, impatience is the weakness of the strong.” – Immanuel Kant
  28. “Live your life as though your every act were to become a universal law.” – Immanuel Kant
  29. “Seek not the favor of the multitude; it is seldom got by honest and lawful means. But seek the testimony of few; and number not voices, but weigh them.” – Immanuel Kant
  30. “The busier we are, the more acutely we feel that we live, the more conscious we are of life.” – Immanuel Kant
  31. “Marriage…is the union of two people of different sexes with a view to the mutual possession of each other’s sexual attributes for the duration of their lives.” – Immanuel Kant
  32. “One who makes himself a worm cannot complain afterwards if people step on him.” – Immanuel Kant
  33. “If justice perishes, human life on Earth has lost its meaning.” – Immanuel Kant
  34. “In law a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others. In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so.” – Immanuel Kant
  35. “Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.” – Immanuel Kant
  36. “The death of dogma is the birth of morality.” – Immanuel Kant
  37. “All the interests of my reason, speculative as well as practical, combine in the three following questions: 1. What can I know? 2. What ought I to do? 3. What may I hope?” – Immanuel Kant
  38. “Happiness is not an ideal of reason but of imagination.” – Immanuel Kant
  39. “Do the right thing because it is right.” – Immanuel Kant
  40. “To be is to do.” – Immanuel Kant
  41. “Freedom is the alone unoriginated birthright of man, and belongs to him by force of his humanity.” – Immanuel Kant
  42. “Space and time are the framework within which the mind is constrained to construct its experience of reality.” – Immanuel Kant
  43. “Without man and his potential for moral progress, the whole of reality would be a mere wilderness, a thing in vain, and have no final purpose.” – Immanuel Kant
  44. “The busier we are, the more acutely we feel that we live, the more conscious we are of life.” – Immanuel Kant
  45. “Always recognize that human individuals are ends, and do not use them as means to your end.” – Immanuel Kant
  46. “If man makes himself a worm he must not complain when he is trodden on.” – Immanuel Kant
  47. “Give me matter, and I will construct a world out of it!” – Immanuel Kant
  48. “Have the courage to use your own intelligence!” – Immanuel Kant
  49. “It is not God’s will merely that we should be happy, but that we should make ourselves happy.” – Immanuel Kant
  50. “Genius is the ability to independently arrive at and understand concepts that would normally have to be taught by another person.” – Immanuel Kant
  51. “Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.” – Immanuel Kant
  52. “Metaphysics is a dark ocean without shores or lighthouse, strewn with many a philosophic wreck.” – Immanuel Kant
  53. “Feminine traits are called weaknesses. People joke about them; fools ridicule them; but reasonable persons see very well that those traits are just the tools for the management of men, and for the use of men for female designs.” – Immanuel Kant
  54. “Have the courage to use your own reason- That is the motto of enlightenment.” – Immanuel Kant, ‘Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals’ (1785)
  55. “Beauty presents an indeterminate concept of Understanding, the sublime an indeterminate concept of Reason.” – Immanuel Kant
  56. “Man must be disciplined, for he is by nature raw and wild…” – Immanuel Kant
  57. “The only thing permanent is change.” – Immanuel Kant
  58. “It is not necessary that whilst I live I live happily; but it is necessary that so long as I live I should live honourably.” – Immanuel Kant
  59. “How then is perfection to be sought? Wherein lies our hope? In education, and in nothing else.” – Immanuel Kant
  60. “Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity.” – Immanuel Kant
  61. “By a lie, a man…annihilates his dignity as a man.” – Immanuel Kant
  62. “An action, to have moral worth, must be done from duty.” – Immanuel Kant
  63. “We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” – Immanuel Kant
  64. “The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries.” – Immanuel Kant
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Immanuel Kant Video

Immanuel Kant was acutely aware of living in an age when philosophy would need to eventually replace the role once played by religion. This helped him to arrive at his most famous concept – the “categorical imperative.” That concept is discussed in a very fun and interesting way in this video. Give it a watch!

Related: Wittgenstein’s Best Quotes


The life works of Immanuel Kant has been a major influence in idealism, metaphysics, and philosophy. Classes around the world use his studies and ideology. These quotes share his wisdom, ideology and inspiration. Use some of these quotes in your research paper, essay, or other writing. Share a quote with your professor or your classmates.

Maybe you just are looking for quotes from famous people that have impacted the world with their life works, well these quotes are for you too.

Image Credit: “Masters of Achievement” text, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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