Noteworthy Quotes from the works of Immanuel Kant

Here’s a short compendium of some of my favorite excerpts from the works of Immanuel Kant-

Universal Laws and Morality…

I ought never to act except in such a way that I could also will that my maxim should become a universal law.
(Kant’s supreme moral principle or “categorical imperative”; Variant translations:
Act only on that maxim which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.)

” Act as if the maxim of thy action were to become by thy will a universal law of nature. A will whose maxims necessarily harmonize with the laws of autonomy is a holy, absolutely good will.”

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.

Morality is not properly the doctrine of how we may make ourselves happy, but how we may make ourselves worthy of happiness.

The guidelines for achieving wisdom consist of three leading maxims: 1) Think for yourself; 2) (in communication with other people) Put yourself in the place of the other person; 3) Always think by remaining faithful to your own self.

Through failures one becomes intelligent; but the one who has trained himself in this subject so that he can make others wise through their own failures, has used his intelligence.

The deceiver is really the fool.

Man of Character…..

The man of principles has character. Of him we know definitely what to expect. He does not act on the basis of his instinct, but on the basis of his will. Therefore, without being redundant one can classify characteristics according to a person’s faculty of desire (what is practical), as a) his nature, or natural talent, b) his temperament, or disposition, and c) his general character, or mode of thinking.

Character means that the person derives his rules of conduct from himself and from the dignity of humanity. Character is the common ruling principle in man in the use of his talents and attributes. Thus it is the nature of his will, and is good or bad. A man who acts without settled principles, with no uniformity, has no character. A man may have a good heart and yet no character, because he is dependent upon impulses and does not act according to maxims. Firmness and unity of principle are essential to character.


Bondage and Freedom…

Man has his own inclinations and a natural will which, in his actions, by means of his free choice, he follows and directs. There can be nothing more dreadful than that the actions of one man should be subject to the will of another; hence no abhorrence can be more natural than that which a man has for slavery. And it is for this reason that a child cries and becomes embittered when he must do what others wish, when no one has taken the trouble to make it agreeable to him. He wants to be a man soon, so that he can do as he himself likes.



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