Immanuel Kant was born on April 22, 1724 in Konigsberg, Prussia. He was born in an isolated providence and remained there throughout his entire life. According to Kant, his father was a saddler and his mother was a German woman who, although uneducated, was remarkable for her character and natural intelligence. Kant was the fourth of nine children, but the eldest surviving child to obtain an education.
Kant’s education began at the age of eight when he entered a Latin based Pietist school that his Pastor directed. Kant continued studying at this school for the next eight and a half years until 1740, at which point, he went on to continue at the University of Königsberg as a theological student. Although he attended courses in theology and dabbled in preaching on a few occasions, his primary passion was in the mathematics and physics fields. By 1744, he started writing his first book Gedanken von der wahren Schätzung der lebendigen Kräfte. He then quickly released his second book in 1746 Thoughts on the True Estimation of Living Forces. Due to the unexpected death of his father for the next nine years he worked as a family tutor. In 1755, Kant was able to complete his degree at University of Königsberg and was presented with a position as Privatdozdent, or lecturer. He spent the subsequent 15 years in this position. Soon he was lecturing on many subjects other than mathematics and physics, including logics, metaphysics, and moral philosophy. He even was elected to teach a physical geography course, which he then continued to teach every summer for the next 30 years.
Kant’s profound work in epistemology (the theory of knowledge), ethics, and aesthetic, deeply impacted all subsequent philosophy. In fact, many have accredited his work as an important foundation for the basis of western philosophy. To put his thesis simply, Kant stated, “that the objects conform to the mind: in knowing, it is not the mind that conforms to things but instead things that conform to the mind”.
In 1790, Kant’s health began to deteriorate. Although he had many projects, he found it tremendously difficult to write more than a few hours a day. The work which he relentlessly labored over until his death was intended to be a key contribution to his philosophy. Throughout his 47 years of composing Kant had over 35 published pieces of work including books, dissertations, and essays. After a gradual and painful decline Kant passed away on February 12, 1804. His last words were, “Es ist gut” (It Is Good).