Kant's Philosophy: 9 Keys to Understanding His Thought

Idealism, humanism, and ethics are essential keys to understanding Kant's philosophy. We'll expose his fundamental concepts.
Kant's Philosophy: 9 Keys to Understanding His Thought

Last update: 15 February, 2024

Immanuel Kant’s philosophy was one of the most influential of the 18th century. His ideology covered many areas of thought in this discipline, including epistemology, ethics, aesthetics, and politics.

However, understanding Kant may be difficult at first, especially because of his strictly philosophical language. Starting from this scenario, we want to propose nine important elements to help you understand the thinking of this intellectual.

Keys to understanding the philosophy of Immanuel Kant

Let’s start by mentioning the three capital works of Immanuel Kant in which a large part of his theory is contained. To understand his thinking, it’s essential to review these theories and present those relevant concepts. Let’s look at the keys below.

A painted portrait of Kant.

The importance of Kant’s philosophy today

Despite the centuries that separate us from this philosopher, his ideas are still valid today. On the one hand, the critical potential of his philosophy allows us to identify and recognize the limits of our reason and knowledge. Furthermore, it helps us find a middle ground between overconfidence in our rational capacity and, at the same time, not completely renouncing it.

On the other hand, Kant is credited with being the author who shaped human rights. The categorical imperative to respect the dignity of every person is also highlighted.

In this way, Kant’s philosophy represents a universal foundation of the value of dignity embodied in human rights. This, of course, without disregarding his philosophical anthropology that recognizes the human being as a finite and imperfect being.

Finally, Kant’s influence on later discipline was very significant. It had a resurgence in the 20th century in philosophers such as Martin Heidegger, Hannah Arendt, José Ortega y Gasset, Jüger Habermas, Karl-Otto Apel, and Theodor Adorno.

Understanding Kant better

Throughout this article, we’ve explained the keys to understanding Kant. His philosophy, of course, isn’t simple, but we’ve explained the fundamental concepts that contribute to understanding it.

Understanding this thinker is very important to interpreting the development of subsequent philosophy and to give you a more comprehensive and general perspective on human beings and their relationship with others. After all, great ideas transcend the limits of time.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Fianza, K. (2008). La estética de Kant: El arte en El ámbito de lo público. Revista de Filosofía, 64, 49–63. https://www.scielo.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0718-43602008000100004&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en
  • Kant, I. (2019). Crítica del discernimiento. Antonio Machado Libros.
  • Kant, I. (2020a). Crítica de la razón práctica. Editorial Verbum.
  • Kant, I. (2020b). Crítica de la razón pura. Editorial Verbum.
  • Willaschek, M. (2022). Razón y realidad. Sobre la actualidad de la filosofía kantiana. Disputatio, 11(22), 149–166. https://studiahumanitatis.eu/ojs/index.php/disputatio/article/view/719

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.