|KANT IN THE CLASSROOM Materials to aid the study of Kant’s lectures|
This page is a bare-bones chronology of Kant’s life, including mention of his publications (with links to their fuller descriptions on the page devoted to Kant’s Writings), as well as other events significant for his life and work, including a highly limited listing of publications of other works in philosophy.
For a full biography of Kant, see Vorländer , Kuehn , and Dietzsch , from which the following draws. An early biography written in English by Stuckenberg  is of considerable interest. I also include a brief biography of Kant alongside those of the other professors at Königsberg.
(April 22) Kant born as the 1st son and 4th child of Johann Georg Kant, a harness maker, and his wife Anna Regina (Reuter) Kant, in Königsberg (East Prussia; later Kaliningrad, USSR). He was born and spent his childhood in the “Vorderen Vorstadt” (the “Vorstadt” was the neighborhood just south of the Kneiphof island, across the river, and the “vorderen” part was that closest to the river), somewhere between the Green Bridge — the bridge at the south-west corner of the island — and the Friedrichsburg fortress to the west.
(until 1740) Kant enters the Collegium Fridericianum, a Pietist boarding and day-school, where he masters Latin and develops a dislike of religious dogmatism and formalism.
(December 18) Death of Kant’s mother: Anna Regina (Reuter) Kant, 1697-1737.
(July 20) Coronation in Königsberg of Friedrich II (1712-1786, “the Great,” son of FW I; reigned 1740-1786); Friedrich arrived in the city on July 16.
(September 24) Matriculation at the university in Königsberg (where he studied until 1746). Kant studies philosophy, mathematics, the natural sciences, and some theology, supporting himself through tutoring and playing billiards.
Translation into Latin of John Locke’s 2-vol. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690) by G. H. Thiele in one volume: Johannis Lockii Libri IV de Intellectu Humano.
Translation into German of George Berkeley’s Siriz: A chain of Philosophical Reflexions and Inquiries Concerning the Virtues of Tar-Water... (1744), as: Siris. Gründliche Historische Nachricht vom Theer-Wasser... (Amsterdam and Leipzig: Peter Mortier, 1745), compiled and edited by Diederich Wessel Linden. [Berkeley’s Siris is mentioned in the Metaphysik Herder lectures of 1762-64 (Ak. 28:42)]
Death of Kant’s father (Johann Georg Kant, 1683-1746).
Kant finishes writing his first publication (published in 1749): Thoughts on the True Estimation of Living Forces [writings]. One might have expected Kant to have written something more appropriate (and in Latin) that he could submit as a thesis for a Magister degree. That he instead chose to publish this, and in German, suggests that he was planning a career outside the university.
Johann Spalding (publ. anonymously), Betrachtungen über die Bestimmung des Menschen (Greifswald 1748); 13th edition: 1794.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Discourse on the Arts and Sciences: Discours qui a remporté le prix à l'Académie de Dijon, en l'année 1750 sur cette question proposée par la même académie, si le rétablissement des sciences & des arts a contribué à épurer les moeurs (Genève: Barillot & fils), 66 pp.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Arts and Sciences (1750, above), translated into German as: Abhandlung der von der Akademie zu Dijon aufgegebenen Frage, ob die Wiederherstellung der Wissenschaften und Künste zur Läuterung der Sitten etwas beygetragen habe, welche bey derselben im Jahre 1750 den Preis erhalten hat. (Germany? No publisher), 204 pp.
(June) “Whether the Axial Rotation of the Earth ... has Changed since its Beginning” [writings] published in the local Königsberg newspaper.
(No later than August 10) Kant returns to Königsberg.
(August/September) “The Question Whether the Earth is Aging” [writings] published in the local Königsberg newspaper.
Anonymously published and nearly unnoticed Newtonian account of the formation of solar systems: Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens [writings].
(April 17) Kant hands in his Magisterarbeit, On Fire [writings], to the dean of the Philosophy Faculty (J. B. Hahn). There is no requirement to publish it (only the doctoral dissertations of the three higher faculty have to be published), so it remains unpublished until 1839.
(May 13) Kant successfully completes the examen rigorosum for the Magister degree.
(June 12) Kant receives the Magister degree in a public ceremony in the large auditorium of the university, after which he gives a brief speech in Latin (this has not be preserved).
(September 27) Kant gives his Latin pro receptione disputation [glossary] on New Elucidation of the First Principles of Metaphysical Cognition [writings], which serves as his habilitation defense, and after which he becomes a Magister legens, with the right to offer lectures at the university as a Privatdozent. Unlike the Magisterarbeit, this dissertation was published that year.
(October 13) Kant gives his first lecture of the winter semester and of his career.
(November 1) An earthquake with an epicenter near Lisbon devastates the city; because it was All Saint's Day, the collapsing churches fell on filled pews. The force of the shock caused church-bells as far away as Paris to ring and a tsunami to sweep across the Atlantic coast. Fires, presumably caused by the various church candles, burned in the city for five days. Total loss of life has been estimated at 70,000.
David Hume, Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748), translated into German by Johann Georg Sulzer as: Philosophische Versuche über die menschliche Erkenntniss [...], nach der zweyten vermehrten Ausgabe aus dem englischen übersetzt und mit Anmerkungen des Herausgebers begleitet (Hamburg/Leipzig: Bey G. C. Grund und A. H. Holle), 374 pp.
(January 24/31) Kant publishes the first of three articles that he will write this year on earthquakes: “On the Causes of the Terrestrial Convulsions, on the Occasion of the Disaster afflicting the Western Countries of Europe towards the End of Last Year” [writings].
(February) The second of three articles on earthquakes: “History and Natural Description of the Most Remarkable Occurrences associated with the Earthquake which at the End of the Year 1755 Shook a Great Part of the Earth” [writings].
(March 23) Kant submits to the philosophy faculty his third Latin disputation: The Employment in Natural Philosophy of Metaphysics combined with Geometry, of which Sample One Contains the Physical Monadology [writings] in support of his application for the associate professorship (see April 8).
(April 8) Kant applies for Knutzen’s position as associate professor of Logic and Metaphysics. The position remains unfilled.
(April 10) Public defense of his Physical Monadology (see March 23).
(April 10/17) Kant’s third article on earthquakes: “Further Consideration of the Terrestrial Convulsions that have been Perceived for Some Time” [writings].
(April 25) Publishes a lecture announcement for the summer semester: New Remarks towards the Elucidation of the Theory of Winds [writings].
Frances Hutcheson, A System of Moral Philosophy, 3 vols. (London, 1755), translated into German by G. E. Lessing as: Franz Hutchesons der Rechte Doctors und der Weltweisheit Professors zu Glasgow Sittenlehre der Vernunft, 2 vols. (Leipzig: Johann Wendler, 1756).
George Berkeley, Three dialogues between Hylas and Philonous (1713), translated into German by Johann Christian Eschenbach and included in his: Samlung der vornehmsten Schriftsteller die die Würklichkeit ihres Eignenkörpers und der ganzen Körperwelt Läugnen. Enthaltend des Berkeleys Gespräche zwischen Hylas und Philonous, und des Colliers Allgemeinen Schlüssel (Rostock, A. F. Röse, 1756), 568 pp.
(April) Publishes a lecture announcement for the summer semester, featuring a brief essay on wind and, more importantly, an outline of his lectures on physical geography: Outline and Announcement of a Course of Lectures on Physical Geography, to which is Appended a Brief Consideration of the Question, Whether the West Winds in our Regions are Humid because they pass over a Large Sea [writings]
Edmund Burke, Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757; 2nd ed: 1759). Reviewed by Mendelssohn in 1758. Translated into German by Christian Garve (1773).
Kant applies (unsuccessfully) for a teaching position at the Kneiphof School, one of the three Latin schools in Königsberg. This would have provided him a regular salary, supplementing the occasional fees he received from lecturing at the university.
(January 22) The Russians begin their occupation [glossary] of Königsberg.
(April) Publishes a lecture announcement for the summer semester: New Theory of Motion and Rest [...] [writings]
(December) Along with five others, Kant applies for the full professorship of Logic and Metaphysics, left vacant by J. D. Kypke’s death on December 10. The position goes to Friedrich Johann Buck [bio], who had been an associate professor of mathematics. [timeline of philosophy faculty]
(October 7) Publishes a lecture announcement for the winter semester: An Attempt at Some Reflections on Optimism [...] [writings]
Publishes an open letter to the mother of a student who died: Thoughts on the Premature Death of Mr. Johann Friedrich von Funk [...] [writings]
Frances Hutcheson, Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue (1725), translated into German by Johann Heinrich Merck as: Untersuchung unsrer Begriffe von Schönheit und Tugend in zwo Abhandlungen (Frankfurt and Leipzig, 1762).
Jean-Jacques Rousseau publishes On the Social Contract and Émile.
Reads Rousseau’s Émile (1762), a novel concerning the education of a young boy, and emphasizing human freedom and the essential dignity of all human beings.
“The first impression that an intelligent reader who does not read merely out of vanity or to pass the time acquires of the writings of Mr. J. J. Rousseau is that he has encountered an uncommon acuity of spirit, a noble impetus of genius, and a feeling soul combined in such a high degree as has perhaps never before been possessed by a writer of any age or any people. [...] There was a time when I believed that knowledge alone could constitute the honor of mankind, and I had contempt for the rabble who know nothing. Rousseau brought me around.” [Marginalia in Kant's copy of his Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime, next to Ak. 2:216-17]
(early August) Johann Gottfried Herder [bio] arrives in Königsberg and begins attending Kant’s lectures. He will leave two years later on November 22, 1764. Our earliest student notes, and the only notes from the 1760s, come from Herder: [metaphysics] [physical geography] [moral philosophy] [physics] [logic] [mathematics].
(early October) Publishes a lecture announcement for the winter semester: The False Subtlety of the Four Syllogistic Figures [...] [writings]. Finishes The One Possible Argument [Walford 1992, lxiii].
(mid-December) Publishes The Only Possible Argument in Support of a Demonstration of the Existence of God [writings].
(December 31) Kant submits his Prize Essay to the Prussian Royal Academy; it will be published in 1764 (see below)
(June 3) Kant submits to the university censor Attempt to Introduce the Concept of Negative Magnitudes into Philosophy [writings].
(August 10) Kant’s letter to Charlotte von Knobloch regarding Swedenborg and related matters; this interest will culminate in Kant’s Dreams of a Spirit-Seer, publ. 1766.
(October 8) Completes Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime (published in 1764). The winter semester begins on October 10.
(January) Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime [writings].
(February 13-27) “Essay on the Maladies of the Mind” [writings].
(March 23) “Review of Silberschlag” [writings].
(April) Prize Essay: “Inquiry concerning the Distinctness of the Principles of Natural Theology and Morality” [writings].
(July) Abbt-Mendelssohn debate over Spalding’s Bestimmung des Menschen published in Nicolai’s Briefe, die neueste literatur betreffend.
November 11: Königsberg is devastated by a fire (369 houses, 49 warehouses, the Löbenicht Church, and many lives). This fire also delays Herder’s departure for Riga (Nov. 22).
Kant declines a possible offer of a mathematics professorship at Halle.
(Summer) Kant becomes friends with the English merchant Joseph Green (1727-1786).
Leibniz’ Nouveaux Essais sur l’entendement humain published by Raspe.
(October) Publishes a lecture announcement for the winter semester: Announcement [...] [writings].
 This dating is uncertain, but a good guess based on the evidence; see Kuehn [2001, 154-55].
(January 31) Publication of Dreams of a Spirit-Seer Elucidated by Dreams of Metaphysics [writings]. This satirical work criticizes claims to knowledge of the supersensible.
(April) Kant begins work as assistant librarian at the Castle Library in Königsberg [more] (his first salaried income), continuing this until May 1772.
“Concerning the Ultimate Ground of the Differentiation of Directions in Space” [writings].
(Summer) J. J. Kanter decorates his newly opened bookshop with the portraits of three Prussian luminaries — Moses Mendelssohn [bio], Friedrich II, and the poet Karl Wilhelm Ramler — and six local intellectuals: F. S. Bock [bio], T. G. Hippel [bio], J. G. Scheffner [bio], J. G. Lindner [bio], and Kant [bio], [and a 6th yet to be identified].
Leibniz/Clarke correspondence published.
“The year '69 gave me great light” [Refl. #5037; Ak. 18:68]
(December 15) Kant declines an offer of the Logic and Metaphysics chair at Erlangen.
(January 12) Kant declines a possible offer to teach at Jena.
(March 15) Christoph Langhansen, the Full Professor of Mathematics, dies after a long illness, and Kant begins to jockey for a professorship.
(March 31) Formal offer to Kant by King Friedrich II of the chair of Logic and Metaphysics.
(May 2) Official installation, by the Academic Senate at its weekly Wednesday meeting, of Kant into his professorship. The summer semester, which began that Monday, April 30, was Kant’s first semester as a full professor.
(August 21) Kant gives his pro loco Latin disputation [glossary], the so-called “Inaugural Dissertation,” on the occasion of accepting the chair of Logic and Metaphysics: On the Form and Principles of the Sensible and the Intelligible World [writings].
Adam Smith, Theory of Moral Sentiments, 3rd ed., “To which is added a Dissertation on the Origin of Languages” (London: A. Millar, 1767), is translated into German by Christian Rautenberg as Theorie der moralischen Empfindungen (Braunschweig: Meyer, 1770). A letter from Marcus Herz [bio] to Kant (9 July 1771; # 68, Ak. 10: 124-27) includes the comment: “I have various comments to make about the Englishman Smith who, Herr Friedländer [bio] tells me, is your favorite.”
Kant reviews a work on comparative anatomy by Moscati [writings].
(April) After six years, and with the security of his professor’s salary (with benefits, about four-times as much as he was making), Kant resigns from his position at the Castle Library. [more]
German translation of James Beattie, Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth, in Opposition to Sophistry and Scepticism (1770), an attack on Hume that included long quotes from his Treatise (especially those without a counterpart in the Enquiry).
Kant is offered the rectorship of the Mitau academy; he declines.
(October 10) Winter semester begins, with Kant lecturing on metaphysics, anthropology, and moral philosophy. It is likely from this semester that his best known set of moral philosophy notes stem (Kaehler, Brauer, Collins, etc.), and that were published in Menzer  and translated into numerous languages.
(April) Kant publishes a lecture announcement for the summer semester: “On the Different Races of Humankind [...]” [writings].
(March 28) Kant publishes the first of two essays in support of Basedow’s Philanthropinum, an experimental school in Dessau: “Philanthropin” [writings].
(April 22) Kant begins his first semester as dean of the Philosophy Faculty; this also involves membership on the Academic Senate for the summer semester.
Alexander Gerard, An Essay on Genius (London 1774), translated into German by Christian Garve as Versuch über das Genie (Leipzig 1776).
(February 28) Kant offers remarks (in Latin) at J. G. Kreutzfeld’s inaugural dissertation: “Concerning Sensory Illusion and Poetic Fiction” [writings].
(March 27) Kant publishes the second of two essays in support of Basedow’s Philanthropinum, an experimental school in Dessau: “Philanthropin” [writings].
(February 28) Minister Zedlitz encourages Kant to accept a professorship at Halle, with a steep increase in salary; Kant declines the offer.
(October 11) Kant begins his second term as dean of the Philosophy Faculty; this involves membership on the Academic Senate for the winter semester.
(June) Following the death of Prof. Christiani, Kant joins the Academic Senate as a permanent member.
(May 11) Appearance in the Easter book fair of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, 1st ed. [writings].
David Hume, Dialogues on Natural Religion (1779). The 2nd edition was translated into German by K. G. Schreiter: Gespräche über natürliche Religion. Nach der zwoten Englischen Ausgabe. Nebst einem Gespräch über den Atheismus von Ernst Platner (Leipzig, 1781).
(January 19) The Garve/Feder review of the Critique of Pure Reason is published anonymously in the Göttingischen Anzeigen von gelehrten Sachen.
(February 4) Kant publishes a brief notice of “Lambert’s Letters” [writings].
(April 18) Kant writes a brief introduction to a reprinted “Report to Physicians” [writings].
(October 14) Kant begins his third term as dean of the Philosophy Faculty.
Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics that will be able to present itself as a Science [writings].
“Review of Schulz” [writings].
(April) James Boswell’s (fictional) trip to Königsberg, where he meets Kant.
(May 22) Kant moves into his own house at 87-88 Prinzessinstraße. Before this, Kant rented rooms and ate at public inns. He will continue to eat out until 1787, when he installs a working kitchen and begins to entertain lunch guests in his own home.
(November) “Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose” [writings].
(December) “An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?” [writings].
 Lewis White Beck, Mr. Boswell Dines with Professor Kant: Being a Part of James Boswell's Journal, until Now Unknown, Found in the Castle of Balmeanach on the Isle of Muck in the Inner Hebrides ... (Edinburgh: Tragara Press, 1979). Reprint: (Bristol, England: Thoemmes Press, 1995).
Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals [writings] (2nd ed: 1786).
Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, Über die Lehre des Spinoza in Briefen an den Herrn Moses Mendelssohn (Breslau, 1785).
(January) “Review of Herder’s Ideas for a Philosophy of the History of Mankind, Part One” [writings].
(March) “Review #2 of Herder’s Ideas for a Philosophy of the History of Mankind” [writings].
(March) “On the Volcanoes on the Moon” [writings].
(May) “On the Wrongfulness of Unauthorized Publication of Books” [writings].
(September) Kant finishes Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science, which will appear Easter 1786.
(October 10) Kant begins his fourth term as dean of the Philosophy Faculty.
(November) “Review of Herder’s Ideas for a Philosophy of the History of Mankind, Part Two” [writings].
(November) “Determination of the Concept of a Human Race” [writings].
(January) “Conjectural Beginning of Human History” [writings].
Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science [writings].
(April 18) “Review of Hufeland” [writings].
(May 1) Kant begins his first term as rector of the university (for the summer semester). During this time he must arrange for the coronation of Friedrich Wilhelm II (nephew and successor to Frederick the Great).
(August 17) Friedrich II dies.
“Remarks on Jakob” [writings].
Karl Leonhard Reinhold publishes his “Briefe über die Kantische Philosophie” in Die Teutsche Merkur (August 1786, January-August 1787).
(September 19) Coronation in Königsberg of Friedrich Wilhelm II (1744—1797, nephew to Friedrich II; reigned 1786-1797). Kant, as rector, must participate.
(October) “What is Orientation in Thinking?” [writings].
(December 7) Kant becomes a corresponding member of the Berlin Academy of Sciences.
Critique of Pure Reason (2nd edition) [writings].
(October 8) Kant begins his fifth term as dean of the Philosophy Faculty.
(January/February) “On the Use of Teleological Principles in Philosophy” [writings].
(April 7) Kant begins his second term as rector of the university (summer semester).
(July 9) J. C. Wöllner, the Minister of Education and Religious Affairs, issues an edict aimed at suppressing the display of Enlightenment beliefs among teachers and clerics (see also his December 19 edict).
(October 4 [or else: 10 October 1786]) “Philosophers’ Medicine” [writings].
(December 19) A 2nd edict from Wöllner suppressing irreligious publications in Berlin.
“Kraus Review” [writings].
Critique of Practical Reason [writings].
First Introduction to the Critique of Judgment [writings].
Kant’s powers of concentration take a sudden turn for the worse [more]; beginning with this summer semester, Kant will now teach only two courses per term.
(March) Publication of the brief essay “On the Propensity to Fanaticism and the Means to Oppose it.” [writings].
(April 20) Publication of Critique of Judgment. 2nd ed: 1793 [writings].
(April 20) Publication of On a Discovery According to Which Any New Critique of Pure Reason is Rendered Superfluous by an Earlier One [writings].
(June 12) Publication of “On the Announcement of an (illegitimate) Edition of I. Kant’s Minor Writings” [writings].
(May 9) Kant begins his sixth term as dean of the Philosophy Faculty.
(July 4) J. G. Fichte [bio] visits Kant’s classroom for the first time (he stays in Königsberg until October).
(September) “On the miscarriage of all philosophical trials in theodicy” [writings].
Translation into German of Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the French Revolution and on the proceedings of certain societies in London relative to that event (London: J. Dodsley, 1790 [iv, 356 pp.]): Bemerkungen über die französische Revoluzion und das Betragen einiger Gesellschaften in London bey diesen Ereignissen (Vienna: Stahel), 432pp. A 2 vol. translation by Friedrich Gentz — with an introduction, commentary, and additional materials — appeared two years later: (Berlin: Friedrich Vieweg, 1793-94).
(April) “On Radical Evil in Human Nature” [writings].
(August 22) Kant jump-starts Fichte’s career: “On the Author of the Essay Toward a Critique of All Revelation” [writings].
(June 22) “To the Bookdealers” [writings].
(September)“On the Common Saying: ‘That may be correct in theory, but it is of no use in practice’” [writings].
Religion within the limits of Reason Alone [writings].
(November) Kant begins writing (but does not finish or publish) What Real Progress Has Metaphysics Made in Germany since the Time of Leibniz and Wolff? [writings].
(May) “On the Influence of the Moon on the Weather” [writings].
(June) “The End of All Things” [writings].
(July 28) Kant becomes a corresponding member of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences.
(October 1) Kant receives a cabinet order from the King, written by the minister of justice, Johann Christoff Wöllner (called by Frederick the Great “a deceitful and intriguing parson”) censoring Kant for his writings on religion.
(October 14) Kant begins his seventh term as dean of the Philosophy Faculty.
“Toward Perpetual Peace: a Philosophical Project” [writings].
(May) “On a New Superior Tone in Philosophy” [writings].
(July 23) Kant stops lecturing during the middle of the summer semester.
(August) “Remarks on Sömmering’s On the Organ of the Soul” [writings].
(October) “Settlement of a Mathematical Controversy which is Resting on a Misunderstanding” [writings].
(December) “Announcement of the Near Conclusion of a Treaty for Eternal Peace in Philosophy” [writings].
(January 5) “Declaration regarding Hippel’s Authorship” [writings].
(January) Metaphysics of Morals: Doctrine of Right [writings].
(June 14) “Declaration against Schlettwein” [writings].
(August) Metaphysics of Morals: Doctrine of Virtue [writings].
(September) “On a Supposed Right to Lie from Philanthropy” [writings].
(November 16) Friedrich Wilhelm II dies.
(June 5) Coronation in Königsberg of Friedrich Wilhelm III (1770-1840, son of Friedrich Wilhelm II; reigned 1797-1840).
(April 4) Kant becomes a corresponding member of the Siena Academy of Sciences.
Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View [writings].
“On the Power of the Mind to Master its Morbid Feelings by Sheer Resolution” [writings].
The Conflict of the Faculties [writings].
On Turning Out Books. Two Letters to Mr. Friedrich Nicolai from Immanuel Kant [writings].
(August) “Declaration Regarding Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre” [writings].
“Preface to Reinhold Bernhard Jachmann’s Examination of the Kantian Philosophy of Religion.” [writings].
“Afterword to Christian Gottlieb Mielcke’s Lithuanian-German and German-Lithuanian Dictionary.” [writings].
Lecture notes edited by G. B. Jäsche: Logic [writings].
(June 24) “Public Notice regarding the Illegitimate Edition, published by Vollmer, of Imm. Kant’s Physical Geography” [writings].
(November 14) Kant agrees to retire from his professorship and the Academic Senate.
Lecture notes edited by F. T. Rink: Physical Geography [writings].
Lecture notes edited by F. T. Rink: On Education [writings].
(February 12) Kant’s death in Königsberg.
(February 28) Kant’s interment in the “Professor Crypt” (Professorgewölbe) in the north wall of the Cathedral. [more at Marburg website]
(April) What Real Progress Has Metaphysics Made in Germany since the Time of Leibniz and Wolff?, edited by F. T. Rink, composed by Kant in 1793 [writings].
Copyright ©2006 Steve Naragon (Manchester University)
Last modified: 25 Sep 2012
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