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Kant’s Writings
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> Kant’s Life


Kant’s Lectures
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Kant’s Life

Kant’s Life: Chronology

This chronology of Kant’s life includes 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 selective listing of publications of other works in philosophy. An abridged version of this is available here as a pdf file).

For a full biography of Kant, see especially Cassirer [1918, Vorländer [1924], Kuehn [2001], and Dietzsch [2003]. An early biography written in English by Stuckenberg [1882] is of considerable interest and still worth reading. Important early biographical sources include the following: Mortzfeld [1802], Borowski [1804], Jachmann [1804], Wasianski [1804],[1] Hasse [1804], Metzger [1804a, 1804b], Reicke [1860],[2] and Rink [1805].[3] See also the biographies by Schubert [1842], Paulsen [1899], and more recently Gulyga [1977; English tr. 1987].

A brief chronology of Kant’s mental decline is available.

A list of Kant images can be found here (and a PDF summary).

A trimmed-down brief biography of Kant alongside those of the other professors at Königsberg is also available.

Helpful overviews of biographies can be found in Vorländer [1918], George [1987], and Kuehn [2001, 1-23].

Color key:

[Kant’s writings]

[Publication of select texts important for, or in response to, Kant]

[Cultural/political events of the day]

[top] [1720] [1730] [1740] [1750] [1760] [1770] [1780] [1790] [1800]


(July 4) Birth of Kant’s older sister, Regina Dorothea.


Posthumous publication of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Lehr-Sätze über die Monadologie, ingleichen von Gott und seiner Existentz, seinen Eigenschafften und von der Seele des Menschen (1720), as well as a German translation of the Clark-Leibniz Correspondence (1720).[1] The Principles of Nature and Grace had been published in 1718.


(Nov 2) Peter I (“the Great”) (1672-1725) is Tsar of Russia until 1725.


Vordere Vorstadt

Baptismal Record

Baptismal Record


(April 22, Saturday) Kant was born as the 1st son and 4th child of Johann Georg Kant, a harness maker, and his wife Anna Regina (Reuter) Kant,[1] in Königsberg [glossary] (East Prussia; later Kaliningrad, USSR). He was born and spent his childhood in the “Vordere Vorstadt” (the “Vorstadt” was the neighborhood just south of the Kneiphof island, across the river, and the “vordere” part was that closest to the river), between the Green Bridge — the bridge at the south-west corner of the island — and the Friedrichsburg fortress to the west.[2]

(June 13) The three cities of Altstadt, Kneiphof und Löbenicht are officially united into the single city of Königsberg.


(Feb 8) Catherine I (1684-1727), wife of Peter the Great, becomes Empress of Russia until 1727.


(January 2) Birth of Kant’s younger sister, Maria Elisabeth.

[top] [1720] [1730] [1740] [1750] [1760] [1770] [1780] [1790] [1800]


(February 22) A younger sister to Kant, Anna Katharina, dies as an infant.


(February 15) Birth of Kant’s next younger sister, Anna Louise.


(September 15) Birth of Kant’s youngest sister, Catharina Barbara, who will help care for him during his last six months. Catharina and Johann (born four years later) will be Kant’s only siblings to survive him.


(Easter) Kant enters the Collegium Fridericianum, a Pietist boarding and day-school, where he masters Latin and develops a dislike of religious dogmatism and formalism.


(January 17) Augustus III (favorite of the Austrians and Russians), becomes King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania (until 1763).


(November 28) Birth of Kant’s younger (and only surviving) brother, Johann Heinrich.


(December 18) Death of Kant’s mother: Anna Regina (Reuter) Kant, 1697-1737.[1]

[top] [1720] [1730] [1740] [1750] [1760] [1770] [1780] [1790] [1800]


Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, Kleinere philosophische Schriften, with a preface by Christian Wolff.[1]

Pierre Bayle, Historisches und critisches Wörterbuch. Nach der neuesten Aufl. von 1740, 4 vols., transl. from the French by Luise Gottsched (Leipzig: Breitkopf, 1741-44). Originally published as Dictionnaire historique et critique (1702).

Alexander Pope, Versuch vom Menschen, translated from the English by Barthold Heinrich Brockes (Hamburg: Christian Herold, 1740). Originally published as An Essay on Man (London: John Wright, 1734).

(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. Kant studies philosophy, mathematics, the natural sciences, and some theology, supporting himself through tutoring and playing billiards.


John Locke, Iohannis Lockii, Armigeri, Libri IV., de Intellectu humano, in a new edition edited by Gotthelff Heinrich Thiele (Leipzig: Theophilum Georgi, 1741), 1000 pp.[1]

(Dec 6) Elizabeth (1709-1762), youngest daughter of Peter the Great, becomes Empress of Russia (until 1762).


Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, Theodicee, das ist, Versuch von der Güte Gottes, Freyheit des Menschen, und vom Ursprunge des Bösen, ed. by J. C. Gottsched (Hannover/Leipzig: Nicolai Försters und Sohns Erben, 1744). Originally published as: Essais de Theodicée sur la Bonté de Dieu, de la Liberté de L’Homme et L’Origine du Mal (Amsterdam: 1710).[1]

(August 27) Celebration of the 200th anniversary of the university in Königsberg [Gause 1996, 2: 140-41].

(September?) Kant’s father suffers a debilitating stroke from which he will die a year and a half later.


George Berkeley, Nachricht vom Theer-Wasser... (no place: no publ., 1745), 80 pp. Originally published as: Siris: A Chain of Philosophical Reflexions and Inquiries Concerning the Virtues of Tar-Water..., 2nd ed. (Dublin/London, 1744), 174 + 2 pp. [1]

Christian August Crusius, Entwurf der nothwendigen Vernunft-Wahrheiten, wiefern sie den zufälligen entgegen gesetzet werden (Leipzig: Johann Friedrich Gleditsch, 1745), 948 p.


(March 24) Death of Kant’s father (Johann Georg Kant, 1683-1746).[1]

(May 12) Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis (1698-1759) is appointed president of the newly-reorganized Berlin Academy of Sciences (officially known as: “Académie Royale des Sciences et Belles Lettres”).[2]

Kant finishes writing the bulk of his first publication: Thoughts on the True Estimation of Living Forces [writings].[3]


(August)[1] From now until his promotion to Privatdozent at the university (1755), Kant supports himself as a Hofmeister [glossary] or house tutor with two families in the Königsberg area. [more]

Johann Spalding (publ. anonymously), Betrachtungen über die Bestimmung des Menschen (Greifswald, 1748); 13th edition: 1794.


Emmanuel Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia, 12 vols. (1749-56).[1]

[top] [1720] [1730] [1740] [1750] [1760] [1770] [1780] [1790] [1800] [lecture schedule]


Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, Allgemeine Historie der Natur nach allen ihren besondern Theilen abgehandelt; nebst einer Beschreibung der Naturalienkammer Sr. Majestät des Königes von Frankreich, Part One, with a preface by Albrecht von Haller, translated into German by B. J. Zink (Hamburg/Leipzig: Georg Christian Grund and Adam Heinrich Holle, 1750-1774). Originally published as: Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière, 36 vols. (1749–1788).


(Jan 29) Kant’s former university professor, Martin Knutzen [bio], dies at the age of 37.


Kant’s younger sister Maria Elisabeth (born 1727) marries a shoemaker named Kröhnert.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Abhandlung, welche bey der Akademie zu Dijon im Jahr 1750 den Preis über folgende von der Akademie vorgelegte Frage davon getragen hat, Ob die Wiederherstellung der Wissenschaften und Künste etwas zur Läuterung der Sitten beygetragen hat? [Discourse on the Arts and Sciences], translated into German by Johann Daniel Tietz (Leipzig: Friedrich Lankisch, 1752), 61 pp. Originally published as: 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), iii, 66 pp.


David Hume, Vermischte Schriften.[1] 4 vols. Edited by Johann Georg Sulzer (Hamburg / Leipzig: Georg Christian Grund and Adam Heinrich Holle).

(April 9) Death of Christian Wolff [bio] at Halle.

(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)[2] Kant returns to Königsberg.

(August/September) “The Question Whether the Earth is Aging” [writings] published in the local Königsberg newspaper.


David Hume, Philosophische Versuche über die menschliche Erkenntniss [...], nach der zweyten vermehrten Ausgabe aus dem englischen übersetzt und mit Anmerkungen des Herausgebers begleitet, translated into German by Johann Georg Sulzer (Hamburg/Leipzig: Bey G. C. Grund und A. H. Holle), 374 pp. Originally published as: Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748).[1]

Johann Joachim Winckelmann, Gedanken über die Nachahmung der griechischen Werke in der Malerei und Bildhauerskunst (1755; Reflections on the Imitation of Greek Works in Painting and Sculpture) is published,[2] ushering in a renewed interest in all things Greek.

Johann Lulofs, Einleitung zu der mathematischen und physikalischen Kenntniß der Erdkugel, translated from the Dutch into German by Abraham Gotthelf Kästner (1755). Originally published as: Inleiding tot eene natuur en wiskundige beschouwinge des aardkloots tot dienst der landgenooten (1750).[3]

(March 14) Completed his Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens [writings] and published anonymously, Kant’s nearly unnoticed Newtonian account of the formation of solar systems. (The date is from his dedication to Friedrich, King of Prussia.)

(April 17) Kant hands in his Magisterarbeit, On Fire [writings], to the dean of the Philosophy Faculty (J. B. Hahn). There was no requirement to publish it (only the doctoral dissertations of the three higher faculty have to be published), so it remained unpublished until 1839.

Baptismal Record

Baptismal Record

University Record


Kant’s Diploma

(1st week of May) Königsberg celebrates its 500th anniversary [Gause 1996, 2: 148-50].

(May 13) Kant successfully completes the examen rigorosum for the Magister degree.[4]

(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.[5]


Frances Hutcheson, Franz Hutchesons der Rechte Doctors und der Weltweisheit Professors zu Glasgow Sittenlehre der Vernunft, 2 vols., translated into German by G. E. Lessing (Leipzig: Johann Wendler, 1756). Originally published as: A System of Moral Philosophy, 3 vols. (London, 1755).

George Berkeley, Three dialogues between Hylas and Philonous (1713), translated into German by Johann Christian Eschenbach and included (pp. 1-304) 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, Anton Ferdinand Röse, 1756), 568 pp.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Abhandlung von dem Ursprunge der Ungleichheit unter den Menschen, und worauf sie sich gründe; ins Deutsche übersetzt mit einem Schreiben an den Herrn Magister Leßing und einem Briefe Voltairens an den Verfasser vermehret, translated into German by Moses Mendelssohn (Berlin, 1756). Originally published as: Discours sur l’origine et les fondemens de l’inégalité parmi les hommes (Amsterdam, 1755).

(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]. The semester begins one week later on Monday, May 3.

(August 2) The first large fire since 1571 destroys 59 houses on the Weißgerbergasse (on the south-east side of the Castle Pond) [Gause 1996, 2: 152].


(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 Russian Occupation [glossary] of Königsberg begins.

(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]


(July) Christoph Berens arranges a meeting with Johann Georg Hamann and Kant (their first encounter), followed by a visit by Kant and Berens to Hamann on July 24 and a letter from Hamann to Kant, dated July 27 — the first of many.

(October 7) Publishes a lecture announcement for the winter semester: An Attempt at Some Reflections on Optimism [...] [writings]

[top] [1720] [1730] [1740] [1750] [1760] [1770] [1780] [1790] [1800] [lecture schedule]


Frances Hutcheson, Abhandlung über die Natur und Beherrschung der Leidenschaften und Neigungen und über das moralische Gefühl insonderheit, translated into German by Johannn Gottfried Gellius (Leipzig, 1760). Original publication: Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions (1728). (The Gellius translation is also listed by Warda as belonging to Kant’s library.)

(June) Publishes an open letter to the mother of a student who died: Thoughts on the Premature Death of Mr. Johann Friedrich von Funk [...] [writings]


Johann Heinrich Lambert, Kosmologische Briefe über die Einrichtung des Weltbaues (Leipzig, 1761).[1]

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Die neue Heloise, oder Briefe zweyer Liebenden, aus einer kleinen Stadt am Fusse der Alpen [The New Heloise], 6 vols. (Leipzig: Weidmann, 1761). Originally published as: Julie, ou la nouvelle Héloïse (Amsterdam: Marc-Michel Rey, 1761).


(January 9) Peter III (1728-62), nephew of Elizabeth, is Emperor of Russia for six months, before being murdered by his wife, Catherine.

Frances Hutcheson, Untersuchung unsrer Begriffe von Schönheit und Tugend in zwo Abhandlungen, translated into German by Johann Heinrich Merck (Frankfurt and Leipzig, 1762). Original publication: Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue (1725).

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Aemil, oder Von der Erzeihung, 4 vols., transl. by Johann Joachim Schwabe (Berlin / Frankfurt / Leipzig, 1762). Original publication in French (appearing earlier that year): Émile, ou De l’éducation (La Haye: Jean Néaulme; also: Leipzick: M. G. Weidmann & Reich, 1762).

(July 9) Catherine II (“the Great”) becomes Empress of Russia until 1796.

(May to August) The Russian Occupation of Königsberg, having begun in January 1758, ends on May 5 with an alliance formed by Peter III of Russian and Prussia; the occupation is temporarily resumed on June 18 by Catherine II (the Great), recent widow of the murdered Peter III and new Empress of Russia, but then again rescinded by early August.

(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 [more]; it will be published in 1764 (see below).


Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Der gesellschaftliche Vertrag, oder die Grundregeln des allgemeinen Staatsrechts [On the Social Contract], translated into German by Christoph Friedrich Geiger (Marburg, 1763). Original publication: Du Contrat Social; ou principes du droit politique (Amsterdam: Marc-Michel Rey, 1762), viii, 376 pp.

(Spring or Summer) Reads Rousseau’s Émile (1762),[1] a novel concerning the education of a young boy, and emphasizing human freedom and the essential dignity of all human beings. Kant will later write in the margins of his Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime (next to the text printed at AA 2: 216-17):

“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.”[2]

(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.

(August 30) The “Kant Glass” is inscribed with this date, along with the words: “Secrecy in love and sincerity in Friendship / all Happy together notwithstanding what happend in the World” and signed “Emanuel Kant M. A. / Anthony Schorn / Joseph Green / Robert Motherby. / Joseph P…[?] / John Chappoll /Charles Staniforth.”[3]

(October 8) Completes Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime (published in 1764).[4] The winter semester begins on October 10.


Johann Heinrich Lambert, Neues Organon oder Gedanken über die Erforschung und Bezeichnung des Wahren und dessen Unterscheidung des Wahren und dessen Unterscheidung vom Irrtum und Schein, 2 vols. (Leipzig: Johann Wendler, 1764), xvi, 592, 435 p.

(January) Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime [writings].

(February 10) “On the Adventurer Komarnicki” [writings].

(February 13-27) “Essay on the Maladies of the Mind” [writings].

(March 23) “Review of Silberschlag” [writings].

(Apr 7) Kant’s close friend, the law professor Johann Daniel Funk [bio], dies at the age of 42.

(April) Prize Essay: “Inquiry concerning the Distinctness of the Principles of Natural Theology and Morality” [writings].

(April/May) An extensive and favorable review[1] of Kant’s Only Possible Argument [writings] brought Kant’s name and writings to the attention of a much-wider audience, most importantly in Berlin.

(July) Abbt-Mendelssohn debate over Spalding’s Bestimmung des Menschen, published in Nicolai’s Briefe, die neueste literatur betreffend.[2]

(August 5) Kant is offered the professorship of poetry, which he declines; the position goes to Kant’s friend Johann Lindner [bio].

(September 7) Stanislas Poniatowski, a favorite of Catherine the Great, becomes King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania (until 1795, when Poland and Lithuania disappear).

(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.

(April) Having offered private lectures on mathematics for nearly every semester, Kant concludes his final course of lectures on mathematics [more].

(Summer) Kant becomes friends with the English merchant Joseph Green (1727-1786).[1]

Leibniz’ Nouveaux Essais sur l’entendement humain published by Raspe.[2]

(October) Publishes a lecture announcement for the winter semester: Announcement [...] [writings].

(December 31) “I have finally reached the point where I feel secure about the method that has to be followed...” [Kant’s letter to Lambert].[3]

Kant at 44 (1768)
Becker, oil on canvas,
46 x 49 cm.


(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.

(February) Kant begins work as assistant librarian at the Royal Library [glossary] in Königsberg [more] (his first salaried income), continuing this until April 1772. The library is open from 1-4 PM every Wednesday and Saturday afternoon.[1]

(April 21) Marcus Herz [bio] matriculates at the university (the third Jewish student to do so), studying medicine here (and attending Kant’s lectures) and eventually participating in Kant’s inaugural defense, leaving shortly thereafter in September 1770 to continue his medical studies in Berlin.

(September 23) Johann Feder’s positive review of Kant’s Dreams of a Spirit-Seer in the Erlangen Gelehrten Zeitung.


Moses Mendelssohn, Phaedon, oder über die Unsterblichkeit der Seele, in drey Gesprächen (Berlin / Stettin: Friedrich Nicolai, 1767), (x), 309 pp.


“Concerning the Ultimate Ground of the Differentiation of Directions in Space” [writings]. The argument from incongruent counterparts is introduced to refute the Lebnizian account of space as relational.

(May 9) “My principal aim is to know the actual nature and limits of human capacities and inclinations, and I think I have finally more or less succeeded as far as ethics is concerned.” (Letter to J. G. Herder)[1]

(Summer) J. J. Kanter [bio] 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], J. G. Hamann [bio], T. G. von Hippel [bio], Kant [bio], J. G. Lindner [bio], and J. G. Scheffner [bio].[1]


The Keyserling’s (Count Heinrich Christian and Countess Caroline) move into their Roßgarten palace – “one of the noblest in Königsberg” [Bernoulli 1779, 3: 68] – as their permanent dwelling [Conrad 1911, 101].

Leonhard Euler, Briefe an eine deutsche Prinzessinn über verschiedene Gegenstände aus der Physik und Philosophie, 2 vols. (Leipzig: Johann Friedrich Junius, 1769). Translated from the French original (1768).

“The year '69 gave me great light” [Refl. #5037; AA 18: 68].[1]

(December 15) Kant declines an offer of the Logic and Metaphysics chair at Erlangen.

[top] [1720] [1730] [1740] [1750] [1760] [1770] [1780] [1790] [1800] [lecture schedule]


Adam Smith, Theorie der moralischen Empfindungen von Adam Smith, translated into German by Christian G. Rautenberg (Braunschweig: Meyer, 1770). Originally published as: Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759).
The following year, Marcus Herz [bio] writes to Kant (9 Jul 1771): “I have various comments to make about the Englishman Smith who, Herr Friedländer [bio] tells me, is your favorite.” [AA 10: 126]

(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]


(June 7) In a letter to Marcus Herz, Kant mentions that he is “now busy on a work which I call The Limits of Sensibility and of Reason[AA 10: 123], which he discusses further in his February 21 letter to Herz the following year [AA 10: 129], noted below.

(July) Hamann publishes a German translation of the conclusion to David Hume’s A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40) in the Königsbergsche Gelehrte und Politische Zeitungen.[1]

(August) Kant reviews a work on comparative anatomy by Moscati [writings].

(November) Johann Schultz [bio] publishes his anonymous review of Kant’s dissertation.[2]


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’s youngest sister, Katharina Barbara, marries a wig-maker named Teyer (or Theuer).

Kant considers getting married, but does not get past the considering stage.[1]

(February 21) In a letter to Marcus Herz, Kant reports that he has found “the key to the whole secret of metaphysics … What is the ground of the relation of that in us which we call 'representation' to the object?[AA 10: 130], noting that he is now “in a position to bring out a critique of pure reason that will deal with the nature of theoretical as well as practical knowledge[AA 10: 132].

(April) After six years, and with the security of his professor’s salary (equalling about four-times as much as he had been making, once benefits were included), Kant resigns from his position at the Royal Library in the castle.[2]

(August 5) First Partition of Poland.[3]

(October) Kant begins lecturing on Anthropology this semester, and continues to offer this course every winter semester until his retirement.[4] [more]


West Prussia is formed from lands ceded by Poland in the first partition, with Marienwerder the provincial capital.


Kant is offered the rectorship of the Mitau academy; he declines.

(1774-78) Hermann Samuel Reimarus, Fragmente eines Ungenannten, edited by G. E. Lessing.

(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 [1924] and translated into numerous languages.

Kant at c.51 (c.1775)
Keyserling, chalk drawing,
24 x 34 cm.


(April) Kant publishes a lecture announcement for the summer semester: “On the Different Races of Humankind [...]” [writings].

(September 16) Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, De generis humani varietate nativa [On the Natural Variety of Humankind] (Göttingen: Frid. Andr. Rosenbusch, 1775).[1]


(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, Versuch über das Genie, translated into German by Christian Garve (Leipzig 1776). Originally published as: An Essay on Genius (London 1774).

Adam Smith, Untersuchung der Natur und Ursachen von Nationalreichthümern, 2 vols., translated into German by Johann Friedrich Schiller (Leipzig: Weidmanns Erben und Reich, 1776), viii, 632; xii, 740pp. Originally published as: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, 2 vols. (London: W. Strahan and T. Cadell, 1776).[1]


Johann Nicolas Tetens, Philosophische Versuch über die menschliche Natur und ihre Entwickelung, 2 vols. (Leipzig 1777).[1]

(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].

Kant publishes a revised version of his 1775 essay “On the Different Races of Humankind [...]”[2] [writings].

(August 18) Moses Mendelssohn [bio] visits Kant’s lecture-hall.

(September 25) Death of Johann Heinrich Lambert (born 26 August 1728).


(February 28) Minister Zedlitz [bio] encourages Kant to accept a professorship at Halle, with a steep increase in salary; Kant declines the offer.

(July 1) During a three-day visit to Königsberg, the Swiss mathematician Johan Bernoulli (1744–1807) dined at the Keyserlings where he met Kant, later recounting: “Of Mr. Kant’s philosophical writings nothing has appeared in print for a long time, although he promised to publish a small book next.” [see]


(spring) Gotthold Ephraim Lessing’s Nathan der Weise is published.[1]

(October 11) Kant begins his second term as dean of the Philosophy Faculty; this involves membership on the Academic Senate for the winter semester.

[top] [1720] [1730] [1740] [1750] [1760] [1770] [1780] [1790] [1800] [lecture schedule]

Kant at 58 (1782)
Paul Heinrich Collin,
relief bust, 4.6 cm.


(June) Following the death of Prof. Christiani, Kant joins the Academic Senate as a permanent member.


(February 15) Death of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (born 22 January 1729).

(May 11) Appearance in the Easter book fair of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, 1st ed. [writings].

David Hume, Gespräche über natürliche Religion. Nach der zwoten Englischen Ausgabe. Nebst einem Gespräch über den Atheismus von Ernst Platner (Leipzig, 1781). The 2nd edition was translated into German by K. G. Schreiter. Originally published as: Dialogues on Natural Religion (1779).[1]

Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, Epochen der Natur, 2 vols., translated from the French by Johann Friedrich Hackmann (St. Petersburg: Johann Zacharias Logan), 204, 190 pp. Originally published as: Les époques de la natur (1778), the fifth of a seven-volume supplement to his original fifteen-volume Histoire naturelle générale et particulière.


(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.


(April) Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics that will be able to present itself as a Science [writings].[1]

(April) “Review of Schulz” [writings].

(April 18) From Puttlich’s [bio] diary: “I set out for a walk along the Philosophical Walk and thought it would still have ice, snow, or a lot of water and thus be hard going, but I was quite surprised and happy to find the walk as dry as a hallway. I met many people as well as Prof. Kant, who was also strolling here, alone and deep in thought.... I returned home about 6 o’clock.”[2]

Cicero, De officiis [On Duty], translated into German, and with commentary, by Christian Garve: Abhandlung über die menschlichen Pflichten in drei Büchern (Breslau: Korn, 1783).

Moses Mendelssohn, Jerusalem, oder über religiöse Macht und Judentum (Berlin: Friedrich Maurer, 1783), in two parts: 96, 141 pp.


Johann Schultz [bio], Erläuterungen über des Herrn Professor Kant Critik der reinen Vernunft (Königsberg: C. G. Dengel, 1784).[1]

(April) James Boswell’s (fictional) trip to Königsberg, where he meets Kant.[2]



(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.

(September) Kant finishes writing his Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals.[3]

(November) “Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose” [writings].

(December) “An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?” [writings].


Kant at 62 (1786)
Friedrich Wilhelm Senewaldt, silverpoint, 10 x 13 cm.


(January 1) C. G. Schütz [bio] and Gottlieb Hufeland [bio] begin publication of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung[1]

Johann Gottfried Herder, Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit [Ideas for a philosophy of the history of humanity], in two parts (Riga/Leipzig: Johann Friedrich Hartknoch, 1785), (xxiii), 346, (iv), 344 pp.

(January 6) “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].

(April) Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals [writings] (2nd ed: 1786).

(May) “On the Wrongfulness of Unauthorized Publication of Books” [writings].

(early September) Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, Über die Lehre des Spinoza in Briefen an den Herrn Moses Mendelssohn (Breslau, 1785).[2]

(September) Kant finishes Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science, which will appear Easter 1786.

(early October) Moses Mendelssohn, Morgenstunden oder Vorlesungen über das Daseyn Gottes. Erster Theil.[3] Berlin: Christian Friedrich Voß und Sohn, 1785.

(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].

(December) Johann Schultz [bio], at Kant’s request, publishes a review of a metaphysics textbook by J. A. H. Ulrich, Institutiones logicae et metaphysicae scholae suae scripsit (Jena: Cröker, 1785).[4]


(January 4) Death of Moses Mendelssohn (born 6 September 1729).

(January) “Conjectural Beginning of Human History” [writings].

Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science [writings].

(April 18) “Review of Hufeland” [writings].

(April 18) Death of Kant’s former publisher and landlord Johann Jakob Kanter [bio].

(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).

(May) Two anonymous reviews (written by Hermann Andreas Pistorius) of the Kritik der reinen Vernunft are published in the Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek.

(June 27) Death of Kant’s close friend of twenty years, the English merchant Joseph Green.

Karl Leonhard Reinhold [bio] publishes his “Briefe über die Kantische Philosophie” [Letters on the Kantian Philosophy] in Die Teutsche Merkur (August 1786, January-August 1787); their popularity pushes the Critique of Pure Reason to center stage, after five years of relative neglect.[1]

“Remarks on Jakob” [writings].

(August 17) Death of Friedrich II.

(August 29) A Cabinet-Order prohibits the philosophy professors at Marburg from lecturing on Kant’s writings during the coming winter semester.[2]

(September 19) Coronation in Königsberg of Friedrich Wilhelm II (1744—1797, nephew to Friedrich II; reigned 1786-1797). Kant, as rector, must participate.

(Oct 1) Kant ends his first term as rector of the university (during the just concluded summer semester), passing the office over to Professor Reccard.

(October) “What is Orientation in Thinking?” [writings].

(December 7) Kant becomes a corresponding member of the Berlin Academy of Sciences.


Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, David Hume über den Glauben; oder, Idealismus und Realismus. Ein Gespräch. (Breslau: Gottlieb Loewe, 1787).[1]

Kant at dinner

Doerstling (1892)

(Easter) Having lived in his own house since May 1784, Kant installs a kitchen, hires a cook, and begins taking most of his daily meals at home, always with at least one guest, usually with two or three, but never more than five, as his table accommodated only six.[2]

(summer semester) Kant teaches a course on Natural Theology for the last time. [more].

Critique of Pure Reason (2nd edition) [writings].

(October 8) Kant begins his fifth term as dean of the Philosophy Faculty; this is also the last semester that he will teach a course on Theoretical Physics. [more].

Kant at 65 (1789)
Veit Hans Friedrich Schnorr, colored pencil on vellum,
8.7 x 11 cm.


(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); this is also the last semester that he will teach a course on Natural Law. [more]

(June 21) Death of Johann Georg Hamann [bio], while visiting friends in Münster.

(July 9) J. C. Wöllner, the new Minister of Education and Religious Affairs,[1] issues an "Edict concerning Religion" 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].

(November 10) Johann Gottfried Karl Christian Kiesewetter [bio] matriculates at the university and quickly enters Kant’s circle, meeting regularly with Kant for philosophical discussions over the course of the year, and then visiting again for two months in 1790.

(December 19) J. C. Wöllner issues the "Edict on Censorship," suppressing irreligious publications in Berlin.

“Kraus Review” [writings].

Critique of Practical Reason [writings].


(March 3) By special order of the king, “as a sign of our full satisfiction,” Kant was given a yearly raise of 220 Talern, making him the highest paid professor in all of Prussia. [1]

(July 14) Soldiers and citizens stormed the Bastille in Paris, marking the beginning of the French Revolution.[1]

First Introduction to the Critique of the Power 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.

[top] [1720] [1730] [1740] [1750] [1760] [1770] [1780] [1790] [1800] [lecture schedule]

Kant at 66 (1790)
unknown artist, oil on canvas, 38 x 53 cm.


(March) “On the Propensity to Fanaticism and the Means to Oppose it” [writings].

(April 20) Critique of the Power of Judgment. 2nd ed: 1793 [writings].

(April 20) On a Discovery According to Which Any New Critique of Pure Reason is Rendered Superfluous by an Earlier One [writings].

(June 12) “On the Announcement of an (illegitimate) Edition of I. Kant’s Minor Writings” [writings].

(September) “Schultz Review” [writings].


(Jan 8-14) The novelist Friedrich Schulz [bio] visits Königsberg on his way to Mitau, providing us with a sketch of Kant.

(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, 1791), 432pp. A two-volume translation by Friedrich Gentz — with an introduction, commentary, and additional materials — appeared two years later: (Berlin: Friedrich Vieweg, 1793-94).

Kant at 67 (1791)
Döbler, oil on canvas,
28.5 x 33 cm.


(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].


Kant loses the use of his left eye.[1]

(January 23) Second Partition of Poland.[2]

(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 Boundaries of Mere Reason [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].


Kant at 70 (1794)
Joseph Mattersberger, plaster, 61 cm.


(March) Prof. Friedrich August Nitsch delivers the first set of lectures on Kant’s philosophy in London.[1]

(May) “On the Influence of the Moon on the Weather” [writings].

(June) “The End of All Things” [writings].

(August 8) Kant becomes a corresponding member of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences.[2]

(October 1) Kant receives a cabinet order from the King, written by his minister Wöllner, censoring Kant for his writings on religion, in particular the recently published and re-issued Religion within the limits of Reason Alone.[3]

(October 14) Kant begins his seventh term as dean of the Philosophy Faculty.


“Toward Perpetual Peace: a Philosophical Project” [writings].

(October 14) Wöllner and Hillmer, in the name of the king, issue an order to the academic senate in Königsberg that forbids all professors from lecturing on Kant’s Religion within the limits of Reason Alone.[1]

(October 24) Third Partition of Poland.[2]


(April 23) Death of Kant’s former student and friend of many years, Theodor Gottlieb von Hippel [bio], at the age of 55.

Kant at 71 (1795)
C. Vernet, oil on pergament,
8 x 10.5 cm.

(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].

(November 17) Paul I (1754-1801) is Emperor of Russia. He is assassinated 23 March 1801.

(December) “Announcement of the Near Conclusion of a Treaty for Eternal Peace in Philosophy” [writings].


(January 5) “Declaration regarding Hippel’s Authorship” [writings] is a brief public notice correcting a current belief that Kant had written several of the anonymously-published works by Hippel.

(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) Death of Friedrich Wilhelm II.[1]


(April 4) Kant becomes a corresponding member of the Siena Academy of Sciences.

(June 5) Coronation in Königsberg of Friedrich Wilhelm III (1770-1840, son of Friedrich Wilhelm II; reigned 1797-1840).[1]

Explanatory Notes [writings] is a brief pamphlet responding to an anonymous review of the Rechtslehre published the previous year.

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].


An approved three volume edition of Kant’s shorter writings is published by Johann Heinrich Tieftrunk. A fourth volume is added in 1807.[1]

(August) “Declaration Regarding Fichte’s Wissenschaftslehre [writings].

Johann Gottfried Herder, Metakritik.

[top] [1720] [1730] [1740] [1750] [1760] [1770] [1780] [1790] [1800]


Kant at 77 (1801)
Friedrich Hagemann,
marble bust, 52 cm.

(February 22) Kant’s younger brother, Johann Heinrich, dies at the age of 64.

“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].

Text edited by G. B. Jäsche: Logic [writings].

A collection of some of Kant’s shorter writings not included in Tieftrunk [1799] is published by F. T. Rink.

Friedrich Theodor Rink, Mancherley zur Geschichte der metacritischen Invasion. Nebst einem Fragment einer älteren Metacritik von Johann George Hamann, genannt der Magus in Norden, und einigen Aufsätzen, die Kantische (Königsberg: Friedrich Nicolovius, 1800), xxii, 256 pp.


(January 14-16) Friedrich Hagemann is in Königsberg to prepare a clay model for Kant’s bust.[1]

(March 11-12) Czar Paul I of Russia is assassinated in the night.

(March 23) Paul’s son, Alexander I (1777-1825), becomes Czar of Russia.

(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.


(January) Kant dismisses his long-time servant Martin Lampe; he is replaced by a much younger and more capable Johann Kaufmann; Wasianski also notes, in passing, that Kant is no longer reading or writing.[1]

Text edited by F. T. Rink: Physical Geography [writings].


Text edited by F. T. Rink: On Education [writings].

(July) “His memory has left him almost completely.”[1]

(before August 1) Kant’s younger sister, Catharina Barbara (1731-1807), moves into Kant’s house, to help care for him.[2]

(October 8) “Kant became significantly ill for the first time in his entire life” [Wasianski 1804, 172-73], the result of eating too much English cheese.


(February 12, Sunday, 11:00 a.m.) Kant dies in Königsberg after a lengthy illness.[1]

(February 28) Kant’s funeral in the Cathedral and interment in the “Professor Crypt” (Professorgewölbe) alongside the east end of the Cathedral’s north wall. His coffin was placed directely in the earth and without any stone marking the site.[2] This was the first of his three burials (see also 1809, 1880).

Kant’s house is sold to the merchant Johann Christoph Richter, then later in the year to the innkeeper Johann Ludwig Meier.[3]

(April 23) Memorial address by Professor Wald in the large auditorium (as ordained by the academic senate, February 20), at which time Kant’s bust was also unveiled and installed in the auditorium.

(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].


(April 22) First gathering of the “Friends of Kant” in Kant’s former house, now a pub.[1]


(April 25-28) Auctioning of Kant’s library.[1]


Scheffner's Kant chapel

Chapel (1809)

(March) With the construction of the Stoa Kantiana designed and financed by Kant’s old friend Scheffner [bio], “Kant’s coffin was moved to one wing of the walkway” [Scheffner 1816, 305] “towards the east” [Borkowski 1936, 68], and a burial marker stone was set in the tiled floor (upon which stood a pedestal and Hagemann’s bust of Kant).[1]


(August 31) Kant’s house is bought by the dentist Karl Gustav Döbbelin, where he both lived and practiced dentistry. He was the first to install a memorial plaque on the outside of the house: “Immanuel Kant / lived and taught here / from 1783 to 12 February 1804.”[1]

Exhumation of Kantplatz 1864

Kantplatz (1864)


(October 18) Unveiling of Rauch’s Kant Monument on Kant Square (across the street from the north-west corner of the castle) [Illustrierte Zeitung (Leipzig), 29 October 1864 (pp. 304-5); Springer 1924, 22].


Exhumation of Kant's grave (chapel exterior)


Exhumation of Kant's grave


(June 22) Kant’s bones are exhumed.[1] Plaster casts are made of his skull, as well as photographs. [see]

(November 21) Kant’s bones are reburied [Bessel Hagen 1880, 3].


Döbbelin’s heirs sell Kant’s house to the Bernhard Liedtke business, whose store next-door needs room to expand.

(June 9) The new Gothic chapel for Kant’s grave (designed by Heydeck) is official opened.


The Rauch statue of Kant is relocated to the southwest side of the Parade Grounds, with Kant looking northeast across the grounds towards the city theater and with the new university building to his left.[1]


(April 4) Kant’s house at Prinzessinstraße 3 is demolished [Illustrirte Zeitung (Leipzig), No. 2606 (10 June 1893), p. 622].