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Kant’s Life

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Kant’s Lectures
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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. 

For a full biography of Kant, see Vorländer [1924], Kuehn [2001], and Dietzsch [2003], from which the following principally draws. 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], Cassirer [1918], and more recently Gulyga [1977; English tr.: 1987]. I also include a brief biography of Kant alongside those of the other professors at Königsberg.

[Kant’s writings]

[Publication of select texts other than by, or in response, to Kant]

[Cultural/political events of the day]

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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 (Frankfurt/Leipzig: B. Meyers, 1720), (iv), 112 pp., as well as a German translation of the Clark-Leibniz Correspondence (a set of five papers written by Leibniz, with replies by the Newtonian Samuel Clarke, written between November 1715 and October 1716, and published in London in 1717). The Principles of Nature and Grace had been published in 1718.

Vorderste Vorstadt


(April 22) 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 “Vorderste Vorstadt” (the “Vorstadt” was the neighborhood just south of the Kneiphof island, across the river, and the “vorderste” 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.

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(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.


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

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Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, Kleinere philosophische Schriften, with a preface by Christian Wolff (Jena: Mayer, 1740), lxxiv, 464 pp.[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.


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]

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


George Berkeley, Siris. Gründliche Historische Nachricht vom Theer-Wasser... (Amsterdam and Leipzig: Peter Mortier, 1745), compiled and edited by Diederich Wessel Linden. 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]

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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). Originally published as: Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière, 36 vols. (1749–1788).


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: Freidrich 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.


(April 9) Death of Christian Wolff (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) 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.

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 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.

(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.[3]


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 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.

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].


(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]

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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.)

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]


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 publishes On the Social Contract [German translation: Der gesellschaftliche Vertrag, oder die Grundregeln des allgemeinen Staatsrechts, transl. by Christoph Friedrich Geiger (Marburg, 1763)] and Émile [German translation: Aemil, oder Von der Erzeihung, 2 vols., transl. by Johann Joachim Schwabe (Berlin, 1762)].

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. 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.”[1]

(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.

(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).[1] 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].

(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].

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 Castle Library 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) Markus Herz [bio] matriculates at the university (the third Jewish student to do so), studying here (and presumably with Kant) until September 1770, when he returns to Berlin.


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.

(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 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.

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


(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).

(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 Castle Library.[1]

(October) Kant begins lecturing on Anthropology this semester, and continues to offer this course every winter semester until his retirement.[2] [more]


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 [1924] 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, Versuch über das Genie, translated into German by Christian Garve (Leipzig 1776). Originally published as: An Essay on Genius (London 1774).


Johann Nicolas Tetens, Philosophische Versuch über die menschliche Natur und ihre Entwickelung, 2 vols. (Leipzig: M. G. WEidmanns Erben und Reich 1777), lvi, 784, xxvi, 834 p.

(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 [...]”[1] [writings].

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


(February 28) Minister Zedlitz [bio] 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.

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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]


(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.


Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, Über die Lehre des Spinoza in Briefen an den Herrn Moses Mendelssohn (Breslau, 1785).[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 1) C. G. Schütz [bio] and Gottlieb Hufeland [bio] begin publication of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung.[2]

(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].

(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].

(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).[3]


(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].

(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 the English merchant Joseph Green, Kant’s good friend.

(August 17) Death of Friedrich II.

“Remarks on Jakob” [writings].

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]

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

(August 29) A Cabinet-Order prohibits the philosophy professors at Marburg from lecturing on the 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.

(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]

(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].


(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]

(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].

(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 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) 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).

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].


(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 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.[1]

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

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


“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]


(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) 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]

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.[1]

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

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


“Preface to Reinhold Bernhard Jachmann’s Examination of the Kantian Philosophy of Religion.” [writings].

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

“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.


(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.


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


Text 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.

(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: 26 Sep 2014
Please send comments and questions to: ssnaragon@manchester.edu