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Kant, Immanuel (1724–1804)

The philosopher Immanuel Kant, born in 1724, in the Prussian city of Königsberg, is recognized as one of the most important figures of the 16th-century Enlightenment. In reaction to the ritual and disciplined pietistic atmosphere that prevailed where he grew up, Kant developed a theory of duty based on human autonomy.

According to Kant, human will is fair—a good will—only if actions are motivated by duty itself. The idea of God is necessary from the practical point of view—as the idea of the supreme moral ruler of the world and the source of moral norms. Thus, the fundamental reason for religion is practical because, over and above particular doctrines, its ultimate function is to guide individual moral life and lead humanity to the moral destiny of ...

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