Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) never left his place of birth except for a brief stint as a lecturer in a nearby village. He lived and died in Kaliningrad (now Konigsburg), Russia. While tutoring, he published science papers, including “General Natural History and Theory of the Heavens” in 1755. He spent the next 15 years as a metaphysics lecturer. In 1781, he published the first part of Critique of Pure Reason. He published more critiques in the years to come preceding his death, on February 12, 1804, in Kaliningrad.He was barely five feet tall and extremely thin, and his health was fragile. Toward the end of his life he became increasingly antisocial and bitter over the growing loss of his memory and capacity for work. Kant became totally blind (Ack- http://www.notablebiographies.com)
At the age of 22 he wrote:”I have always fixed upon the line which I am resolved to keep… Nothing shall prevent me from keeping it.” Everything else he relegated to it. He thought of marriage but by the time he decided the lady in question married one who meanwhile proposed. He remained a bachelor. He presevered despite ill health and obscurity. Never did a book so startle and upset the philosophic world as his.
Critique for a title does not indicate Kant is criticizing Reason but it just means a critical analysis of pure reason from ‘impure’ reason. Pure in the sense knowledge does not come through our senses but is independent of all shared experience. For example Knowledge in mathematics is true no matter what our future experience be. Two plus two is four whether the moon in furthering distance from the earth or not. Such a change in the future will lengthen days and nights necessitating a change in our internal clocks as well. Experience of ‘gut feeling’ as to passing of time or needing sleep as our biological clocks may change. Kantian pure reason is truth inviolable. Mind of man is not passive wax upon which sensation and experience writes its will.
In order to have a casual understanding of his importance as a philosopher and his work Critique it shall suffice to say the entire 19th century philosophic thought revolved around his speculations and in our age it influenced Jean Paul Sartre greatly. His magnum opus runs to more than 800 pages and in discarding examples and analogies he made it very daunting for the beginners to understand him directly. It is often safer to approach him from expositions of lesser mortals. It is like understanding Jehovah at the Mount Sinai through his prophet Moses.
Immanuel Kant didn’t explain his thought by examples lest he should add more pages needlessly. As a parting thought let me add: analogies are like fishes of the sea and it could include from anchovies to the whales. These are merely incidental to the quintessence of the sea under the influence of the wind or without. Philosophy of man accommodates analogies from nature but are not really called for.