Immanuel Kant died 200 years ago today
The anniversary is marked by a rash of new biographies. According to the Guardian they show the great man in an unexpected light. “He has been famously portrayed as a bore, a man whose habits were so regular that housewives could set their watches by his legendary afternoon walk.
But according to three new biographies, the celebrated German philosopher … was not such a dry stick after all. Far from being a dour Prussian ascetic, the great metaphysician was a partygoer. He enjoyed drinking wine, playing billiards and wearing fine, colourful clothes.
He had a sense of humour, and there were women in his life, although he never married. On occasion, Kant drank so much red wine he was unable to find his way home, the books claim.”
Hmmm… I’m a bit disappointed by these revelations. I’ve always thought old Immanuel was impressively serious, as befits a proper philosopher. Just look at that portrait above. One of my favourite quotes is his observation that “Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.” Not sure I like the idea of K as a raver and a billiards fiend. Another illusion bites the dust. Sigh.