Is this a real quote from Kant?

“Someone’s intelligence can be measured by the quantity of uncertainties that he can bear”

If so, what is the origin? In what context does he say it?

  • 2
    I don't think this is a real quote, but most likely a misattribution. Indicatively, no german version exists. The french version seems to be en vogue: "On mesure l'intelligence d'un individu à la quantité d'incertitudes qu'il est capable de supporter". Vote to close. – DBK Sep 12 '12 at 20:16
  • I am not familiar with Kant's work, but I like this quote and uncertainty is one of my main research interests. Does Kant talk about uncertainty in his work? Do you know some good sources to read about the definition of uncertainty from a philosophical perspective? – Felipe Aguirre Sep 13 '12 at 9:10
  • It reminds me of Nietzsche's slightly different remark about the depth of a soul being measurable by the number of contradictions it can bear... – Joseph Weissman Sep 21 '12 at 3:50
  • Someones intelligence can be reduced by a quantity of cans of beer. – Per Alexandersson Sep 21 '12 at 19:53

I don't know all of Kant's work but I know mainly his point was that using your reason is what gives you freedom, makes you human and is what gives hope to humanity. He never talks about knowledge, he talks about using your own intelligence. In other words, questioning things. He says weak people go for the easy answer, all made for them, all prepared. The hard thing to do is not be sure, is questioning and finding your own answers. Therefore, the more intelligent (and strong) you are, the more you're able to see things as uncertain and don't need the stable certitude of some pre-digested knowledge.

His text called What is enlightenment? is mostly what can be interpreted such as "Someone’s intelligence can be measured by the quantity of uncertainties that he can bear". But I have to say, even though its meaning made sens with my knowledge of Kant's theory, I never saw this quote within his work. I spent the afternoon trying to find it and, just like so many people, I can't. I really don't want to give up because it seems like something Kant would say, but so far, it only seem to be an interpretation of a part of his work.

Refer to Kant's What is Enlightenment? text.

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    Thank you very much for your effort. I had a quick look of the text, it seems very interesting. I'll give it a detailed reading when I have the time. By the way, I see that you are new in stackexchange. What you should have done is to edit your first answer and update it with this new information you gathered. It is the "proper" way according to the community. But of corse, your answer is still valid in this form. I'm just trying to advice you ;) It is also nice if you vote up the question. That will give it status (It'll appear higher in the home page). We will get an answer quicker. – Felipe Aguirre Sep 19 '12 at 6:48

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