Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University

History

The Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University was established on October 13, 2010, by an order of the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation.

A most innovative university, the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University strives to maintain and spread academic and research traditions of its predecessor – the Albertina University of Königsberg. 

The Albertina, one of the oldest universities in Europe, has a 460-year history. I. Kant, J. Hamann, J. Herder, F.W. Bessel, K. Jacobi, F. Linderman, А. Gurvits, D. Hilbert and H. Helmholtz taught at the Albertina University. К. Donelaitis, the founder of Lithuanian literature, studied theology there. E.T.A. Hoffman, the famous writer and composer, attended lectures in philosophy at Albertina.

The University's greatest professor is Immanuel Kant, the world-famous philosopher, who was a Russian citizen for some time. The name of I. Kant forever linked the city of Königsberg and the Albertina University with the global history of culture and became the ‘trademark’ of the region.

Здание Альбертины (ныне корпус на Университетской, 2)

Immanuel Kant is the most famous of Königsberg. Neither wars that happened here nor the trade alliances of Hanseatic League made the city as famous as Kant’s works in Philosophy did. Königsberg, though being a political, military, merchant and craft center was underdeveloped in spiritual and cultural spheres, being merely a borderland of the Western Civilization.

Königsberg was not as developed in terms of philosophy, science, and art as many other German cities like Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, and Marburg. The city was more into practical matters, participating in wars, developing craftsmanship, etc. In the sphere of philosophy the pietists, a very vigorous religious movement has inspired the king’s order on expelling the Natural Philosopher, Christian Gabriel Fischer from the university and the city. This event has caused stalling of the Age of Enlightenment in Königsberg, meaning that the religion remained the only way of leading a spiritual life in the city. It seems impossible for a genius to be born in a spiritual atmosphere like this. Nevertheless, the genius was born. Obviously, a respectable German burgher, who lived attending to practical matters and had lots of limitations in this life still, had something in his soul that would inspire him on breaking all limits and borders with the power of his mind.   

There were many people called “great” living in Königsberg. People like physicist and physiologist Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894) or mathematician David Gilbert (1862-1943). But only physicists can call Königsberg “a city of Helmholtz”. But it is universal for all people to name it “the city of Kant” because Immanuel Kant’s life was connected to Königsberg more than any other great person and because he has managed to turn a culturally remote city into one of the centers of the European culture. He was born in this city, spent all his life here and was buried in this land.

There were many hardships and limitations in Immanuel Kant’s life. He has never left more than several kilometers from Königsberg. He only heard stories from his friends or read books about Paris, Saint-Petersburg, London, and even Berlin. The scientist who taught geography at the university has almost never left his hometown. Though Kant’s thought knew no borders, he developed his philosophy not for Germans, not for people of Eastern Prussia and even not for all human beings but for all intelligent creatures. The first paradox of Kant is the fact that he has spent all his life in a very limited space but had an unlimited mind. One of the most universal philosophical systems in the world was created by the man who never looked for an opportunity to see the world with his own eyes.

The second paradox is that the man, whose life experience was mostly gained from books and who was not longing to widen it with real-life experience has managed to create a tome of practical wisdom.

“Do not accept good deeds you may live without…” – this was said by the person whose ideas live so deeply in us. We only have to admit that deep and consecutive, pure thinking improves and widens our life experience. Thinking means living. When reading Immanuel Kant’s works one can understand how he has managed to develop his way of thinking so much by using only pure mind that it has entered our very lives.