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Joseph Green (1727 – 27 June 1786) was an English merchant who became the "best friend"[1] of Immanuel Kant.


Green was born in Kingston upon Hull. He settled in Königsberg, Germany, and traded grains, coal, herring, and manufactured goods. Around 1752 Green hired Robert Motherby who also came from Hull as his assistant. Motherby later became his business partner and successor. Green never married.[1]

Around 1764 Green met Kant and became a close member of his circle of friends. Kant went often to Green's house outside of Königsberg in Juditten. Green shared with Kant a deep appreciation of the ideas of David Hume and Jean-Jaques Rousseau,[2] in addition, Green could provide as perspective of the outside world that was helpful for Kant.[1] Meeting on a regular basis, Kant discussed his work with him, so every sentence of his "Critique of Pure Reason" prior to the 1781 publication.[3] Kant also entrusted Green with his money.[3]

Kant, who did not travel far beyond Königsberg, sent Green to visit Emanuel Swedenborg and check his health as Kant had doubts about his mental status.[4] Green's sense of order and resulting pedantic punctuality inspired Theodor Gottlieb von Hippel to write a comedy: Der Mann nach der Uhr. This sense of order, regularity, and punctuality also had an effect on Kant.[3][5] Kuehn remarks that "Green's effect upon Kant cannot be overestimated."[2]

Green's death in 1786 deeply affected Kant.


  1. ^ a b c John H. Zammito. Kant, Herder, and the Birth of Anthropology. The University of Chicago Press. p. 103. ISBN 0-226-97858-3.
  2. ^ a b Kuehn M (May 3, 2001). "Meet Mr Green". The Economist . Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Hans-Peter Gensichen (March 2004). "Wie schwul war Kant? (How gay was Kant?)" (PDF) (in German). Forum. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  4. ^ Stephen Larsen: The Fundamentalist Mind: How Polarized Thinking Imperils Us All. Quest Books, 2014, ISBN 0-8356-3101-X, S. 220
  5. ^ Sinistre (March 1, 2010). "Some of Kant's unique behaviuorisms". Noumenal Realm. Retrieved June 11, 2016.