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Presentation on theme: "“EVERYWHERE MAN IS BORN FREE, YET EVERYWHERE HE IS IN CHAINS”"— Presentation transcript:


2 “WHAT IS ENGLIGHTENMENT?” “Have the courage to use your own reason” “Don’t be afraid to know” “the escape of men from their self-incurred tutelage” “the propensity and vocation of free thinking” “capable of managing freedom” For Foucault: “a way out”

3 FOUCAULT/KANT: A WAY OUT FROM WHAT? Letting a book take the place of our understanding Allowing a spiritual director to tell us how to think in the place of using our own conscience Permitting a doctor or “expert” to tell us what we should be eating, doing, etc.

4 ENLIGHTENMENT AS A SYMPTOM OF A SOCIETY IN CRISIS Things can and must get better – PROGRESS History may have been the story of the crimes and follies of mankind until now—now things were going to change—since man now has the way out: REASON—man can control his own destiny by understanding it Change becomes GOOD in itself Emancipation from authority of the church and the state Increasing sense that government should be there not to tax and oppress people, but to ensure the welfare of the people

5 BARON DE MONTESQUIEU Conservative: represents the perspective of the nobility, the parlements Spirit of Laws –All men subject to same imperatives, necessities, and passions –Yet laws differ – climate, history, etc –Each society has certain laws that are right for it –Spirit of France: nobility has always played a mediating role between King and parlements—this is what is natural to France, what must be preserved at all costs –Interested in liberties (privliges), not liberty –The best state formed out of a balance of competing interests

6 VOLTAIRE Fundamentally opposed to Montesquieu: opposed to Parlements—believed they were narrow and selfish groups pushing their own interests at the expense of society Hated dogma of all kinds: –Substitute “deism” for blind faith demanded of traditional religion –Also opposes atheism “Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomy: the foolish dauther of a very wise mother” – they “have subjugated the world for a long time”

7 VOLTAIRE’S TOLERATION “It does not require great art, or magnificently trained eloquence, to prove that Christians should tolerate each other. I, however, am going further: I say that we should regard all men as our brothers. What? The Turk my brother? The Chinaman my brother? The Jew? The Siam? Yes, without doubt; are we not all children of the same father and creatures of the same God?” “This little globe, which is but a point, rolls through space, as do many other globes; we are lost in the immensity of the universe. Man, only five feet high, is assuredly only a small thing in creation.”

8 VOLTAIRE ON PATRIOTISM “ Where then is the fatherland? Is it not a good field, whose owner, lodged in a well-kept house can say: ‘This field that I till, this house that I have built, are mine; I live there protected by laws which no tyrant can infringe. When those who, like me, possess fields and houses, meet in their common interest, I have my voice in the assembly; I am a part of everything, a part of the community, a part of the dominion; there is my fatherland’”? “Well, now, is it better for your fatherland to be a monarchy or a republic? For four thousand years has this question been debated. Ask the rich for an answer, they all prefer aristocracy; question the people, they want democracy; only kings prefer royalty. How then is it that nearly the whole world is governed by monarchs? Ask the rats who proposed to hang a bell around the cat’s neck. But in truth, the real reason is, as has been said, that men are very rarely worthy of governing themselves. It is sad that often in order to be a good patriot one is the enemy of the rest of mankind. To be a good patriot is to wish that one’s city may be enriched by trade, and be powerful by arms. It is clear that one country cannot gain without another’s losses, and that it cannot conquer without making misery. Such then is the human state that to wish for one’s country’s greatness is to wish harm to one’s neighbors. He who should wish his fatherland might never be greater, smaller, richer, poorer would be the citizen of the world.”

9 JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU Dreamy, sensitive, given to reading Cult of sensibility and love of nature put him on cusp between Enlightenment and Romanticism Last years of life—nature and botany only thing that calmed him Also interested in music In Discourses praised fasionable primitivism, protested “artificiality” of Parisian culture Believed civilization a mistake Progress of sciences and arts—Enlightenment itself—has deformed man’s feelings and made society intolerable –Doesn’t want to go back to the woods, wants to figure out how to make society tolerable –Sees problem coming when social life brings in property and competitions, hence, the emergence of inequality

10 THE SOCIAL CONTRACT “How is a method of associating to be found which will defend and protect-using the power of all-the person and property of each member of the group to obey only himself and to remain as free as before?” “…the individual member alienates himself totally to the whole community together with all his rights. This first because conditions will be the same for everyone when each individual gives himself totally, and secondly, because no one will be tempted to make that condition of shared equality worse for other men….” “Once this multitude is united this way into a body, an offense against one of its members is an offense against the body politic.” “Whoever refuses to obey the general will shall be forced to obey it by the whole body politic, which means nothing else but that he will be forced to be free. This condition is indeed the one which by dedicating each citizen to the fatherland gives him a guarantee against being personally dependent on other individuals.” “The first and most important conclusion from the principles we have established thus far is that the general will alone may direct the forces of the State to achieve the goal for which it was founded, the common good….Sovereignty is indivisible…and is inalienable….A will is general o it is not: it is that of the whole body of the people or only of one facton. In the first instance, putting the will into words and force is an act of sovereignty: the will becomes law. In the second instance, it is only a particular will or an administrative action; at the very most it is a decree.” “People always desire what is good, but they do not always see what is good. You can never corrupt the people, but you can often fool them, and that is the only time that the people appear to will something bad…..

11 PROBLEMS WITH “THE GENERAL WILL”/”THE SOCIAL CONTRACT” It assumes that “the people were sufficiently informed as they made decisions” and that people make decisions on the basis of “rational communication” that allows the general will to be resolved “from a great number of small differences” Problem comes “when blocs are formed, asociations of parts at the expense of the whole” – then “the will of each of these associations will be general as far as its members are concerned but particular as far as the State is concerned” “…when one of these associations becomes so strong that it dominates the others, you no longer have the sum of minor differences as a result but rather one single [unresolved] difference, with the result that there no longer is a general will and the view that prevails is nothing but one particular view… “Once the public interest has ceased to be the principal concern of citizens, once they prefer to serve State with money rather than with their persons, the State will be approaching ruin.” “Sovereignty cannot be represented….Essentially, it consists of the general will, and a will is not represented: either we have it itself, or it is something else; there is no other possibility. “The deputies of the people thus are not and cannot be its representatives. They are only the people’s agents and are not able to come to final decisions at all. Any law that the people have not ratified in person is void, it is not a law at all.”


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