Presentation on theme: "FWeinert, Bradford University, UK1 Kant, What Is Enlightenment? (1784) A running commentary by Friedel Weinert."— Presentation transcript:
FWeinert, Bradford University, UK1 Kant, What Is Enlightenment? (1784) A running commentary by Friedel Weinert
FWeinert, Bradford University, UK2 Kant, Enlightenment Kant’s Definition Enlightenment = emergence from self-inflicted immaturity. Immaturity = inability to use one’s own reason, without external guidance. Motto Self-inflicted immaturity often due to laziness and cowardice of individuals. Motto for the lazy: Sapere Aude! Kant proposes a Categorical Imperative of Thinking: Examine yourself whether any particular idea, reason and rule can be generalised. This should free us from prejudices and superstitions. ëThis is only the first aspect: Self-emancipation
FWeinert, Bradford University, UK3 ëThere is a second aspect: Political/social emancipation Sometimes immaturity is due to shackles imposed by society: lack of political freedom [dictatorship], social and intellectual inhibitions [religious tyranny/ideologies] Freedom to use one’s reason, not political revolution, allows an entire public to enlighten itself. Kant, Enlightenment Public use of reason must be free in learning in reading public åhelps enlightenment Private use of reason is restricted in professional functions disobedience would destroy order ådoes not hinder public enlightenment
FWeinert, Bradford University, UK4 ëThere is a third aspect: Cultural Emancipation Enlightenment is not a one-off, unique effort The emergence from immaturity is a historical process: sapere aude a) on personal level: sapere aude b) on society level: education and culture Kant, Enlightenment progress The obstruction of - political and cultural - progress would be against human nature. Test for laws and decrees which can be imposed on a people: would a people impose such a law/decree upon itself?
FWeinert, Bradford University, UK5 From Generation to Generation It is impermissible to agree, even for a single lifetime, to a permanent religious constitution which no-one might publicly question. Renouncing enlightenment - shaking off of ignorance, increase in empirical knowledge - either for one’s own person or for later generations would be a violation of the sacred rights of mankind. Kant, Enlightenment Perfectibility
FWeinert, Bradford University, UK6 From Monarch to People a monarch has no right to impose a halt in the enlightenment process on his people the monarch’s legislative authority rests on the will of the people rejection of censorship Does Kant live in an enlightened Age? No, but in an age of Enlightenment Towards religious freedom and tolerance Kant, Enlightenment
FWeinert, Bradford University, UK7 Focal Points of the Enlightenment Religious Matters Legislation The old tension between public and private use of reason Kant, Enlightenment