Kant : On Enlightenment (Summary)

April 10, 2012

Kant : What is enlightenment ?

This quote from Kant is extracted from a short but important piece of political philosophy of Kant.

The whole project of Kant is to raise peoples and to help liberate them from tyranny. For this, they will launch the following injunction: Have the courage to use your own understanding.

Following Lessing and Mendelssohn, Kant defines the Enlightenment philosophy as the “exit out the guardianship state” that is to say a state where the man is incapable to use by himself his reason. This condition is due to heteronomous will because it results from a lack of “resolution” and “courage. ” But for Kant, this minority status is not natural: man is a being endowed with reason. However if the reason is not cultivated, the man remains in childhood. Thus, the Enlightenment is precisely an appeal to men to become adults, giving them access to self-judgment. Freed from the “precepts”and “formulas” and became sole masters of their reason, they can think for themselves, “walk alone”with an “uninsured. ”

Nevertheless this process of emancipation from tutors is easier to conquer collectively and individually. That is why the unraveling of a people is suspended on one condition: that the public use of reason, free flow of ideas and opinions, either verbally or in writing, be erected in “sacred right of humanity “. Censorship is considered as a “spiritual despotism” which not only denies the freedom to publish or communicate ideas verbally, but also the freedom to think.

Think for yourself is a call to the passage by a majority of the reason, an invitation to become an adult, an injunction to become autonomous