“What is Enlightenment? ” Immanuel Kant Sapere aude!
Background � Born 1724 � German Philosopher � Epistemology [theory of knowledge], Ethics [moral philosophy], Aesthetics [art, beauty, taste] � Kantianism– Kant’s “brand” of Philosophy � Idealism- the group of philosophies which assert that reality, or reality as we can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial. � Influenced subsequent Philosophy
The Categorical Imperative � The categorical imperative (German: Kategorischer Imperativ) is the central philosophical concept in the deontological moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant. Introduced in Kant's 1785 Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, it may be defined as a way of evaluating motivations for action. � According to Kant, human beings occupy a special place in creation, and morality can be summed up in one ultimate commandment of reason, or imperative, from which all duties and obligations derive. He defined an imperative as any proposition declaring a certain action (or inaction) to be necessary. � Hypothetical imperatives apply to someone dependent on them having certain ends to the meaning: if I wish to quench my thirst, I must drink something; if I wish to acquire knowledge, I must learn. A categorical imperative, on the other hand, denotes an absolute, unconditional requirement that asserts its authority in all circumstances, both required and justified as an end in itself. It is best known in its first formulation: Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law -- This is our duty; it is “moral law”– our MORAL OBLIGATIONS. � � �
Critique of Pure Reason �Kant’s major work �Hoped to end the era of “skepticism” �Process experience through REASON. �BUT �Need to marry the EMPIRICAL (what is known to us through experience) with the RATIONAL (what is known to us through reason; innate ideas)
“What is Enlightenment? ” �A question that appeared in a publication and called for responses. Posed by Rev. Johann Zollner, an official in the Russian government. �His essay was printed in the Berlin Monthly in 1784. �Many intellectuals responded, but his article is the most famous.
Kant’s Enlightenment �Enlightenment = Maturity �Enlightenment = Choice �Enlightenment = Courage �DARE TO KNOW
Kant �“enlightenment is man’s release from his self- incurred tutelage. ” �In order for man to understand, we must have direction from another. �We all have the ability to reason, but not all of us choose to use it. � “Have courage to use your own reason”– to defy, when necessary. �Defy tradition.
Kant �Self-Incurred Bondage– External & Internal �EXTERNAL �Political �Legal �Environmental �--These chains can’t always be broken, nor should they be.
Kant �Internal Bondage �Ignorance �Laziness �Cowardice �We must eradicate these “internal bondages” completely.
Examples �Internal Bondage– Laziness & Cowardice: �We pay others to think for us. We pass off our jobs. But, we need an active will to become enlightened. �“a pastor who acts as my conscience” �“a doctor who prescribes my diet” �“I have no need to think if only I can pay. ”
Freedom � This enlightenment requires nothing but freedom--and the most innocent of all that may be called "freedom": freedom to make public use of one's reason in all matters. Now I hear the cry from all sides: "Do not argue!" The officer says: "Do not argue--drill!" The tax collector: "Do not argue--pay!" The pastor: "Do not argue--believe!" Only one ruler in the world says: "Argue as much as you please, but obey!" We find restrictions on freedom everywhere. But which restriction is harmful to enlightenment? Which restriction is innocent, and which advances enlightenment? I reply: the public use of one's reason must be free at all times, and this alone can bring enlightenment to mankind. ”
Freedom �Necessary for enlightenment but almost impossible to attain “full” freedom. �Restrictions on absolute freedom. �Some restrictions are even necessary. �Private use of reasoning (should be restricted) �Public use of reasoning (should be free)
Private Use of Freedom �Applies to institutions: offices, military, churches, etc. “At times a person must abide with prescribed limitations of office, community and other social institutions. For example, if we are employee in an office we must obey the boss, if we are citizen of the state, we must pay tax, as a religious person he or she should follow the ecclesiastical parameters. But where people are in public, they are, they can comment upon taxation, criticize the boss and utilize their own reason. Public use of reason is that kind of reason which is utilized as a scholar, as a critic, as a philosopher unlike private use of reason. ” � (Civility) �
Freedom �Q: So, why is freedom sometimes restricted? �A: Because people are representatives. �Example: A person who is part of the clergy isn’t free to say anything against the doctrine they are representing. �Public vs. Private �Example: Priest speaking at mass (private) �Example: Journalist writing for the paper (public) �Private CAN be restricted, Public CAN’T.
Aufklarung [the BIG piece] �Aufklarung=Enlightenment �Philosophic movement of 18 th century � * Question Authority * Heightened interest in politics & culture *Emphasis on the empirical method (collect date, form conclusion) in science. �Center of thought was in France [Voltaire, Rousseau, D’Alembert & Diderot (Encyclopedie)]; In America [Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine]; German thinkers embraced the movement as well.
Neoclassicism [the small piece] �Neoclassicism refers to Western movements in the visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that drew inspiration from “classical” art & culture of Ancient Greece & Rome. �Coincided with the Enlightenment & continued into the early 19 th century.
Frederick the Great �Kant praises this FTG, who was King of Prussia (1740 -1786). �He made no attempt to regulate religious life. �He permitted the “public use of reason”: Argue as much as you like, but obey! �People were free to express/publish opinions, arguments, and criticisms for public discussions & debate. �However, our jobs should be done without complaint: teacher, military officer, clergyman, etc. This is necessary in order to maintain CIVIL ORDER.
Questions �What does Kant mean by “enlightenment? ” �Why does he think this is hard for us to accomplish? �How does enlightenment spread? �Why is free speech so important to Kant? �Can we ever be satisfied? �What keeps people from learning?
Kant the Reformer �Freedom to publish and publicly debate �Free thought would develop and alter the character of the people �This would, in turn, influence the principles of government �Civil freedom would arise �Concern with religious authority– fear this may try to deter freedom of thought �FINAL QUESTION: Do we live in an enlightened age, some 200+ years after Kant? And, Should there be any limits on freedom of speech?
Sapere aude! �DARE TO KNOW! �Have the courage to use your own understanding! �But remember, “you KANT always get what you want!” –Hedwig and the Angry Inch