Immanuel Kant on the Enlightenment
The Enlightenment took place during the seventh and eighteenth century in Europe. It was an intellectual revolution that encouraged people to step away from an ancient way of thinking. It first began in Paris but quickly spread over much of Europe. Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher who believed in a “Dare to Know” principle. He argued that people should learn things on their own and think for themselves. Even though Kant believed in thinking for oneself, he thought that men should never upset the public order. Kant defined enlightenment as a break away from nonage, as only being possible through intellectual freedom, and as a right of mankind.
Kant thought of enlightenment as a way to break away from nonage. According to Kant, “Nonage is the inability to use one’s own understanding without another’s guidance”. It is the lack of motivation to reason for oneself. People should use their own thought to reach their own conclusion. He urged people to stop being minors, and to break away from letting others or more specifically the church from telling them what and how to think. Kant argued that people should not be afraid to use their own minds. If people are always guided they will never get the courage to cultivate their own intellect. Men could never reach maturity unless they step away from their guardians, which is to say to cease being minors.
Kant believed enlightenment could only be achieved through freedom. “I reply: the public use of one’s reason must be free at all times, and this alone can bring enlightenment mankind”. According to this quote, Kant argued that freedom of thought was necessary for man‘s enlightenment. If people are afraid to think for themselves because of the consequences associated with it; they may be more inclined to stay ignorant. Although Kant wanted people to find the expression of thought, he urged people to do so privately. Regular citizens should never let their enlightenment...
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