What Is Enlightenment According to Kant?

Topics: Immanuel Kant, Age of Enlightenment, Ethics Pages: 2 (850 words) Published: October 14, 2012

What is enlightenment according to Kant?
For hundreds of years questions such as what is enlightenment and how can we be enlightened were asked, and many different answers were given. Some tell that it is all about being educated, knowing few languages or being a great mathematician or a writer; others, on contrary, say that is not about academic education, but about education of our souls, that brings harmony and serenity. But every witness has its own truth. So in 1784, philosopher Immanuel Kant wrote “What is Enlightenment?” and told that “Enlightenment is man’s release from his self-incurred tutelage”. In other words Kant means that being enlightened means to be self-sufficient and industrious by means of being free, honest and responsible.

Independence is a state of being free from one’s constant care and support. As Kant said freedom is the possible way to enlightenment; “But that the public should enlighten itself is more possible; indeed if only freedom is granted enlightenment is almost sure to follow”. But being independent is not something that is put in us from the start; from the very beginning people always tend to look up for help and support. Starting from our childhood, we always depend on people that are around us. For example, parents are always there to help us no matter what and protect us every time there is a need. Of course, it is obvious that without parents we simply wouldn’t survive in this world. But as we grow up we get used to this state, when we’re taken care of. Later on, used to this constant care, we start to abuse it. Kant said “For any single individual to work himself out of the life under tutelage, which has become almost his nature, is very difficult. He has come to be fond of his state, and he is for the present really incapable of making use of his reason”. Hence, when there is something unknown on our way and there is no...
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