What is the Enlightenment? A primary source analysis of Kant’s 1784 essay

What was the enlightenment? Unlike many historical time periods that are characterized by a lack of awareness by the participants of actually being a part of a certain “period” of time or movement, the major players in the Enlightenment KNEW they were in the enlightenment and used that very term in a self referential manner. An analogy could be made to the Civil Rights movement in which the leaders of the movement believed, knew, they were part of something that would immensely benefit humanity as a whole.

When Kant’s 1784 Essay titled, What is the Enlightenment linked HERE and answer the following questions:

Questions For Consideration and Discussion:

1. How does Kant define the Enlightenment?
2. In section 3, what “state” does Kant believe man has become “fond” of and why would he say such a thing? What does he mean by this?
4. Kant states that, “Rules and formulas are the shackles of a permanent immaturity” provide an example from your life or at least the modern world demonstrating this idea.
5. In both section 5 and 9, Kant discusses the value, and duty, in “using REASON publicly” . What does he mean by this? what does, “using reason publicly” look like? Do we currently “use reason publicly”?



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