In the essay "What is Enlightenment?" (or "Answering the Question: What is Enlightenment?"), Kant says that enlightenment is "man's emergence from his self-imposed nonage." This means that...
The Enlightenment drew from, and furthered, the development ofthe new science that had begun during the Renaissance and inspiredthe republican revolutions in France and America. Kant was at hismost productive around the time of these two great revolutions,but as he spent his entire life in eastern Prussia, he was largelyuntouched by the world events unfolding around him. Nevertheless,he wrote a number of important essays on political questions, particularlyone discussing the possibility of perpetual peace.
I agree with the general overview of Kant’s theory on Enlightenment. The time when one realizes that his own thinking is the way to truly understand himself and his world, then that is when he is enlightened. But I also agree that it is very hard to do so in a world such as the one like today, especially with advances in technology and the development of careers and professions. Doctors tell us how to diet and a pastor influences our conscience. But as the essay also indicates, I do agree that one must experience this unenlighented stage in order to become enlightened. One must see an illusion in order to know if its real or not.
After 1770 Kant never surrendered the views that sensibility andunderstanding are distinct powers of cognition, that space and time aresubjective forms of human sensibility, and that moral judgments arebased on pure understanding (or reason) alone. But his embrace ofPlatonism in the Inaugural Dissertation was short-lived. He soon deniedthat our understanding is capable of insight into an intelligibleworld, which cleared the path toward his mature position in theCritique of Pure Reason (1781), according to which the understanding(like sensibility) supplies forms that structure our experience of thesensible world, to which human knowledge is limited, while theintelligible (or noumenal) world is strictly unknowable to us. Kantspent a decade working on the Critique of Pure Reason and publishednothing else of significance between 1770 and 1781. But its publicationmarked the beginning of another burst of activity that produced Kant'smost important and enduring works. Because early reviews of theCritique of Pure Reason were few and (in Kant's judgment)uncomprehending, he tried to clarify its main points in the muchshorter Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics That Will Be Able to ComeForward as a Science (1783). Among the major books that rapidlyfollowed are the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785), Kant'smain work on the fundamental principle of morality; the MetaphysicalFoundations of Natural Science (1786), his main work on naturalphilosophy in what scholars call his critical period (1781–1798); thesecond and substantially revised edition of the Critique of Pure Reason(1787); the Critique of Practical Reason (1788), a fuller discussion oftopics in moral philosophy that builds on (and in some ways revises)the Groundwork; and the Critique of the Power of Judgment (1790), whichdeals with aesthetics and teleology. Kant also published a number ofimportant essays in this period, including Idea for a Universal HistoryWith a Cosmopolitan Aim (1784) and Conjectural Beginning of HumanHistory (1786), his main contributions to the philosophy of history; AnAnswer to the Question: What is Enlightenment? (1784), which broachessome of the key ideas of his later political essays; and What Does itMean to Orient Oneself in Thinking? (1786), Kant's intervention in thepantheism controversy that raged in German intellectual circles afterF. H. Jacobi (1743–1819) accused the recently deceased G. E. Lessing(1729–1781) of Spinozism.
Kant On Enlightenment Essay - Kant On Enlightenment Essay
Enlightenment is about thinking for oneself rather than letting othersthink for you, according to What is Enlightenment? (8:35). In thisessay, Kant also expresses the Enlightenment faith in the inevitabilityof progress. A few independent thinkers will gradually inspire abroader cultural movement, which ultimately will lead to greaterfreedom of action and governmental reform. A culture of enlightenmentis “almost inevitable” if only there is “freedom to make public use ofone's reason in all matters” (8:36).
Answering the Question: What is Enlightenment? - Wikipedia
Toward the end of the period, philosophers began to consider exactly what they meant by the term "enlightenment." German philosopher Immanuel Kant offered this definition in his essay "What Is Enlightenment?":
Kant. What is Enlightenment - Columbia University
In the essay "What is Enlightenment?" (or "Answering the Question: What is Enlightenment?"), Kant says that enlightenment is "man's emergence from his self-imposed nonage." This means that enlightenment is a man/woman progressing from a state of self-imposed naivete to a state of autonomous reason. One must have courage to leave behind the naive (nonage - immature or infantile) state to embrace the self-reliant state of an enlightened individual.