Dr. Gwendolyn Blotevogel
History 102 Western Civilization 2
August 19 2013
What is Enlightenment?
In Kant’s essay he starts out by saying “Enlightenment is man’s release from his self-incurred tutelage”. His view is that man does not think for himself or speak his mind without direction from others. Kant is correct that everyone should think for themselves and be able to have their own views, but with these freedoms we still need to have rules within our society.
Kant believes that the problem with the world is that people do not know how to think for themselves anymore. He thinks that the government and religious leaders, or guardians as he calls them, speak for us and we are not able to make our own desicions. You can see this when he compares people to cattle "After the guardians have first made their domestic cattle dumb and have made sure that these placid creatures will not dare take a single step without the harness of the cart to which they are tethered, the guardians then show them the danger which threatens if they try to go alone". His view on this is somewhat true especially if this is done at a young age. From birth we are taught to believe different things depending on where you grew up. These in the long run impact and change the way we think and live our adult lives. It is ok to absorb knowledge and opinions of others, but as an adult when we take advice from another person we have the option to use it, or not, giving us the freedom to think for ourselves.
He believes that are freedoms have been taken away from us by the guardians and the only way to reach Enlightenment and gain them back is to be free. Kant says "But I hear all sides "Do not argue!" The officer says: "Do not argue but drill!" The tax collector: "Do not argue but pay!" The cleric: "Do not argue but believe!" Only one prince in the world says, "Argue as much as you will, and about what you will, but obey!" Everywhere there is restriction on freedom." He...