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Immanuel Kant Vs Foucault

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This piece will begin with the immortal words of Immanuel Kant: “Reason does not work instinctively, but requires trial, practice, and instruction in order to gradually progress from one level of insight to another”. The definition of reason according to Immanuel Kant is that it is a wave, a never ending influence that is continually constructing and improving previous perceptions on knowledge. When referring to the Enlightenment in the following piece, the time period that involved a massive intellectual and rational movement that took Europe by storm in the 18th century is to be considered. Both essays written by Immanuel Kant, the 18th century German philosopher, and Michel Foucault, the 20th century French philosopher, titled An answer…show more content…
In order to prove this case, I will take the works of Michel Foucault into consideration. Foucault says that before the arrival of Kant to the world of philosophy, reflection on the present had taken three forms. The first form is that the present can be represented as being part of a distinct time period of the world, which is separate from time periods, due to some specific event. The second form of present day reflection is that the present can be used to find signs of upcoming event within itself. The final reflection form is that the present is a sort of transition to the beginning of a new time. In Kant’s essay, the way he poses the question ‘what is Enlightenment?’ is neither a separate time period to which an individual belongs, signs of an incident to occur, or the start of a new time. It is rather an “Ausgang”, a ‘way out’ of the aforementioned ‘minority’. ‘Minority’ in Kant’s piece is used here as ‘immaturity’, to explain the dependence on a separate individual to direct us where to use reason. Foucault also describes the ‘way out’ as the process that frees a person from the state of…show more content…
By observing the Age of Enlightenment, we can see the influence of the added application of reason that was used to free cities from the historically pressed ‘minority’ ordeal. Countless scientific breakthroughs occurred and many new ideas were formulated as a result of individuals making use of their own reason without direction from someone else, all in a matter of a few years. The influence of the Enlightenment thinking is shown by Foucault to have travelled much further than its time period; influencing recent thought processes such as the modernist movement. Therefore, it can be said that the Enlightenment can be considered the age of reason because, for the first time, numerous individuals were able to reason for themselves by the loosening of the grip of minority and as a result, the root of many modern concepts and ideas as well as modes of thinking are found in this precise point of
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