Kant 's Views On The Enlightenment And Modernity

923 Words Mar 4th, 2015 4 Pages
The thinkers I have chosen to answer this essay question are J.J. Rousseau and I. Kant. Both thinkers agreed that the Enlightenment would change society as they knew it, that it would allow the human being to develop, both individually and socially. I will consider both thinker’s attitudes as regards to the Enlightenment and Modernity, the individual, and finally to the individual’s responsibility in helping humanity progress towards a peaceful international community.
The Enlightenment is the social and cultural period that brought about European Modernity, extending from the last decades of the 17th Century until late 18th Century. Europe was undergoing through times of progress, both scientific and social. It was the age of the Scientific Revolution initiated by Newton, capitalism was emerging as a result of the Industrial Revolution and colonialism, and new democratic ideas were developed by enlightened thinkers (i.e. Diderot or Voltaire). At the same time, the period was strongly influenced by the prevalence of reason; everyone should be free to think for themselves rather than depend on people from higher ranks. With the development of reason and individual freedom, there was the possibility of improving society as it was known.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) was a Swiss philosopher and political theorist, whose ideas inspired leaders of the French Revolution as well as other modern thinkers as Kant and Goethe. Rousseau’s ideas were influenced by Hobbes…

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