What is Enlightenment? Emmanuel Kant

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In his essay writing “What is Enlightenment?” Immanuel Kant defines enlightenment as “man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity” (Kant, 1). In order for us to completely understand this definition, we must first understand what Kant meant by “Immaturity”. In the writing Kant defines immaturity as “the inability to use one’s understanding without the guidance from another”(Kant, 1). Furthermore, Kant believes that this immaturity is self-imposed, and that it is the individual’s fault for lacking the courage and resolve to think for themselves, but instead pay others to think and understand for them. I substantially agree with this idea, however, his remarks on immaturity in relation to the government, the way people should live, and …show more content…
Furthermore, in the text he mentions “Nothing is required for this enlightenment, however, except freedom; and the freedom in question is the least harmful of all, namely, the freedom to use reason publicly in all matters”(Kant, 2). What Kant tries to explain in this writing is that people need to exercise their reason in public stages/arena’s such as public debating without the “guardians” interference. They should be able to debate with each other in complete freedom, without censorship. I agree with Kant that to achieve enlightenment we have to first achieve freedom. But to achieve enlightenment to me is to be able to think freely, be healthy, and to be wise. Just thinking freely can get you to enlightenment Kant claims. However, without health how can one think when something troubles him, or he is ill. Without wisdom how can one expect to speak knowledgeable about a topic?

Kant believes that the public use of ones reason “must always be free” and that public reason is reason that “anyone as a scholar” makes before the “literate world” (Kant, 2). Private reason he mentions is the use of reason that a person can make in what he called a civic office or a civil post. He believed that public reason is free and that private reason had restrictions because there was a need to keep social, and public order. In the private realm, Kant believed, we are supposed to strictly follow guidelines of the civic post that we are currently