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Title: The Moral Inevitability of Enlightenment and the Precariousness of the Moment. Reading Kant's 'What is Enlightenment?'
Authors: Braeckman, Antoon # ×
Issue Date: Dec-2008
Publisher: Review of Metaphysics
Series Title: The review of metaphysics vol:62 issue:2 pages:285-306
Abstract: Kant’s famous essay An answer to the question: What is Enlightenment? has developed into the representative text of philosophical enlightenment in the course of the past two hundred years. Yet most interpretations tend to assign a univocal meaning to Kant’s text that is incompatible with its apparent polysemy. While taking the latter into account, this article wishes to closely investigate Kant’s essay and offer a balanced interpretation of its meaning.
On the basis of this reading, it becomes apparent that we should understand Kant’s historico-philosophical interpretation of the enlightenment process in a normative sense. As a result, the emphasis in the text shifts from a historico-philosophical promise of a totally “Enlightened Age” to a precarious, risky “Age of Enlightenment” which Kant claims to live in. There is ample textual evidence that Kant, who was aware of the precarious nature of the moment, wanted to intervene with this essay by cherishing the hope for a possibility of more enlightenment.
ISSN: 0034-6632
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Centre for Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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