Kant and the Culture of Enlightenment
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: State University of New York Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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I would also like to thank Stephen Houlgate, Bob Stern, and my colleagues at APU for their support, Onora O’Neill for making available to me some of her unpublished papers, Stephen Mulhall and Tom Baldwin for their encouragement during the early stages of this project, and the students at York, Essex, and APU, where I taught some of the...
Note on the Texts Used
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Introduction: A Critical Answer to the Question, What Is Enlightenment?
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This book presents an argument about Kant that can also be read as an interpretation of a particular Enlightenment project. Kant’s philosophy belongs to an intellectual context in which the meaning, orientation, and possible limits of “enlightenment” were the subject of intense debate. Kant sought to answer the increasingly pressing questions...
Chapter 1. The Enlightenment in Question
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One of the difficulties encountered when reflecting about the Enlightenment is to determine first of all what the object is. This is not just a demand for geographical and historical precision, but also, importantly, for identifying the set of ideas under discussion, the content so to speak of the term. But therein lies the difficulty...
Chapter 2. The Idea of a Culture of Enlightenment
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Kant’s essay “An Answer to the Question, What Is Enlightenment?” is often read as a loosely argued manifesto that defends the “original imperative” of the freedom of thought.1 My aim in this chapter is to show that Kant does much more in this short essay than merely restate this familiar Enlightenment topos. What he undertakes is nothing less...
Chapter 3. Culture as a Historical Project
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The ideal of rational autonomy spelled out in Kant’s argument concerning a public use of reason opens up a unique perspective on existing social practices of communication and participation in public argument, for these are both presupposed and viewed as in the process of developing. When Kant states that we do not “at present live in an...
Chapter 4. Nature and the Criticism of Culture
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In the concluding paragraph of his essay on “Perpetual Peace,” Kant points at encouraging signs of political progress, arguing that “as solutions are gradually found,” the task of promoting justice and peace “constantly draws nearer fulfilment” (VIII:386, PP 130). In 1795, the same year in which this essay first appeared, Schiller published...
Chapter 5. Culture after Enlightenment
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“In what darkness has our daylight sunk.”1 Herder uses this phrase from Lucanus’s Pharsalia to warn his contemporaries against viewing enlightenment uncritically as the summum of human achievement and aspiration. He alerts his readers to the darker incarnations of the ideals of sociability, tolerance, and intellectual independence: superficiality...
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Page Count: 260
Publication Year: 2005
Series Title: SUNY Series in Philosophy (discontinued)