Philosophy In The Enlightenment Era: The Age Of Reason

1288 words - 5 pages

During the 17th and 18th century, there was a movement that begun to put an emphasis on individuality, more specifically, the use of reason. The era of enlightenment saw the replacement of historical traditions, in favor of using reasoning to achieve freedom. Man by nature, desire to know what occurred in the past. History is concerned with narrating concepts and actions. Historicism is a theory that social and cultural occurrences are determined by history. It implies that there are no universal principles, but rather they are determined through social and historical context, which differs based upon cultures and eras. Radical historicism puts an emphasis on self-definition, which results in all other explanations of historicism being found invalid. Through the analysis of the philosophies of Immanuel Kant, Karl Mark, and Fredrich Nietzsche, the relationship between theory and history is proposed. Their philosophies aim to find answers to the issues of society prior to the enlightenment era. History affects enlightenment through the replacement of social and cultural occurrences, in favor of rationality to achiever freedom. Due to this, individuals are able to using their own intuition. Enlightenment poses a threat to individuals, because through the replacement of faith, individuals also disregard intuition. Reason can only be used in areas that will allow it to be accepted, such as in science and politics.
As seen in Kant’s essay, Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment, through certain conditions, individuals are able to enlighten themselves. Enlightenment is defined as man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one’s own understanding without the guidance of another” (Kant, 54). Enlightenment is taught with the purpose for individuals to think for themselves, rather than becoming reliant upon other things. Immanuel Kant defines a moral act as something that is performed without an ulterior motives. It must be purely moral, with no attention to anything else. Good morality can be achieved through enlightenment, which occurs when there is no outside influences that can lead to the possible corruption of oneself. There must be no ulterior motives, and through all this, man is able to gain freedom and rationality of his will. Kant argues that this philosophy can be achieved in society, for it has grown from its immatureness and moved towards a realm of reason. Immaturities in this context are elements that individuals look to for answers, such as God and Nature. Through this dependence on others, man is not able to think on his own, he is not able to use rationality. Enlightenment is achieved with maturity.
Immanuel Kant’s philosophies dictate that enlightenment beings at the top, and trickles down through society. Karl Marx argues the opposite. Karl Marx’s ideologies, as seen in The Communist Manifesto, undermine those of portrayed in Immanuel Kant’s writings. Marx argues that individuals are...

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