XI KANT KONGRESS, XI Congresso Kantiano Internazionale

Kant’s Enlightenment Ideal and the Concerns of "the Public, i.e. the World at Large"

Liesbet Vanhaute

Edificio: Palazzo dei Congressi
Sala: Auditorium
Data: 26 maggio 2010 - 14:30
Ultima modifica: 13 aprile 2010


To fully understand Kant’s Enlightenment ideal we cannot just stick to his famous description of it as "having the courage to think for oneself". It is misleading to simply identify this notorious plea with Enlightenment. This paper wants to show that Kant’s call for Enlightenment is also an appeal to public and reasonable thinking and that his concept of Enlightenment thus embodies the maxims of sensus communis (which Kant introduced in the "Critique of Judgment"). To demonstrate this, it is necessary to first investigate the relation between sensus communis and common human understanding and the connection between the three maxims of sensus communis. After this has been inquired into, an argument will be presented for the importance of all three maxims of sensus communis in Kant’s conception of Enlightenment. It will thus be denied that only the first maxim ("to think for oneself") is relevant for Enlightenment. The paper will conclude by opposing a possible counter-argument and by presenting an interesting link to Kant’s "cosmopolitan concept of philosophy".