When Reason Began to Stir… —Kantian Courage and the Enlightenment

Joël Madore (Editor Invitado / Guest Editor)

Resumen


In his answer to the question “What is Enlightenment?”, Kant argues that we must have the courage to use our own reason and imputes failure to do so on laziness and cowardice. Why exactly does the call for emancipation require resolve? This paper follows Foucault in defining Enlightenment as a modern ethos that adopts the ephemeral as a way of being. Contrary to the French philosopher, however, we argue that this permanent critique of oneself and of the world creates a void that leaves us trembling before nothingness. If Enlightenment requires courage, then, it is precisely to urge us to remain steadfast in the practice of freedom and to not shy away from the dangers it imposes. Courage, in short, is resolve before the abyss of freedom. Too long have we confined Kant to an ossified, rationalistic framework, thankfully impervious to human anguish for some, regretfully incapable of it for others. If anything, this paper wants to uncover the deep, existential tones of his conclusions on modernity, and it will do so through an examination of his account of courage.

Palabras clave


Kant; Enlightenment; Courage; Foucault; Baudelaire; Despair; Freedom; Modernity

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Referencias


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