An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment? (1784)
Immanuel Kant claimed that the 'enlightenment is man's [women's] emergence from his [her] self-imposed immaturity'. By immaturity he meant 'the inablitity to use one's understanding without guidance from another'. According to Kant, this immaturity was self-imposed and its 'cause lies not in the lack of understanding, but in the lack of resolve and courage to use it without guidance from another'.
And confronting his readers with what is characterized as the motto of the Enlightenment – Sapere Aude or Dare to Know – he challenged them to use their understanding. Today, when the precautionary principle constantly communicates the prejudice that science threatens to run ahead of society, and that those mounting experiments are 'playing god', daring to know is often represented as an act of irresponsibility. Kant would have been perplexed by contemporary society's uneasy relationship with science and knowledge...
Translation/interpretation by Frank Furedi, Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent; [...] interlocation by Tom Ernsing.
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