One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Enlightenment = Aufklarung

From Wikipedia:

The term "Enlightenment" came into use in English during the mid-18th century,[2] with particular reference to French philosophy, as the equivalent of a term then in use by German writers, Zeitalter der Aufklärung, signifying officially the philosophical outlook of the 18th century. However, the German term Aufklärung was not merely applied retrospectively; it was already the common term by 1784, when Immanuel Kant published his influential essay Answering the Question: What Is Enlightenment?


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First page of Kant's Essay (1799 version)
[Wikimedia Commons]


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A translation of Michel Foucault's essay "What is Enligtenment?" (which I first found years ago in my Foucault Reader) can be found here:


It's worth a read (several reads), but I'll just quote Foucault's final sentence here:

I do not know whether it must be said today that the critical task still entails faith in Enlightenment; I continue to think that this task requires work on our limits, that is, a patient labor giving form to our impatience for liberty.
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