What Is Enlightenment?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The first page of the 1799 edition

"Answering the Question: What Is Enlightenment?" (German: Beantwortung der Frage: Was ist Aufklärung?), often referred to simply as "What Is Enlightenment?", is a 1784 essay by the philosopher Immanuel Kant. In the December 1784 publication of the Berlinische Monatsschrift (Berlin Monthly), edited by Friedrich Gedike and Johann Erich Biester, Kant replied to the question posed a year earlier by the Reverend Johann Friedrich Zöllner [de], who was also an official in the Prussian government. Zöllner's question was addressed to a broad intellectual public community, in reply to Biester's essay titled "Proposal, not to engage the clergy any longer when marriages are conducted" (April 1783). A number of leading intellectuals replied with essays, of which Kant's is the most famous and has had the most impact. Kant's opening paragraph of the essay is a much-cited definition of a lack of enlightenment as people's inability to think for themselves due not to their lack of intellect, but lack of courage.[1][2][3][4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Foucault, Michel (1984). "What is Enlightenment?". The Foucault Reader. New York: Pantheon Books. pp. 32–50. ISBN 0394529049. OCLC 10021125.
  2. ^ Schmidt, James, ed. (1996). What is Enlightenment?: Eighteenth-Century Answers and Twentieth-Century Questions. Philosophical Traditions. Vol. 7. Berkeley: University of California Press. doi:10.1525/9780520916890. ISBN 0520202252. JSTOR 10.1525/j.ctt4cgf8z. OCLC 33664863.
  3. ^ Fleischacker, Samuel (2013). What is Enlightenment?. Kant's Questions. London; New York: Routledge. doi:10.4324/9780203070468. ISBN 9780415486064. OCLC 607983318.
  4. ^ Harpham, Geoffrey Galt (1994). "So... What is Enlightenment? An Inquisition into Modernity". Critical Inquiry. 20 (3): 524–556. doi:10.1086/448724. JSTOR 1343868.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]