Kantian Enlightenment through Kafka's Colony

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Of the many intellectuals who have offered answers to questions of morality, freewill, and enlightenment, Immanuel Kant is one of the most challenging and intriguing. His writings have been used as the basis for analysis of contemporary writings of every age since first they were conceived and published. Benjamin's views on law, the ethics of J. K. Rowling, race studies, and basic modern morality have all been discussed through the use of Kant's philosophical framework. (Gray, Mack, Newton, Wolosky)
Through Franz Kafka's short story, “In the Penal Colony,” I intend to expand this discussion to include maturity as it relates to enlightenment via Kant's essay “An Answer to the Question 'What is Enlightenment?'” In which Kant describes two kinds of enlightenment which I define as “personal enlightenment” (that which occurs at the level of the individual) and “greater enlightenment” (that which occurs at the level of society or community).
To begin this discussion on mortality, it is necessary to define the moral context. Therefore, for the purposes of this essay, I define the act of regularly torturing people to death without due judicial process as an affront on general morality. Discussions of Kant's views on free will would suggest that this is because taking a person's life deprives them of their free will (Newton). The act of torture, which, by definition, is an activity which the participant does not wish to engage in, also deprives a person of free will. The act of ending a person's life also deprives society of further contributions from that person which is a key element of greater enlightenment. The lack of due judicial process is more ambiguous and is not the major subject of this essay.
That is one end of the moral spe...

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