Philosophy in the Enlightenment Era: The Age of Reason

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During the 17th and 18th century, there was a movement that begun to put an emphasis on individuality, more specifically, the use of reason. The era of enlightenment saw the replacement of historical traditions, in favor of using reasoning to achieve freedom. Man by nature, desire to know what occurred in the past. History is concerned with narrating concepts and actions. Historicism is a theory that social and cultural occurrences are determined by history. It implies that there are no universal principles, but rather they are determined through social and historical context, which differs based upon cultures and eras. Radical historicism puts an emphasis on self-definition, which results in all other explanations of historicism being found invalid. Through the analysis of the philosophies of Immanuel Kant, Karl Mark, and Fredrich Nietzsche, the relationship between theory and history is proposed. Their philosophies aim to find answers to the issues of society prior to the enlightenment era. History affects enlightenment through the replacement of social and cultural occurrences, in favor of rationality to achiever freedom. Due to this, individuals are able to using their own intuition. Enlightenment poses a threat to individuals, because through the replacement of faith, individuals also disregard intuition. Reason can only be used in areas that will allow it to be accepted, such as in science and politics. As seen in Kant’s essay, Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment, through certain conditions, individuals are able to enlighten themselves. Enlightenment is defined as man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one’s own understanding without the guidance of another” (Kant, 5... ... middle of paper ... ...have aided in defining society and human nature. Enlightenment poses a threat to individuals, because through the replacement of faith, individuals also disregard intuition. Enlightenment is not bad, and it is possible for an individual to become enlightened, but there needs to be a level of care towards the influences that it comes with. Works Cited Kant, Political Writings, Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought, edited by Hans Reiss and Translated by H.B. Nisbet, 2nd Enlarged Edition, (Cambridge University Press; Cambridge) 1991 The Marx Engels Reader, Second Edition by Robert C. Tucker (W.W. Norton and Company, New York) 1978, ISBN 9780393090406 Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality, Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought, edited by Keith AnsellQPearson, (Cambridge University Press; Cambridge) 1994, ISBN 9780521691655

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