PHL217H1 Lecture Notes - Public Reason

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Published on 17 Nov 2011
School
UTSG
Department
Philosophy
Course
PHL217H1
Professor
PHL217H1F Lecture Sep 19th
Topics
Some background considerations
1.) An historically important text, but a minor in Kant’s corpus
- Cf. Critique of Pure Reason A738f/B766f
Reason has no dictatorial authority; reason has authority but not of a dictatorial kind. Its
claim is never more than the agreement of free citizens. Each of these free citizens must
be able to express his/her reservations without holding back.
POPULAR AND ACADEMIC PHILOSOPHY
- Distinction between a broader form of philosophy and a specialized
philosophy. It relates to Kant’s idea of the public use of reason.
FREEDOM OF BELIEF (CONSCIENCE) & FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
- It is seen as wrong to persecute those who want to challenge an opinion.
Freedom of belief also requires freedom of expression; something which is
not obvious.
Kant’s “Enlightenment”
1.) Enlightenment as procedural
- There is no view that enlightenment ends with leading to a revelation.
2.) Enlightenment as individual
- Enlightenment is found in the individual; we often lack the courage to
reason for ourselves. The vices of truth are cowardice and laziness.
3.) From the private to the public pursuit of enlightenment
- It is almost inevitable that the public will enlighten itself. Every individual
should be given the permission to use their reason in all matters.
4.) Intellectual independence via communal dependence – a contradiction?
5.) Public vs. private uses of reason
- Private here does not mean personal; he means so in the sense of privation
which means the lack of freedom to determine one’s own ends. Public
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Document Summary

An historically important text, but a minor in kant"s corpus. Reason has no dictatorial authority; reason has authority but not of a dictatorial kind. Its claim is never more than the agreement of free citizens. Each of these free citizens must be able to express his/her reservations without holding back. Distinction between a broader form of philosophy and a specialized philosophy. It relates to kant"s idea of the public use of reason. Freedom of belief (conscience) & freedom of expression. It is seen as wrong to persecute those who want to challenge an opinion. Freedom of belief also requires freedom of expression; something which is not obvious. There is no view that enlightenment ends with leading to a revelation. Enlightenment is found in the individual; we often lack the courage to reason for ourselves. The vices of truth are cowardice and laziness. From the private to the public pursuit of enlightenment.

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