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University of Toronto St. George

March 4 , 2013 AUTHORITYAND PUBLIC OPINION 1. Enlightenment  a time: - roughly 1700s in period in Western Europe with the centers of enlightenment being associated with Paris, London, etc - the time of increasing skepticism towards received ideas (religious ideas, the idea that ability is superior to other classes of society) - enlightenment is partly product of process of reformation  in the 1500s, there was a great way movement of Catholic church  although there was a religious movement which nonetheless had the implications for non religious ways of thinkers Why???  encouraged the believers to communicate directly with god through the text, the bible  process of reformation can be seen as an anti-institutional reaction which puts great emphasis on individual faith, individual interpretation of the bible, individual accountability to god thereby moving the influence of Roman Catholic church  individualism which resulted from process of reformation is seen as leading into enlightenment because the process of reformation partly shift the way the authority rules the Roman Catholic church but great emphasis on individual understanding, individual reflection in this case, the bible - scientific revolution in 1600s:  formalization of scientific methods  increasing emphasis on evidence instead of deducting ideas trying to explain how natural phenomena works - intellectual movements:  which place emphasis on reason  emensatory (liberating) capacity of reason  to apply reason individually is to free oneself from superstition, from bias, from ignorance - societal level:  the idea that institutions under which we lived were designed in accord with reason, societies that function better  a process: - enlightenment refers to intellectual movement consisting of thinkers who trust to reason, believed that reason is valued to be protected and continue to believe that reason has emensatory potential that reason can liberate  e.g. we apply reason in the world… environmental degradation is held up as argument against enlightenment thinkers  e.g. bureaucrization: rational planning of work, of administration lead to form alienation 2. “What is Enlightenment?” by Immanuel Kant (1784) (1724-1804) - There was a essay writing competition and the task was to answer this question - Kan treats Persian who is unenlightened as a child, someone who never grew up  He argued that if one is not enlightened, not reached the adulthood, he is going to think about how a child is subject to the authority of other people, parents in particular  It is very difficult to grow up intellectually, to think of yourself on your on - Passages  Enlightenment is emergence of self imposed immaturity  Immaturity is inability to use one’s understanding without the guidance from another  immaturity is self-imposed when it is caused by lack of resolved encourage  have courage to use your own understanding  laziness is the reason why so great proportion of men remain life- long immaturity 3. Public opinion  definition - kind of info that polling firm produces when it surveys individuals - public opinion emerges when the public is really able to debate freely - it takes places in interaction among groups of people who are able to debate freely about the matters of interest  institutional locations - states (prime minister, courts, military, police) public realm - civil society (economic organizations (religious organizations), family private realm - when Kant talks about institutions which provide individuals with the opportunity to achieve certain amount of enlightenment (free use of reasons), public is referring to institutions of civil society but there is one exception  parliament is an exception because individuals come together to vigorously discuss the matter of interest (defending arguments, criticizing, persuading each other),  the ideal being in the end the idea that prevails in the parliament is the strongest argument that one enjoys the census  P is vital institution of public debate public realm states parliament Civil society private realm - Kant was attaching authority of priest, military, medical profession… - The problem for K is that a monarchical rule could deviate very far from reason without there being any controls  A monarch could rule according to their own will, their own conception of what they wanted if it might accord with best interest of realm or it might not, it didn’t matter because there were no checks on the mark  K is arguing for the substitutional will, the will of
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