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SOC203H1 Lecture Notes - Ruling Class, The German Ideology, Antonio Gramsci

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March 4th, 2013
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
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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
- 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 ones understanding without the
guidance from another
immaturity is self-imposed when it is caused by lack of resolved
have courage to use your own understanding
laziness is the reason why so great proportion of men remain life-
long immaturity
3. Public opinion
- 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
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
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