Was ist Aufklärung? Courtesy of Antiquariat Hammerstein, Munich, Germany.Paperback Edition Courtesy Antiquariat Hans Hammerstein, Munich. Germany.

Courtesy of Antiquariat Hammerstein, Munich.



In 1784 Kant answers the question in the first sentence of the essay published in the Berlinische Monatsschrift (Berlin Monthly):



Enlightenment is man’s emergence
from his self-incurred immaturity.


Kant understands the majority of people to be content to follow the guiding institutions of society, such as the Church and the Monarchy, and unable to throw off the yoke of their immaturity due to a lack of resolution to be autonomous. It is difficult for individuals to work their way out of this immature, cowardly life because we are so uncomfortable with the idea of thinking for ourselves. (Wikipedia)

Read in full (Columbia University).