[SOLVED] From Kant: What is Enlightenment

[SOLVED] From Kant: What is Enlightenment

Gothic Authors and The Enlightenment

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(Keeping with our goal to develop academic mindfulness in this class, I encourage you to use a brief mindful breathing practice before you get started with this activity)

Gothic Authors and The Enlightenment (Links to an external site.)Gothic Authors and The Enlightenment


From Kant: What is Enlightenment? (1784)

“Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one’s understanding without guidance from another. This immaturity is self-imposed when its cause lies not in lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without guidance from another. Sapere Aude! [dare to know] ‘Have courage to use your own understanding!’ – that is the motto of enlightenment.”
Many gothic authors would have seen themselves as a part of the enlightenment; the genre even grows in popularity as the enlightenment is reaching its peak in the mid 1800s. The metaphor of the enlightenment is is about brightening the human mind, shining a light on reason, understanding, and science. But as you know, any time you turn on a light in a dark room, you will also cast some shadows. That’s where gothic authors come in. They are interested in that darkness and they believe the enlightenment is incomplete – there are also darker things in the human experience. If the enlightenment wanted to perfect the human mind, the gothic authors ask, “Then what does that mean for madness? What does it mean for dreaming? For all the irrational impulses we feel?”
Your task for this discussion thread is to post 2-3 brief comments (make sure at least one of your comments is a response to a peer’s post). Your question to answer: How do you think gothic literature examines the inverse of some of these Leading Doctrines of the Enlightenment? What are the opposites to some of these doctrines that we’ll most likely find in the pages of gothic texts? Can you think of some gothic texts or even modern examples in the Horror genre that show some of these responses to the enlightenment?

Leading Doctrines of The Enlightenment:

  • Natural goodness of human beings
  • Perfectibility of human race
  • Emphasis on reason (beliefs to be accepted on that basis – which leads to Deism, then atheism).
  • Equality before the law and the right to individual liberty
  • Tolerance
  • Universal brotherhood of all rational beings
  • Science / progress

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