SHS Web Conf.
Volume 161, 202312th Kant-Readings International Conference “Kant and the Ethics of Enlightenment: Historical Roots and Contemporary Relevance”
|Number of page(s)||8|
|Section||Enlightenment, Politics and Education|
|Published online||08 March 2023|
Kant on free thinking and its boundaries
Moscow Aviation Institute (National Research University), Department of Philosophy, 4 Volokolamskoe shosse, 125993 Moscow, Russia
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
The concept of “free thinking” in the context of Kant’s philosophy presents a theoretical and practical problem. Kant applies the concept of freedom primarily to practical reason and moral philosophy, but elements of freedom (in thinking) can be identified in other sections of his teaching. Free thinking, according to Kant, can be interpreted as thinking activity conducted in the absence of any prerequisites, utmost unboundedness and independence, but having definite boundaries in various areas. The analysis of this ambivalence of free thinking is carried out in such sections of Kant’s teaching as theoretical knowledge, the area of everyday thinking, the social field and the work of artistic genius. One of the tendencies revealed as a result of this analysis is Kant’s desire to postulate the unconditionality of the freedom of thought in different areas, and then to formulate minimum constraints on it. Thus, while proclaiming unlimited freedom “to use his mind and speak on his own behalf” in the social sphere, Kant admits only two restrictive principles: the requirement of scientific knowledge and the presence of goodwill. The most important component of free thinking in the teachings of Kant is the principle of sapere aude, which acts as the trigger-mechanism and the foundation of free thinking, as well as the evidence for its sociality and non-mechanistic nature. Research shows that, through the concept of free thinking, Kant implicitly formulates the ideal of free thinking, which manifests historical continuation and has lasting value.
Key words: freedom / Enlightenment / sapere aude / ideal of free thinking
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2023
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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