Natural Conditions of (Kantian) Majority

In Vanessa Brito Emiliano Battista & Jack Fischer (eds.), Becoming Major/Becoming minor. Jan Van Eyck Academie. pp. 25-35 (2011)
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Abstract
The core idea of 'becoming major', as it can be found in Kant's famous essay about the Enlightenment, is the concept of self-legislation or self-governance. Minority is described as a state of dependency on some heteronomous guidance (i.e. church, doctor, or the state), whereas majority is defined by Kant as the ability to guide oneself, using one's own understanding ('Verstand'). These definitions display a deep affinity to central concepts of Kant's philosophy: the autonomy of rational ethics, as it is defended in the second Critique, and the copernican revolution in epistemology, which is the topic of the first Critique. Picking up on these similarities, the text isolates some of the essential conditions for Kant's understanding of an enlightened state of majority. Kant's theoretical works spell out conceptual preconditions for his radical account of self-guidance and gives it a more detailed form. This allows to articulate some of the historical assumptions and theoretical implications of majority which we might have lost out of sight in a time where 'self-management' is a ubiquitous demand.
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