Enlightenment Reloaded: How to Become Better as Individuals and Humankind?

  • Abstract:

    Technologies are changing fast and they are changing our mind. Our globalized and digitized world confronts us with challenging problems in historical new dimensions. They are asking for decisions daily: in private, job-related or political situations. And these decisions made by individuals have influence on the development of humankind in general. To control our possibilities and be not controlled by them, there is a need for orientation in our decisions. Our information increases, but at the same time the fundament of our judgements gets shaky. We need something robust, to rely on. Something which is truly human and therefore connects our individual purposes with a regulative idea giving direction for human development. Maybe something like the causality of freedom Kant developed in his critical philosophy to face the insights and oversights of the first enlightenment. This talk addresses the following questions: 1. How can the look in the 18th century especially into the philosophy of Kant give orientation for our 21th century problems? 2. What means the concept of freedom and why is it connected to morality? 3. How can we try to promote enlightenment and therefore moral progress? With Kant, who was an academic teacher for more than 40 years and also a philosopher-educator of the enlightenment which was going on in Prussia in the 18th century, my attempt is to show how we can do our best to teach freedom. If you are interested in the question how we as humans can become better, you are invited to re-think Kant’s thoughts on morality and to find helpful equipment for your autonomous thinking to re-ask the big questions in the new contexts of our days.