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Anne Deneys Tunney

Université de New York, États-Unis
Mésaventures de l'universel dans le roman à l'âge des Lumières
16 May 2011 -
15 July 2011

When Kant answers to the question “What is the Enlightenment ?” in his short text published in 1784, he defines for a posterity which we still belong too, a certain idea or definition of the Enlightenment. This idea can be summarized as follows – if we limit ourselves to this text – an infinite confidence in the possibilities of human understanding.
This definition of the Enlightenment is in fact, as it has often been said, more complex that its seems at first. In fact this
definition is also based on The Critique of Pure Reason (1781) – which is essentially a “deconstruction” of the concepts of
metaphysical reason – in which Kant shows the limits of the power of knowledge. But in his text on the Enlightenment, Kant seems to claim total confidence in reason, in the power of human understanding, which, according to his famous formula, would have reached its “majority” “sapere aude!” Dare to know. Have the courage to use your own understanding, this is the motto of the Enlightenment. Human understanding is supposed to have reached through the Enlightenment a new autonomy in the entirety of its production, in philosophy, ethics, politics and even religion. My project is to reinterpret the Enlightenment in the light of Kant’s definition, as an attempt to assert and question reason’s infinite and universal power.

Workshop organized by Anne Deneys-Tunney (Paris IAS fellow) and Jean-Charles Darmon (UVSQ)
15 Jan 2010 09:30 -
15 Jan 2010 18:00,
Paris :
Croisements Littérature / Philosophie : Nouvelles perspectives critiques

Modern period (1492-1789)