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Kant’s Enlightenment and Women’s Peculiar Immaturity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 February 2021

Charlotte Sabourin
Affiliation:
University of British Columbia
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Abstract

In ‘What is Enlightenment?’, Kant claims that no women are currently enlightened. Here I argue that this exclusion is due to certain legal restrictions guiding Kant’s conception of enlightenment. As enlightenment is intended to take place in society, it appears that Kant has a specific legal context in mind that affects its enactment. His twofold conception of citizenship and the dimension of subordination he puts forward by restricting the private use of reason will prove useful in clarifying those legal restrictions. It thus seems unlikely that Kant intended women to take an active part in enlightenment.

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© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Kantian Review

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