Anja Godo 20130844 9/9/2013 Kant vs.

Twain I think that Kant and Twain are in agreement in what they are saying but they talk about different points of the same argument. Kant talks about how “Enlightening is, man‟s quitting the nonage occasioned by himself” the nonage being a minority or “the inability of making use of one‟s own understanding without the guidance of another”. Twain also alludes the nonage not only as a state of mind but as a community where “man is not independent, and cannot afford views which might interfere with his bread and butter”. Both of the authors refer to this state in which you don‟t think for yourself but instead follow the crowd to be a part of something larger. Kant states that “laziness and cowardice are the causes, why so great a part of mankind, after nature has long freed them from the guidance of others, willingly remain minors as long as they live” and even when it comes the time when they are able to leave the nonage the people that guide them “point out to them the danger that threatens them if they should try to go alone”. Kant focuses on how when you get enlightened you will be alone and this is why it is so hard for people to leave the nonage and even then a “deliverance form personal despotism and interested and tyrannical oppression, may perhaps be obtained by a revolution, but never a true reform of the cast of mind; new prejudices will serve, just as well as the old, for leading-strings to the thoughtless multitude”; he talks about how even after a revolution the nonage will always exist because of the unthinking multitude. However Twain, although he agrees that it is hard to leave the community (nonage for Kant) because “it is our nature to conform; it is a force which not many can successfully resist”, he talks about how you don‟t have to leave the community if you are enlightened if he can

“restrict himself to corn-pone opinions- at least on the surface. He must get his opinions from other people; he must reason our non for himself; he must not have no first-hand views”. So you can be part of the collective mind of the community without actually having to leave it as Kant suggests. Nevertheless for Kant it is best to leave the nonage even though “a few who think for themselves will always be found, even among the installed guardians of the multitude, who after they themselves have thrown off the yoke of nonage, will spread about them the spirit of a rational estimation of the proper value and the vocation of every man to think for himself” because as it is stated before he believes “new prejudices will se rve, just as well as old, for leading-strigs to the thoughtless multitude” and if there is a change “a nation can attain enlightening but slowly. In their arguments both Kant and Twain talk about how the majority of people don-t think for themselves however it is how the people choose to stop thinking that Kant and Twain disagree. Twain believes that people stop thinking for themselves by adopting the thoughts of the people that surround them, “the outside influences are always pouring in upon us, and we are always obeying their orders and accepting their verdicts. The Smiths like the new play; the Joneses go to see it, and they copy the Smith verdict”. Kant believes that there is someone that actually steps in your way to prevent your personal enlighten, “those guardians, who have fraciously undertaken the superintendence of mankind, take sufficient care, that by far the greater part of them (and all the fair) shall hold the step to majority, besides the trouble attending it, very dangerous”. Furthermore one of the arguments that is very different for Kant and Twain is that Twain believes that there is a part in the human nature that seeks self-approval and it is something that you can only get when you are an acceptable member of the community “self-approval is

acquired mainly from the approval of other people” and it is difficult for the people to leave this community because they need to feel valued and feel they are part of something larger than themselves. Kant only refers to the nonage as oppressing the human mind and how it is a force that has “even become agreeable to him and he is for the present actually incapable of using his own understanding because he never was allowed to make the trial”; people in the nonage feel comfortable there and even though it stops their enlighten they actually don‟t know better. Twain goes on to talk about how there are two opinions that exist, the first hand opinion (if you think for yourself) and the corn-pone opinion that can be expressed by self-interest or based on emotions and it is the public opinion which is the voice of the people that “we all do no end of feeling and we mistake it for thinking”. That is why Twain concludes that if you know “whar a man gits his corn pone, en I‟ll tell you what his „pinions is”. Kant and Twain talk about the same occurrences about the passage to maturity and how in the beginning of your life you have to depend on other people to get your knowledge but it comes a time when you can choose whether to follow the opinions of other (corn pone opinion) or make up your own mind (first hand opinion) and although it is difficult it is a choice that you yourself have to make. If you choose to follow others, nothing will change. If you choose to think for yourself you can either pretend you don‟t and be a part of the community and try to change it (even though it is a slow process and the nonage might always exist) or you can leave the nonage and be enlightened. For both arguments there are struggles you have to face in order to be enlightened either people‟s opinions (Twain) or the guardians that will stop you by creating commodities and blowing out of proportion the dangers of becoming enlightened (Kant).