Aufklärung coffee break

As I entered the common room, Sinistre and Antisophie exchanged glances with me, while conversing on the recent issues of the day. They greeted me, and we exchanged our standard pleantries. They knew that when the three of us are together, we begin a conversation, always challenging, always provoking, always troubling.

Sinistre: Young Magister, to what must I owe you this pleasure, you have been in hard exegesis for a long few days. Your steel is formed through this. You shall cut your teeth with the exegetical efforts you have; but remember this, exegesis is the study of that which is dead; you are alive, and you must contribute, if you are a genuine man of the Aufklärung age.

Michael: This is no age of enlightenment, Sinistre. We failed as the community of persons to make this world come true. THere is more to reason than politics alone.

Antisophie: Of course, Magister. So then, what is this project of reason that we must aspire pretence to?

Michael: Miss Antisophie; your use of ‘pretence’ is not recieved well by me. I pretend nothing. I may aspire, but never pretend. The realms of our understanding is a chartered account of what we know. If we can create such a chart of our knowability; what kind of propositions do we address?

Sinistre: Metaphysics, epistemology-

Michael: Think wider, Magisters…

Antisophie: Ethics, politics, normativity?

Michael: I see how you both focus on disparate areas of the domain of reasonable understanding; you, Sinistre, speak of the world of experience, the world of nature, the world of principled cognition. Where, you, Antisophie, speak of the world of people; of communities, and our actions. Very good. Is there a unity to these two domains, that they are not disparate?

Sinistre: It is an intuitive desideratum for us to construe the application of the word rational to apply to both theoretical cognitive processes, and our practical reasoning, yes. That is normal use of our language.

Michael: Kant wrote centuries ago, Master Sinistre. Much more we know that diversifies our programme.

Sinistre: You mean like the developments in mathematics and physical sciences?

Michael: Yes, for metaphysics

Antisophie: What of our social condition? We now think of women, the oppressed, the small-in-number ruled by the powerful-in-force.

Michael: Yes, for society, and morality

Sinistre: There seems, to be a disjunction, or a commensurability project, between the social sciences and natural science.

Michael: Master Kant talked of the disjunction between theoretical cognition and practical reasoning, is this the same?

Antisophie: NO, fool! The social sciences subsume BOTH methodological, epistemological, rationality and ethical issues!

Michael: Is that the golden bullet we use for the unity of reason?

Sinistre: Only….if we show they are in continuum…

 And so, we continued to talk; we, together though of the unity principle in Kant; what is it that makes our cognition of all propositions fall into the same subject. We strive to find the unity of reason…we strive to make the enlightenment again…we areopagites, long for the future of reason. To promote the kingdom of ends, and for the rightful rulers to be in place.

Too much to ask, Antisophie believes, Sinistre is content either way. But it was that young boy’s dream, and his only way out of the darkness. We exist for him….the one whom we cannot name, whose abilities put us to shame.



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