Frederick II. Frederick II (1712-1786) F. the Great or Old Fritz King of Prussia 1740-1786 Enabled rise of Prussia with the help of military victories Enlightened absolutism Major reforms in economic, legal, administrative, agricultural, and military sectors Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) Author of 3 critiques (Pure Reason, Practical Reason, and Judgment) Knowledge becomes part of critique Categorical Imperative: “Act in such a way that the underlying principle of your will could also at any time serve as general law.” G.E. Lessing Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781) Theatrical director in Hamburg Most prominent writer of German enlightenment (plays, pamphlets, essays) Minna of Barnhelm Laokoön Hamburgische Dramaturgie Enlightenment Concepts Act according to reason (Sapere aude!) Logical reasoning inherent to human being Progress, tolerance, equality, freedom of the individual Accumulation of knowledge, rather than formation of emotion and character Denigration of religion in favor of intellectualism Enlightenment Debate The Berlin Wednesday Society J.K.W. Möhsen (1722-1795); “What is to be done toward the Enlightenment of the Citizenry?” (1783) Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786); “On the Question: What is Enlightenment?” (1784) Kant essay (1784) K.L. Reinhold (1758-1823); “Thoughts on Enlightenment” (1784) C.M. Wieland (1733-1813); “A Couple of Gold Nuggets from the… Wastepaper, or Six Answers to Six Questions” (1789) Initial Questions (Wieland) What is enlightenment? Over which objects can and must it extend itself? Where are its limits? What are the safe means through which it is advanced? Who is authorized to enlighten humanity? By what consequences does one recognize its truth?