Paper 1 S p r i n g 200 9 PST3127 Prof. Klein False consciousness: self-incurred or imposed? Kant defines enlightenment as “release from self-incurred tutelage.” That definition seems to put the blame on the individual for confused or self-defeating thinking (what we generally refer to as “false consciousness.”) Yet many writers on this topic argue that false consciousness is imposed on individuals. Those writers focus on the ways that our minds and our thoughts are shaped by society. For instance, John de Graaf notes that affluenza is socially-transmitted, Plato portrays individuals as bound in chains, Toqueville argues that democratic society shapes men’s thinking, and Huxley describes various conditioning techniques. On the other hand, those same writers generally argue that individuals have the power to set themselves free. Kant claims that only a lack of courage holds people down. For this paper you should examine at least four authors
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