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Public Sphere in Theory and Practice

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  1. Public Sphere in Theory and Practice

  2. Kant & Rationality “Enlightenment is man’s release from his self-incurred tutelage. Tutelage is man’s inability to make use of his understanding without direction from another. It is self-incurred when its cause lies not in lack of understanding but in lack of resolution and courage to use it without direction from another. Sapereaude! ‘Have courage to exercise your own understanding!’ – that is the motto of the Enlightenment” (30). “Nothing is required for this enlightenment, however, except freedom; and the freedom in question is the least harmful of all, namely, the freedom to use reason publicly in all matters.”

  3. Burke & Sentimentality • “ France has always more or less influenced manners in England; and when your fountain is choked up and polluted, the stream will not run long, or not run clear, with us, or perhaps with any nation. This gives all Europe, in my opinion, but too close and connected a concern in what is done in France. Excuse me, therefore, if I have dwelt too long on the atrocious spectacle of the 6th of October, 1789, or have given too much scope to the reflections which have arisen in my mind on occasion of the most important of all revolutions, which may be dated from that day, I mean a revolution in sentiments, manners, and moral opinions.” • But the age of chivalry is gone; that of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded, and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever. Never, never more, shall we behold that generous loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart, which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom! The unbought grace of life, the cheap defense of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise is gone. It is gone, that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honor, which felt a stain like a wound, which inspired courage whilst it mitigated ferocity, which ennobled whatever it touched, and under which vice itself lost half its evil, by losing all its grossness.”

  4. Theory v. Practice • Mr. Spectator • The Republic of Letters • Grub Street • “Historians have pointed out that the books most widely read in the Enlightenment were often written by men and women whose names are never mentioned in the canon of great Enlightenment thinkers” (Outram 19) • “These were professional writers for a commercial market in the written word, turning out to order books and pamphlets on subjects ranging from political scandal to pornography, to newspaper articles . . . It was these writers, rather than the elite such as Diderot and Voltaire, who produced the bulk of what was actually happening in the Enlightenment” (Outram 19).

  5. Thesis The ideal of the public sphere (and thus the ideal of the Enlightenment) won’t be reached by Kant’s model of pure rationality because • it’s exclusionary • it’s too theoretical

  6. Sentiment in Abolitionist Texts still in thought as free as ever, what are England’s rights, I ask, me from my delights to sever, me to torture, me to task? fleecy locks and black complexion cannot forfeit Nature’s claim; skins may differ, but affection dwells in white and black the same the Negro’s complaint They still are men, and men should still be free. Insulted reason loathes th’ inverted trade – loathes, as she views the human purchase made; the outraged goddess, with abhorrent eyes, sees man the traffic, souls the merchandise! the slave trade

  7. Modern Application: The Internet • Internet value comes largely from user population • Facebook vs. Google+ • Sites that attempt a purely rational dialogue often don’t have a lot of active participants. • group: Classroom 2.0 • groups • More beneficial to integrate significant issues with popularized (sentimental) forms and sites. • “Hitler reacts to SOPA” video • Gets more people involved; gateway to more involved conversation.