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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.

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Frederick ii 1712 1786
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 1724 1804
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.”



Gotthold ephraim lessing 1729 1781
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
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
Enlightenment DebateThe 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
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?