Rejection of Nonage

Unit One described and introduced several historical perspectives, concepts, theories, and elements of sociological change. While many philosophical ideals throughout history support the concept of free-thinking, as noticed during the European Renaissance, Immanuel Kant’s essay, “What is Enlightenment” serves as the epitome for this concept. He describes Enlightenment as “man’s emergence from his self-imposed nonage” (1).

The term nonage refers to immaturity or youth. Thus in this instance, Kant refers to “nonage” as a type of thinking evolved from ones youth. This youthful type of thinking, wherein a person is unable to process information without the reliance of another, is described by Kant as “comfortable”, as a person exerts less energy thinking and solving complex problems. This type of concept can be viewed through groups as well, however, as noted through pinnacle changes in world history. It is the very essence of rejecting “one’s self-imposed nonage” which precipitated most of the philosophical ideals throughout time.

There are several examples of intellectual and social progress resulting from a distrust of one’s nonage. In other words, typically the most pivotal moments in history have occurred when one has relied on his or her own interpretation of the world rather than synchronizing one’s opinions with his or her peers. Arguably, Emile Durkeim’s “The Rules of Sociological Method” can be viewed as the most impactful publication on how Sociology is viewed today. Durkeim argued for the classification of Sociology as an independent science, separate from the natural sciences such as chemistry, however similar, in that they both have an objective goal or fact to study. In rejecting his nonage, Durkheim proved Sociology as a science as evident by its structured method of seeking facts about the way people interact amongst each other, which he identified as “social facts”.