Kant believes that in order for a person to grasp the understanding of any given situation, they must free themselves from their own “self-imposed immaturity.” He thinks enlightenment is when a person blossoms into their own thinking instead of relying on the thinking or the decision making of others. It is the maturity in believing in one`s self, their thinking, and the empowerment to make decision based on one’s reasoning, not what was taught or is expected, that allow for a person to be enlightened. Private and public reasoning are vehicles to enlightenment in which the decision making process varies depending on the individual’s role in society and the situation at hand. According to Kant, “[he] call the private use of reason that which a person may make in a civic post or office that has been entrusted to him.”
Kant private use of reasoning suggest that through one’s understanding of protocols and procedures that are written by society or a specific job description that limits your personal input or thoughts which helps to get to enlightenment . In other words, a person of authority has the obligation to fulfill their duties in compliance with the rules of his or her establishment without disagreement. For example, when an officer has to make a decision to arrest someone for breaking the law, his action for making that arrest is not up to his judgment based on his morals, but whether or not the law was broken by that individual. Abuse of private use of reason can lead to disastrous consequences according Kant.
On the other hand, public use of reasoning is the ability to express one’s self freely without reservations or others perspective. Kant argues that public reason is reason that anyone makes in a “civic post or office” that is “entrusted to him” before the “entire literate world.” When likeminded people communicate with each other, conversation is clear-cut since the dialogue is similar. Over explanation is not necessary and scholars freely speak without validation or justification for their reasoning which can eventually lead to enlightenment among others.