The Fifth Antinomy: A Reading of Torture for a Post-Kantian Moral Philosophy


  • Roy Ben-Shai Stony Brook University



Améry, Enlightenment, Kant, emotion, reason


"Where is it decreed that enlightenment must be free of emotion? To me, the opposite seems to be true. Enlightenment can properly fulfill its task only if it sets to work with passion." - Améry, At the Mind's Limits

This statement, which concludes the preface to the 1977 reissue of At the Mind’s Limits, conveys the philosophical ambition of the book: to advance the enlightenment project, while revising the way we understand this project. The idea, rejected here by Améry, that the enlightenment “must be free of emotion” owes most to its foremost proponent, Immanuel Kant. This paper picks up on this implicit allusion to Kant, and elaborates on Améry’s revision of the enlightenment by making the confrontation between them explicit.