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Enlightenment theory arose to explain how people end up being distinct in their actions from the way they act when influenced by others. For instance, Immanuel Kant describes enlightenment to be the period when a person undergoes release from his self-incurred tutelage. In this sense, Kant uses tutelage to mean the incapacity of a person to use his own understanding as one relies on the guidance of others. In addition, Kant says that a tutelage influenced by others exemplifies a lack of confidence and determination as a person cannot act without guidance from others. The significant enlightenment theories include sex, gender and feminist sociology, exploitation theory, modernism theory and the postmodernism theory. On the other hand, anti-enlightenment theories try to consolidate the idea that people's actions are somewhat tied to some guiding force or power. This paper explores essential enlightenment theories and the anti-enlightenment theories.


The first significant enlightenment theory is sex, gender and feminist theory. This theory tries to explain how people used to believe in the past. Before enlightenment, research asserts that people used to think that men and women are the same in their physical orientation. The rise of sex, gender and feminist theory cleared the air for the people as it explained the difference between the men and women. The theory also distinguished gender roles according to sexual orientation. The second essential enlightenment theory is the exploitation theory coined by Marx. He tried to explain the significance of exploitation in societies. Exploitation was a characteristic of those who were enlightened while those not enlightened suffered at the hands of those enlightened. This theory also explains the stratifications in societies. Thirdly, the modernism theory is also an enlightenment theory. This theory explains how people moved from the old systems of production into more advanced form of life. This shift of people's way of life attributed to enlightenment which facilitated inventions. Postmodernism theory is also a significant enlightenment theory, as it explains modernism, further.

On the other hand, the anti-enlightenment theories refute the claims by the enlightenment theorists. The anti-enlightenment theories view everything in relation to the powers of a supreme being. A good example of anti-enlightenment theory is religious fundamentalism. This theory reacts to the fundamental marginalization of the church. In addition, this theory is reactionary to modernization and secularization which promote the marginalization of the church. This theory also focuses on the ideals of a setting up behavioral requirements by people which proves that, people's actions are limited to the guidance provided. Anti-enlightenment theorists also have postmodernism as an essential theory. This postmodernism theory refutes the classical metaphysical theory forming foundation of much of western thoughts. Postmodernism theory also has a theme of praxis. This theme propagates for a serious concern for the practical and ethical aspects of life.

In conclusion, enlightenment theory significantly reflects on western culture and its benefits in the development of human societies. Almost all happenings in the society have connections to some form of influence to the western culture by those supporting the enlightenment theory. However, enlightenment theory such as the sex, gender and feminist theory is beneficial as it aided in explanation of the difference in sexual orientation between males and females, as people in ancient times could not tell the difference. On the other hand, the anti-enlightenment theories focus a lot on religion and its meaning to the society. The anti-enlightenment theory shows some connection in people's behavior to some supreme powers. This is the reason why the anti-enlightenment theory on postmodernism alienates the thought of the western culture as been influential in almost every happening.

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