Originalitet og import i Holbergs oplysningstænkning

Thomas Bredsdorff

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7557/4.3081

Keywords

Holberg; Enlightenment; equal rights; feminism; education; toleration

Abstract

Originality and Import in Holberg’s Enlightened Thinking. A figurehead of the Danish Enlightenment, Ludvig Holberg (1684–1754) was an intelligent and witty importer of ideas put into circulation by the founding fathers of the European Enlightenment, Pierre Bayle and John Locke among others. In two realms of thought he was entirely original. He was a staunch believer in the equal rights of women, and a shrewd spokesman for anti-authoritarian methods in education. A discussion of the various possible sources of his view of women – whether they were derived from Descartes, from his experience of independent women either in the theatre or in his home town, or caused by a physiological aberration on his part – does not yield convincing results. The sensible conclusion until further evidence is unearthed is that Holberg was indeed original in as much as he – unlike Kant and several other major figures of the Enlightenment – included women in his urge to further mankind’s exit from its self-incurred immaturity. Similarly, but less thoroughly investigated his anti-authoritarian view of education he may have reached independently.

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