: I explore Rousseau's account of the problem of dependence by means of an analysis of the distinction he makes between dependence on things and dependence on men. With reference to his Second Discourse, I argue that dependence on things alone exists only in the case of primitive man in the earliest stages of the state of nature, while dependence on men is more properly to be understood as dependence on other human beings as mediated by dependence on things. I (...) go on to argue that in the light of Rousseau's account of dependence and his description in the Second Discourse of a spontaneous dependence and inequality generating process, there is a significant problem with his solution to the problem of dependence on other human beings proposed in the Social Contract. This problem can be understood in terms of the relation of the idea of will to that of necessity, and I suggest that Rousseau was himself aware of it. (shrink)
Fichte's definitions of property appear to diverge from modern common linguistic usage, especially his identification of leisure as the object of an absolute right of property, and they may even appear arbitrary. I argue that these definitions are not in fact arbitrary. Rather, any divergence from common linguistic usage can be explained in terms of a conceptual innovation which consists in expanding or modifying a concept by thinking it through, thereby generating new content. In the case of Fichte's theory of (...) property, this content turns out to be leisure as the primary object of a theory of distributive justice. The conceptual innovation found in Fichte's theory of property invites a reconceptualization of the relation between work and freedom. (shrink)
Abstract Carl Schmitt distinguishes between political theories in terms of whether they rest on the anthropological assumption that man is evil by nature or on the anthropological assumption that man is good by nature, and he claims that liberal political theory is based on the latter assumption. Contrary to this claim, I show how Kant's liberalism is shaped by his theory of the radical evil in human nature, and that his liberalism corresponds to the characterization of liberalism that Schmitt himself (...) offers. My discussion of this issue will be shown to have certain implications with respect to the view that for Kant evil is the product of society. I show that this view is mistaken insofar as it fails to recognize that Kant's political philosophy implies that human beings require the type of society that best suits their radically evil natures, namely, a commercial one in which the ?vices of culture? largely have free play, while the state's role is limited to that of preventing the antagonisms found in society leading to the mutual destruction of its members. (shrink)
It is claimed that Hegel denies the possibility of a modern epic and that his lectures on aesthetics demand the condemnation of all the art of his own time. I use the available student transcripts of his lectures on aesthetics, in conjunction with Lukács's views on the novel, to show that Hegel suggests that the novel might count as a modern epic and that it may perform a significant function in modern ethical life (Sittlichkeit) as presented in his own philosophy (...) of right. While Hegel raises questions concerning the possibility of a modern epic, he also presents the novel with a task that Lukács's interpretation of Balzac's Illusions perdues shows the novel is able to fulfill. This becomes evident when we consider Hegel's remarks on the novel in connection with his theory of civil society. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 1. Fichte's theory of property; 2. Applying the concept of right: Fichte and Babeuf; 3. Fichte's reappraisal of Kant's theory of cosmopolitan right; 4. The relation of right to morality in Fichte's Jena theory of the state and society; 5. The role of virtue in the Addresses to the German Nation.
The idea of ‘public reason’ has recently been associated with Rousseau’s views on the formation of a general will. Advocates of this idea in the Kantian tradition tend to emphasize reflective acts of rational deliberation which, I suggest, are more suited to written than to spoken language. Rousseau’s accounts of the role of spoken language as a means of expressing human needs and the role of pity in the development of a moral form of reasoning, which allows one properly to (...) take into account the interests of others, show that he cannot be so easily interpreted as an advocate of the idea of public reason. This is because his views on the importance of spoken language in democratic politics and the essential part played by the sentiment of pity in the development of moral reasoning imply the legitimacy of modes of expression in the formation of a general will that are not, in any obvious sense, compatible with the demands of public reason. (shrink)
In response to the claim that Kierkegaard's highly compressed definition of the self, given near the beginning of The Sickness unto Death, should be understood in Hegelian terms, I show that it can be better understood in terms of an earlier development in the history of German idealism, namely, Fichte's theory of self-consciousness. The notion that the self ?posits? itself found in this theory will be used to explain Kierkegaard's definition of the self, including his rejection of the idea that (...) the self posits itself absolutely. I go on to show how this conception of the self relates to certain features of the concept of despair described in The Sickness unto Death. This in turn allows me to indicate some implications of this conception of the self in relation to Kierkegaard's attitude towards the social and political forces shaping the modern world. (shrink)
In his early Some Lectures concerning the Scholar’s Vocation, J. G. Fichte developed an account of the social role of the scholar. This role concerns the task of furthering human culture and progress, which Fichte considers to be a moral duty for the scholar. In these lectures, Fichte also outlined the capabilities and knowledge that the scholar needs in order to be able to fulfill the task in question, including the possession of historical knowledge. The article argues that the later (...) Addresses to the German Nation represent an attempt on Fichte’s part to realize his earlier conception of the scholar’s vocation, because these addresses aim to help usher in a new, superior epoch in human history. Particular attention is paid to the use that Fichte makes of history in them. In effect, he instrumentalizes history, and justifies his doing this in terms of a higher purpose and the ‘merely’ empirical status of historical fact and evidence. This use of history is compared to some things that Nietzsche has to say about history in his essay On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life; and it invites questions concerning the possible dangers of such a use of history and its compatibility with Fichte’s idea that the vocation of the scholar is a moral one. (shrink)
I discuss J. G. Fichte’s theory of property and its implications in relation to the claim made by C. B. Macpherson that, by broadening the meaning of the term ‘property’, it becomes possible to reconcile two principles of liberal democratic theory that seem to be at odds with each other: the right to property, understood as the right to exclude others from the use or benefit of something, and the right to use and develop one’s capacities. I argue that Fichte’s (...) broad conception of property can be viewed as an example of how this might be done. I also show, however, that Fichte demonstrates that a political reconciliation of these rights is demanded by the conceptual reconciliation of them, and that such political reconciliation may demand placing considerable limitations, in the form of state regulation and the redistribution of resources, on human freedom. (shrink)
Introduction -- The symbolic form of art -- Kant's theory of the mathematical sublime and the boundlessness of the symbolic form of art -- The classical sublimity of Judaism -- The classical form of art -- The original epic -- The ideal -- The transition to the revealed religion and the romantic form of art -- The revealed religion -- Representational thought and the romantic form of art -- Traces of left-hegelianism in Hegel's lectures on aesthetics -- The end of (...) mythology -- The significance of Kierkegaard's interpretation of Don Giovanni in relation to Hegel's theory of the end of art -- The end of art -- The opera as a modern art form -- Hegel and Lukács's on the possibility of a modern epic -- The problem of a modern epic -- The modern epic and history -- Civil society as the background to the modern epic -- Myth and society : a common theme in the thought of Hegel and Sorel -- Sorel's myth of the general strike -- Myth and modern ethical life. (shrink)
I relate the aesthetic mediation of reason and the identity of religion and mythology found in the Earliest System-Programme of German Idealism to Hegel’s account of the transition from the ancient Greek religion of art to the revealed religion (Christianity) in his theory ofabsolute spirit. While this transition turns on the idea that the revealed religion mediates reason more adequately in virtue of its form (i. e., representational thought), I argue that Hegel’s account of the limitations of religious representational thought, (...) when taken in conjunction with some of his ideas concerning Romantic art, suggests that he fails to demonstrate the necessity of the transition in question, thus undermining the triadic structure (i. e., art, religion, philosophy) of his theory of absolute spirit.Dans cet article, jelais un lien entre, d’une part, la médiation esthétique de la raison et l’identite de la religion et de la mythologie formulées dans le premier programme systématique de l’idéalisme allemand et, d’autre part, le récit que fait Hegel de la transition menant de la religion grecque antique de l’art à la religion révélée (la chrétienté) dans sa théorie de l’Esprit absolu. Bien que cette transition repose sur l’idée que la religion révélée médiatise la raison plus adéquatement grâce à sa forme (la pensée représentationnelle) , je soutiens que, si on considère parallèlement à ses idées sur l’art romantique les explications que donne Hegel au sujet des limitations de la pensée représentationnelle religieuse, ces explications laissent apercevoir qu’il échoue à démontrer la nécessité de la transition en question, ce qui a pour effet de faire s’effondrer la structure ternaire art, religion, philosophie de sa théorie de l’Esprit absolu. (shrink)
This paper is a comprehensive examination of the ethical issues surrounding artificial insemination. The interests of parents, AI children and society are identified and compared, and a variety of arguments for and against AIH and AID are examined. Although various criticisms of the natural law position are offered, this paper comes to the similar conclusion that donor artiricial insemination is not morally justified.
The possibility of achieving ectogenesis, or the growing of a human fetus to term in an artificial womb, is approaching reality as a result of advances in treatment of premature newborns and in in vitro fertilization techniques. In their 1984 book, The Reproductive Revolution, issued in North America as Making Babies, Peter Singer and Deane Wells offered several arguments for ectogenesis. James examines their arguments and rejects two of them, that ectogenesis offers a less problematic alternative to surrogate motherhood, and (...) that ectogenesis could make it possible to reconcile fetal rights with the right to abortion on demand. He grants Singer and Wells' argument that the childless have a claim to state support of their desire to nurture, but contends that government-supported ectogenesis should still be rejected because the adoption of unwanted children is a preferable alternative to the use of an exotic, expensive, and still unproven technology. (shrink)