This essay discusses how, for Hegel, freedom can be realized in nature in a rudimentary fashion in solar systems. This solves a problem in Kant’s account of freedom, namely, the problem that Kant only gives a negative argument for why freedom is not impossible but does not give a positive account of how freedom is real. I give a novel account of Kant’s negative argument. Then, I show how, according to Hegel, solar systems can be considered as exhibiting freedom in (...) a rudimentary fashion. Finally, I lay out how Hegel systematically develops this point about the freedom of solar systems in the ‘Mechanism’-chapter of the Science of Logic. In doing so, he uses Kant’s negative argument in a ‘purified’ form to arrive at an account of an ‘intimate token-type relation’ between the planets in a solar system and the law that governs their motion. The essay as a whole provides a concrete example of how Hegel is an inheritor and radicalizer of Kant, both with respect to freedom’s reality and with respect to philosophical method. (shrink)
This paper lays out two recent accounts of Hegel’s practical philosophy in order to present a challenge. According to Robert Stern and Mark Alznauer, Hegel attempts to ground our ethical practices in ontological norms. I argue that we cannot ground our ethical practices in this way. However, I also contend that Stern’s and Alznauer’s conception of reality as both conceptual and normative can still play a useful role in practical philosophy, namely, to help defuse a sceptical worry about a threat (...) to ethics. (shrink)
In a broadly Kantian context, it is often assumed that practical self-consciousness and rational self-determination can only be understood in opposition to pleasure and desire. I argue instead that, already for Kant, rational self-determination is itself a determination of our faculty of desire. Drawing on resources from Kant and Hegel, the paper shows that sensible desire can be understood as a self-determination of our vital forces which is connected to a sensible awareness of our practical existence. In order to constitute (...) what Kant calls a higher faculty of desire, we need to develop a practical self-consciousness of this sensible desire. As Hegel develops this idea, such self-consciousness involves grasp of the very form of desire that is occluded in its sensible form, as well as a reflexive redoubling of desire whereby desire becomes its own object. (shrink)
Although the best-known Hegelian objection against Kant's moral philosophy is the charge that the categorical imperative is an ‘empty formalism’, Hegel's criticisms also include what we might call the realizability objection. Tentatively stated, the realizability objection says that within the sphere of Kantian morality, the good remains an unrealizable ‘ought’ – in other words, the Kantian moral ‘ought’ can never become an ‘is’. In this paper, I attempt to come to grips with this objection in two steps. In the first (...) section of the paper, I provide an initial reading of the objection, according to which Hegel agrees with Kant's formulation of the realizability problem but disagrees with the specific Kantian solution, namely, with the Kantian idea of the highest good and the doctrine of the postulates. In the second section, I go on to argue that this reading is potentially too superficial and offer a more far-reaching interpretation whereby Hegel is ultimately targeting fundamental distinctions of Kant's moral theory. I end by employing these more far-reaching results of Hegel's objection to sketch some features of Hegel's alternative ethical view. (shrink)
Der Beitrag, dessen Schwerpunkt auf metaphysischen Fragestellungen liegt, expliziert das Verhältnis zwischen Kants und Hegels Auffassungen der Person. Der Begriff der Person spielt eine wichtige Rolle in praktischer Philosophie Kants. Kant verneint dagegen die Auffassung der ontologischen Person. Nachkantischer deutscher Idealismus kann als Wiederherstellung der Personontologie erörtert werden. Persönliches Sein prägt auch Philosophie Hegels. Hegel thematisiert Person aber systematisch nur im Bereich der Philosophie des Rechts. Der Standpunkt des finnischen Hegelianers J.V. Snellman (1806–81) wird als Fortsetzung der Philosophie Hegels betrachtet. (...) Besonders sein Werk "Versuch einer spekulativen Entwicklung der Idee der Persönlichkeit" (1841) steht im Brennpunkt des Beitrags. (shrink)
In this chapter, I expound Hegel’s critique of Kant, which he first and most elaborately presented in his early essay Faith and Knowledge (1802), by focusing on the criticism that Hegel levelled against Kant’s (supposedly) arbitrary subjectivism about the categories. This relates to the restriction thesis of Kant’s transcendental idealism: categorially governed empirical knowledge only applies to appearances, not to things in themselves, and so does not reach objective reality, according to Hegel. Hegel claims that this restriction of knowledge to (...) appearances is unwarranted merely on the basis of Kant’s own principle of transcendental apperception, and just stems from Kant’s empiricist bias. He argues that Kant’s principle of apperception as the foundational principle of knowledge is in fact incompatible with his empiricism. Hegel rightly appraises the centrality of transcendental apperception for the constitution of objectivity. But he is wrong about its incompatibility with Kant’s empirical realism. By virtue of a misapprehension of the formal distinction between the accompanying ‘I think’, i.e. the analytical principle of apperception, and what Hegel calls “the true ‘I’” of the original-synthetic unity of apperception, Hegel unjustifiably prises apart the productive imagination, which is supposedly this “true ‘I’”, and the understanding, which is supposedly just a derivative, subjective form of the productive imagination; the latter, according to Hegel, is Reason or Being itself, and is the truly objective. This deflationary reading of the understanding, which hypostatises the imagination as the supreme principle, rests on a distortion of key elements of Kant’s theory of apperception. In this chapter, I show that Hegel’s charge of inconsistency against Kant, namely, Hegel’s claim that the principle of apperception as the highest principle of cognition does not comport with Kant’s restriction thesis, is the direct consequence of a psychological misreading of Kant’s subjectivism. (shrink)
Does Hegel have anything to contribute to moral philosophy? If moral philosophy presupposes the soundness of what he calls the 'standpoint of morality [Moralität]' (PR §137), then Hegel's contribution is likely to be negative. As is well known, he argues that morality fails to provide us with substantive answers to questions about what is good or morally required and tends to gives us a distorted, subject-centred view of our practical lives; moral concerns are best addressed from the 'standpoint of ethical (...) life [Sittlichkeit]' (ibid.). Hegel's criticism of morality has had a decisive influence in the reception of his thought. By general acknowledgement, while his writings support a broadly neo-Aristotelian ethics of self-actualization, his views on moral philosophy are exhausted by his criticisms of Kant, whom he treats as paradigmatic exponent of the standpoint of morality. My aim in this essay is to correct this received view and show that Hegel offers a positive argument about the nature of moral willing. (shrink)
Hegel's Philosophy of Right presents a collection of new essays by leading international philosophers and Hegel scholars that analyze and explore Hegel's key contributions in the areas of ethics, politics, and the law. •The most comprehensive collection on Hegel's Philosophy of Right available •Features new essays by leading international Hegel interpreters divided in sections of ethics, politics, and law •Presents significant new research on Hegel's Philosophy of Right that will set a new standard for future work on the topic .
This article approaches the largely known four objections that Hegel held against Kant: the formalism of moral principle, the criticism of autonomy and formalism, the objection of the abstract universalism in Kant′s ethics, and the terrorism of the pure reason. The purpose is to determine the extent of these objections in front of Kant′s critical thought. At the end of the text, I will support that in spite of different misunderstandings about Kant′s ethics; however Hegel inherited us a great lesson (...) that even crosses the contemporary ethical thought: the radical contraposition between justice (virtue) and the Sittlichkeit (the concrete and effective ethics) that leads us to the loss of the basic moral phenomenon. (shrink)
Immanuel Kant's description of humans' first encounter with each other depicts a peaceful recognition of mutual worth. G.W.F. Hegel's by contrast depicts a struggle to the death. I argue in this paper that Hegel's description of conflict results in an ethical theory that better preserves the distinctness of the other. I consider Christine Korsgaard's description of first encounters as a third alternative but conclude that Hegel's approach better accounts for the specific commitments we make--as family members, works, and citizens --in (...) ethical life. (shrink)
Barbara Herman's account of rules of moral salience goes far in explaining how Kantian moral theory can integrate historically emergent normative criticisms such as that offered by feminists. The ethical motives that initially lead historical agents to expand our moral categories, however, are often at odds with Kant's (and Herman's) theory of moral motivations. I argue that Hegel offers a more accurate account of ethical motivation under oppressive conditions.
While many philosophers have found Hegel's critique of Kantian ethics to be interesting in certain respects, overall most tend to find it rather shallow and to think that Hegel either misunderstands Kant's thought or has a rather crude understanding of it. For example, in examining the last two sections of Chapter V of the Phenomenology - 'Reason as Lawgiver' and 'Reason as Testing Laws' (where we get an extended critique of the categorical imperative)- Lauer finds Hegel's treatment to be truncated (...) and inadequate.1 The only trouble, though, is that like most other readers of the Phenomenology, Lauer does not recognize that Hegel had been examining and criticizing Kantian ethics throughout a much greater part of-indeed, more than half of-Chapter V. Once we do understand this, I think we must concede that Hegel's treatment is hardly truncated and that it cannot be described as shallow or inadequate. I will try to show that Hegel demonstrates a rather sophisticated understanding of, and gives a serious and thorough critique of, Kantian practical reason. (shrink)
In Die idealistische Kritik des Willens [German Idealism’s Critique of the Will] Dorschel defends an understanding of freedom as choice against Immanuel Kant’s and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s ethical animadversions. He objects both to Kant’s claim that „a free will and a will under moral laws are one and the same thing“ („ein freier Wille und ein Wille unter sittlichen Gesetzen einerlei“) (Immanuel Kant, Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten AB 98) and to Hegel’s doctrine that „freedom of the will is (...) rendered real as law“ („die Freiheit des Willens als Gesetz verwirklicht“) (Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Vorlesungen über die Philosophie der Weltgeschichte, ed. Georg Lasson. Felix Meiner, Leipzig 1923ff., p. 368). What renders freedom of the will real, Dorschel argues, is rather to exercise choice sensibly. (shrink)