Hegel on the Normativity of Animal Life

Hegel Bulletin:1-19 (forthcoming)


My aim in this paper is to show that and how animal organisms are appropriate subjects of normative evaluation, on Hegel's view. I contrast my reading with the interpretive positions of Sebastian Rand and Mark Alznauer. I disagree with Rand and agree with Alznauer that animal organisms are normatively evaluable for Hegel. I substantiate my disagreement with Rand, and supplement Alznauer's interpretation, by spelling out the role that the ‘generic process’ or ‘genus process [Gattungsprozess]’ plays within Hegel's account of animal organisms and their normative evaluability. In the course of my discussion, I highlight the main differences that Hegel purports to identify between animal and vegetable organisms and suggest that the upshot of those differences is that some but not all plants are normatively evaluable, by his lights. I also situate Hegel's discussion of the Gattungsprozess within the debate on biological functions in the philosophy of biology over the last few decades.

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Nicolas Garcia Mills
University of Chicago

References found in this work

Functional Analysis.Robert Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
In Defense of Proper Functions.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1989 - Philosophy of Science 56 (June):288-302.
An Organizational Account of Biological Functions.Matteo Mossio, Cristian Saborido & Alvaro Moreno - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (4):813-841.
The Teleological Notion of 'Function'.Karen Neander - 1991 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 69 (4):454 – 468.

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Citations of this work

Logical and Natural Life in Hegel.Anton Kabeshkin - 2022 - European Journal of Philosophy 30 (1):129-147.

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