Hegel Bulletin 35 (1):56-83 (2014)

Kenneth R. Westphal
Bogazici University
The apparent implications of the latest findings of the life sciences for our freedom and autonomy are both exciting and controversial: They undermine a common view of human freedom: a fundamentally Cartesian view. A superior account of our freedom was developed by Kant and Hegel. Key features of Hegel's account show that we can expect from the life sciences further insights into the biological basis of our freedom and autonomy, but not their repudiation. I begin with basic features of Cartesian self-transparency and then review three findings of contemporary life sciences. I then detail key features of Hegel's anti-Cartesianism, in order to formulate the basic question about our freedom posed by the claim that biology explains away human freedom. I criticize this biological determinism by drawing upon Hegel's account of human freedom as autonomy, and comment briefly on biologism in moral theory.
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DOI 10.1017/hgl.2014.4
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References found in this work BETA

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