This article deals with the question of skepticism within Hegel's Phenomenology. The article reconstructs the role played by the tropes of ancient skepticism in Hegel's criticism of foundationalism and monological thinking. Furthermore, the skeptical method applied by Hegel is read as a sort of negative dialectics that is constitutive of a relational theory of rationality, and which culminates in his conception of the Absolute Knowing as speculative tropology.
In this article I intend to show the strict relation between the notions of “second nature” and “recognition”. To do so I begin with a problem (circularity) proper to the theory of Hegelian and post- Hegelian Anerkennung. The solution strategy I propose is signifi cant also in terms of bringing into focus the problems connected with a notion of “space of reasons” that stems from the Hegelian concept of “Spirit”. I thus broach the notion of “second nature” as a bridgeconcept (...) that can play a key role both for a renewal of the theory of Anerkennung and for a rethinking of the “space of reasons” within the debate between Robert Brandom and John McDowell. Against this background I illustrate the novelties introduced by the dialectical conception of the relation between fi rst and second nature developed by Hegel and the contribution this idea can make to a revisited theory of recognition as a phenomenon articulated on two levels. I then return to the question of the space of reasons to show the contribution the renewed conception of recognition as second nature makes to the definition of its intrinsic sociality as something that is not in principle opposed to a sense of naturalness. (shrink)
Introductory essay to the collection "I that is We, We that is I" (ed. by Italo Testa and Luigi Ruggiu, Brill Books, 2016). In this book an international group of philosophers explore the many facets of Hegel’s formula which expresses the recognitive and social structures of human life. The book offers a guiding thread for the reconstruction of crucial motifs of contemporary thought such as the socio-ontological paradigm; the action-theoretical model in moral and social philosophy; the question of naturalism; and (...) the reassessment of the relevance of work and power for our understanding of human life. This collection addresses the shortcomings of Kantian and constructivist normative approaches to social practices and practical rationality it involves. It sheds new light on Hegel’s take on metaphysics and puts into question some presuppositions of the post-metaphysical interpretative paradigm. (shrink)
The paper proposes a reconstruction of some fragments of Hegel’s Jena manuscripts concerning the natural genesis of recognitive spiritual consciousness. On this basis it will be argued that recognition has a foothold in nature. As a consequence, recognition should not be understood as a bootstrapping process, that is, as a self-positing and self-justifying normative social phenomenon, intelligible within itself and independently of anything external to it.
I tackle the definition of the relation between first and second nature while examining some problems with McDowell's conception. This, in the first place, will bring out the need to extend the notion of second nature to the social dimension, understanding it not just as `inner' second nature — individual mind — but also as `outer' second nature — objective spirit. In the second place the dialectical connection between these two notions of second nature will point the way to a (...) critical use of the concept itself, which will link up with a theory of reification. Furthermore, I shall endeavor to fit my reflection into the problematic constellation of critical theory : my analysis in fact rests on the question whether, within a critical theory, the philosophy of nature can be recaptured today, in such a way as to give meaning to the very notion of socio-philosophical criticism of reality. Key Words: Theodor Adorno • critical theory • dialectics • Jürgen • Habermas • G. W. F. Hegel • John McDowell • mind naturalism • nature • quietism • reification • second nature • world. (shrink)
Paper given at the 20th Biennial Meeting of the Hegel Society of America, University of South Carolina, October 24-26, 2008 -/- The local problem of the soul-body relation can be grasped only against the global background of the relation between Nature and Spirit. This relates to Hegel's naturalism: the idea that there is one single reality - living reality - and different levels of description of it. This implies, moreover, that it is possible to ascribe some form of naturality also (...) to the social body of institutionalized ethical life. Hegel’s position can thus be characterised as a kind of aristotelian social naturalism: this, at bottom, is the combined meaning of the Hegelian theses that soul is the substance of Spirit, and habit its universal form. (shrink)
The aim of this chapter is to discuss the central role of the notion of " habit " (Gewohnheit) in Hegel's theory of " embodiment " (Verleiblichung) and to show that the philosophical outcome of the Anthropology is that habit, understood as a sensorimotor life form, is not only an enabling condition for there to be mindedness, but is more strongly an ontological constitutive condition of all its levels of manifestation. Moreover, I will argue that Hegel's approach somehow makes a (...) model of embodied cognition available which offers a unified account of the three main senses of embodiment understood as both a physiological, a functional, and a phenomenological process. In this sense Hegel's approach to habit can make a useful contribution to the contemporary debate on embodiment in philosophy of mind, the cognitive sciences, and action theory. For a long time habit in 20th century philosophy and science has been mostly read in a negative way, identified with mechanical and repetitive routine. The reconstruction of Hegel’s approach is particularly relevant here and can fruitfully contribute to this discussion, since it offers us not only a model that assigns to habit a positive constitutive role in the formation of embodied human mindedness but which also overcomes the dualism between habitual motor routine and intentional activities that is prevalent nowadays in the cognitive sciences and in action theory, and allows for some sense of natural agency as belonging to animal life. Furthermore, Hegel’s approach cuts across the great divide between associationist and holistic approaches to habit that has for a long time dominated the philosophical debate on habit and still shapes the current opposition between classical cognitive science and embodied cognitive science. (shrink)
In this paper I will argue that critical theory needs to make its socio-ontological commitments explicit, whilst on the other hand I will posit that contemporary social ontology needs to amend its formalistic approach by embodying a critical theory perspective. In the first part of my paper I will discuss how the question was posed in Horkheimer’s essays of the 1930s, which leave open two options: (1) a constructive inclusion of social ontology within social philosophy, or else (2) a program (...) of social philosophy that excludes social ontology. Option (2) corresponds to Adorno’s position, which I argue is forced to recur to a hidden social ontology. Following option (1), I first develop a metacritical analysis of Searle, arguing that his social ontology presupposes a notion of 'recognition' which it cannot account for. Furthermore, by means of a critical reading of Honneth, I argue that critical theory could incorporate a socioontological approach, giving value to the constitutive socio-ontological role of recognition and to the socio-ontological role of objectification. I will finish with a proposal for a socio-ontological characterization of reification which involves that the basic occurrence of recognition is to be grasped at the level of background practices. (shrink)
Dewey’s social ontology could be characterized as a habit ontology, an ontology of habit qua second nature that offers us an account of intentionality, social statuses, institutions, and norms in terms of habituations. Such an account offers us a promising alternative to contemporary intentionalist and deontic approaches to social ontology such as Searle’s. Furthermore, it could be the basis of a social ontology better suited to explain both the maintenance and the transformation of social reality. In the first part I (...) will characterize Dewey’s model as a social ontology based on the notion of habit, and present it as an alternative to intentionalist approaches to social reality. In the second part I will argue that habit ontology offers us an account of social norms that is based on a peculiar understanding of the notion of ‘status’, and represents an alternative to deontic accounts. In the third part I will claim that Dewey’s notion of “public” offers us a dynamic understanding of social institutions and a ‘reactive’ notion of collective intentionality as an achievement rather than as a presupposition of social practices. In the final section I will summarize some advantages of the Deweyan over the Searlean social ontology concerning our understanding of acceptance, maintenance and transformation of statuses, and of the role played by the ‘background’. (shrink)
A peculiar socio-ontological approach is to be found in Dewey’s writings of the twenties—mainly in Human Nature and Conduct, Experience and Nature, and The Public and Its Problems. According to Dewey, it is proper of social and political facts to be dependent on human activity and still exhibit an “objective reality.” Such facts exist out there, have causal consequences, and have objectively knowable properties : they are, to use John Searle’s phrase, “epistemologically objective”.1 When it comes to understanding how social (...) facts are constituted through interaction, Dewey thinks that we have to take human association as a primitive phenomenon that is proper of our... (shrink)
Dewey’s notion of second nature is strictly connected with that of habit. I reconstruct the Hegelian heritage of this model and argue that habit qua second nature is understood by Dewey as a something which encompasses both the subjective and the objective dimension – individual dispositions and features of the objective natural and social environment.. Secondly, the notion of habit qua second nature is used by Dewey both in a descriptive and in a critical sense and is as such a (...) dialectical concept which connects ‘impulse’ and ‘habit’, ‘original’ or ‘native’ and ‘acquired’ nature, ‘first’ and ‘second nature’. Thirdly, the ethical model of second nature as habituation and the aesthetic model of second nature as art are for Dewey not opposed to one another, since by distinguishing ‘routine’ and ‘art’ as two modes of habit, he makes space for an expressive and creative notion of second nature. Finally, I argue that the expressive dialectics of habit formation plays a crucial role in Dewey’s critical social philosophy and that first and second nature operate as benchmark concepts for his diagnosis of social pathologies. (shrink)
In this essay I first set out the advantages the " multivariate democratic polity " framework proposed by Ferrara offers in comparison to other more consensus-based notions of democratic legitimacy. Secondly, I highlight some ambiguities concerning the meta-theoretical status of this frame, since it is not clear whether it consists of an adaptive realistic description, or otherwise is a normative argument. Thirdly, I cast some doubts on the compatibility between the multivariate frame and the " dualist conception of democratic constitutionalism (...) " adopted by Ferrara, since the latter seems too indebted to the domestic analogy, and to a consensus-based model of legitimacy. Finally, I argue that the dualist approach does not seem a convenient way to include citizenship in deliberative processes, and the question of the emergence of a transnational demos should rather be reconsidered as crucial for this purpose. (shrink)
In this paper recognition is taken to be a question of social ontology, regarding the very constitution of the social space of interaction. I concentrate on the question of whether certain aspects of the theory of recognition can be translated into the terms of a socio-ontological paradigm: to do so, I make reference to some conceptual tools derived from John Searle's social ontology and Robert Brandom's normative pragmatics. My strategy consists in showing that recognitive phenomena cannot be isolated at the (...) level of human interaction, and are, rather, in part proper to animal interaction as well. Furthermore, it is argued that recognitive powers are constitutive powers more basic than deontic ones and play a role much broader than the one they in fact assume in Searle and in Brandom. (shrink)
In this contribution I outline some ideas on what the pragmatist model of habit ontology could offer us as regards the appreciation of the constitutive role that imagery plays for social action and cognition. Accordingly, a Deweyan understanding of habit would allow for an understanding of imagery in terms of embodied cognition rather than in representational terms. I first underline the motor character of imagery, and the role its embodiment in habit plays for the anticipation of action. Secondly, I reconstruct (...) Dewey's notion of imaginative rehearsal in light of contemporary, competing models of intersubjectivity such as embodied simulation theory and the narrative practice hypothesis, and argue that the Deweyan model offers us a more encompassing framework which can be useful for reconciling these approaches. In this text I am mainly concerned with sketching a broad picture of the lines along which such a project could be developed. For this reason not all questions are given equal attention, and I shall concentrate mainly on the basic ideas, without going directly into the details of many of them. (shrink)
The meaning of Enlightenment for the young Hegel (1785-1800) is closely related to the historical and theoretical moment in which skepticism became a constitutive aspect of his dialectical conception of philosophy. In this light the paper shows that the problem of skepticism understood as self-reflection of epistemological and social critique is deeply linked in the young Hegel’s writings with the archeology of the very idea of the dialectics of enlightenment.
Argumentation theory underwent a significant development in the Fifties and Sixties: its revival is usually connected to Perelman's criticism of formal logic and the development of informal logic. Interestingly enough it was during this period that Artificial Intelligence was developed, which defended the following thesis (from now on referred to as the AI-thesis): human reasoning can be emulated by machines. The paper suggests a reconstruction of the opposition between formal and informal logic as a move against a premise of an (...) argument for the AI-thesis, and suggests making a distinction between a broad and a narrow notion of algorithm that might be used to reformulate the question as a foundational problem for argumentation theory. (shrink)
Hegel's philosophy aims at responding to the questions raised by modern scepticism concerning the accessibility of the external world, of other minds, and of one's own mind. A key-role in Hegel's argumentative strategy against modern scepticism is played here by Hegel's theory of recognition. Recognition mediates the constitution of individual self-consciousness and intersubjectivity: self-knowledge is not logically independent of the awareness of other minds. At the same time, recognition institutes the possibility of objective reference to the world. In this way, (...) in Hegel the theory of recognition furnishes a unitary response to the threefold sceptical issue of the accessibility of the external world, of other minds, and of one's own mind. The reference to a common world of public objects is thus possible only thanks to the mediation of recognitive capacities that are naturally possessed and socially articulated, which make possible the triangulation between self, world and others. (shrink)
In this paper I illustrate what is reconstructive rationality, a notion that remains rather undetermined in Robert Brandom's work. I argue that theoretical and historical thinking are instances of reconstruction and should not be identified with it. I then explore a further instance of rational reconstruction, which Brandom calls “reconstructive metaphysics”, arguing that the demarcation between metaphysical and non-metaphysical theories has to be understood as a pragmatic one. Finally, I argue that Brandom’s reconstructive metaphysics is basically a pragmatist metaphysics. Here (...) I try to outline a pragmatist understanding of the concept of metaphysics in order to reconcile Brandom's more or less implicit attempt at metaphysical theorizing with his devotion to a pragmatist tradition that is resistant if not hostile to the very idea of metaphysics. Hence I come back to the question of how pragmatism has contributed to the understanding of “reconstructive rationality”, and argue that the latter is a notion of rationality which is needed by Brandom’s philosophy but which cannot find a clear place in the typology of the five forms of rationality that he introduces, being more akin to the core structure of rationality rather than a specific form of it. (shrink)
In this article I argue that contemporary critical theory needs the conceptual tools of social ontology in order to make its own ontological commitments explicit and strengthen its interdisciplinary approach. On the other hand, contemporary analytic social ontology needs critical theory in order to be able to focus on the role that social change, power, and historicity play in the constitution of social facts, and to see the shortcomings of an agential and intentionalist approach to social facts. My thesis is (...) strengthened by a historical reconstruction of the presence of two different approaches in the original program of the family of critical theory apparently most hostile to social ontology, (the Frankfurt School), namely Horkheimer’s program of a critical social philosophy which includes a social ontology, and Adorno’s negative attitude towards it, epitomized by the paradoxical notion of “ontology of the false state”. Adorno’s negative attitude was later inherited by Habermas and Honneth, whose work I show to be nevertheless deeply laden with ontological commitments. I then argue that, if one accepts the socio-ontological redefinition of critical theory, then the post-metaphysical paradigm adopted by Habermas should be revised and a certain conception of the linguistic turn in the understanding of social action abandoned. On the side of contemporary social ontology, the impulse coming from critical theory should allow us to distinguish between forms of ‘traditional social ontology’, that simply apply ready-made general metaphysical concepts to social reality, and a ‘critical social ontology’, oriented to socializing ontology and critically transforming metaphysical categories. (shrink)
In this paper, making reference to Robert Brandom's philosophical proposal - and against the background of Brandom's debate with Jürgen Habermas - I shall endeavor, first, to define the relation between recognition and normativity and then between recognition and criticism; in the final part of the paper I shall suggest a perspective that approaches recognition in terms of capacities. On this basis I attempt to see the critical attitude as something that is founded more on individual potentials than on formal (...) criteria and that is essentially connected with a power of redescription: a dialectical anthropology of recognition is thus the most promising base to account for that which substantiates our critical powers. (shrink)
Deliberative politics should start from an adequate and differentiated image of our dialogical practices and their normative structures; the ideals that we eventually propose for deliberative politics should be tested against this background. In this article I will argue that equal respect, understood as respect a priori conferred on persons, is not and should not be counted as a constitutive normative ground of public discourse. Furthermore, requiring such respect, even if it might facilitate dialogue, could have negative effects and lead (...) to fallacious paths of thought –as seems to happen on matters of deep disagreement such as the Colorado Fundamentalist/Gay HIV issue I discuss in paragraph 6. I will put forward this argument from the standpoint of argumentation or discourse theory, drawing consequences for dialogical theories of politics. Basing my argument on a pluralistic notion of public discourse – understood as a mixed discourse of persuasion, information-seeking and negotiation – I will argue that respect is a dynamic, situational phenomenon, and that the norm of equal respect for persons is contextually contingent in political deliberation: equal respect should be considered as a potential outcome, a discursive achievement – which I understand as a second order consensus achieved dynamically on a provisional basis – rather than as an universal condition for dialogue. (shrink)
The theory of recognition arises within Hegel's confrontation with epistemological skepticism and aims at responding to the questions raised by modern skepticism concerning the accessibility of the external world, of other minds, and of one's own mind. This is possible to the extent that the theory of recognition is the guiding thread of a critique of the modern foundational theory of knowledge and, at the same time, the point of departure for an alternative approach. In this article I will dwell (...) on six stages of the evolution of Hegel's thought prior to the Phenomenology (1797-1806),stages shed great light on the direction taken by his argumentative strategy. Synthetically, the stages are as follows: 1. Hegel naturalizes the epistemological questions; 2. to do so he critiques foundationalism qua theory of empirical knowledge; 3. and qua theory of epistemic justification; 4. the critique of foundationalism is linked to a critique of the corresponding representationalistic theory of perception; 5. this, in turn, is linked to a critique of the monological theories of self-consciousness and to the development of a model of the rise of self-conscious knowing; 6. finally, Hegel synthesizes these epistemological views in a theory of knowledge qua recognition and in a metaphilosophical theory of philosophical rationality qua self-recognition: knowledge without foundation is thus the condition of possibility of philosophy’s self-justification. (shrink)
Abstract. Focusing on part one of Tales of the Mighty Dead and on its relation to the afterword to Between Saying and Doing, I illustrate what reconstructive methodology is and argue that theoretical thinking is one of its instances. I then show that the historical understanding involved in telling the story of a philosophical tradition is another case of reconstruction: one that deepens our understanding of the retrospective character of reconstruction itself, adding something new to our conception of rationality. I (...) then explore a further instance of reconstructive rationality, that is what Brandom calls “reconstructive metaphysics”, i.e. a reconstructive theory whose aspiration is global rather than local. Finally, I argue that Brandom’s reconstructive metaphysics is basically a pragmatist metaphysics. (shrink)
My aim in this paper is to bring into focus the concept of self-consciousness showing the reciprocal connection between the notions of recognition and second nature. The very evolution of Hegel's thought from the writings of his youth to those of his maturity reveals a strict connection between these notions. This reading will be justified through an articulate interpretation of the "Self-consciousness" section of the Phenomenology and then through an interpretation of the systematic connection between this text and the section (...) of the Encyclopedia in which Hegel develops the theory of second nature as habit. (shrink)
In this paper I will focus on the notion of “dominant patterns”, as revealed by the recently discovered typescript of what we can assume to be Dewey’s fragmentary and incomplete preliminary lectures notes for the Lecture Series on Social and Political Philosophy.1 I will show that the way the notion of “dominant patterns” is dealt with in the text of the lectures notes is not only consistent with the conceptual content of the whole series of the Lectures in China as (...) published by R. W. Clopton and Tsuin-Chen,2 but also gives us further arguments to appreciate the centrality of this question to the development of Dewey’s philosophical project during this period. In particular, I will argue that a comparative... (shrink)
Negli scritti dei primi anni trenta Adorno si propone di superare l’antitesi fra natura e storia senza ricadere in un modello fondativo di conciliazione. Attraverso una critica della ripresa nella filosofia contemporanea dell’accezione mitica della natura come origine e come invariante , Adorno intende recuperare il carattere polisemico dell’esperienza della natura e del suo intreccio paradossale con la storia. Il concetto di ‘seconda natura’, ripreso attraverso il confronto con Lukács e con Benjamin, e connesso con le nozioni di ‘caducità’ e (...) ‘allegoria’, si rivela così decisivo per comprendere il senso dialettico della storia naturale. In his writings of the early thirties Adorno intends to overcome the antithesis between nature and history without falling into a foundationalist model of conciliation. Through a criticism of the reprise in contemporary philosophy of nature’s mythical meanings, as origin and invariant , Adorno wants to retrieve the polysemous character of nature’s experience and its paradoxical relation with history. The concept of ‘second nature’, as read through Lukács and Benjamin, and connected with the notions of ‘caducity’ and ‘allegory’, reveals itself to be decisive in understanding the dialectical meaning of natural history. (shrink)
TABLE OF CONTENTS -/- I. La rinascita novecentesca 1. Chaïm Perelman: la nuova retorica 2. Stephen Toulmin: la pratica logica e l’uso degli argomenti 3. Ragionamento e linguaggio: la logica naturale di Jean-Blaise Grize -/- II. La logica informale 1. Informale vs. formale? 2. Il concetto di argomento 3. La ripresa della teoria di Paul Grice 4. La ricostruzione degli argomenti 5. La valutazione degli argomenti: le fallacie 6. Il network problem -/- III. Dialogo e dialettica 1. La logica dialogica (...) di Paul Lorenzen 2. Charles L. Hamblin e i sistemi dialettici 3. Else Barth e la dialettica formale 4. Jaakko Hintikka: logica interrogativa e teoria dei giochi -/- IV. Pragmatica e dialettica 1. La Pragma-Dialectics di van Eemeren e Grootendorst: un ideale filosofico della razionalità 2. Ricostruzione e valutazione degli argomenti 3. L’analisi delle fallacie 4. Fallacie e biases: tra argomentazione e psicologia -/- V. Intersoggettività e impegni dialogici 1. La New Dialectic e il ragionamento interpersonale: Douglas Walton ed Erik Krabbe 2. Contesti dialogici e commitment store 3. Teoria delle fallacie e presumptive reasoning 4. La fondazione della Informal Logic 5. Argomentazione, informatica e scienza cognitiva -/- VI. Razionalità e fondazione 1. Razionalità discorsiva: la pragmatica universale di Jürgen Habermas 2. Razionalità inferenziale e semantica: la pragmatica normativa di Robert B. Brandom 3. La pragmatica trascendentale di Karl O. Apel 4. Modelli di razionalità 5. Fondazione o giustificazione -/- VII. Argomentazione e pratiche sociali 1. Ragionamento pratico 2. Etiche del discorso 3. Diritto e politiche dell’argomentazione. (shrink)
In _"I that is We, We that is I"_ leading scholars analyze the many facets of Hegel’s formula for the intersubjective structure of human life and explores its relevance for debates on social ontology, recognition, action theory, constructivism, and naturalism.