Hegel's Metaphysics and Social Philosophy. Two Readings

In Paul Giladi (ed.), Hegel and the Frankfurt School. London, UK: pp. 143-166 (2020)
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While Hegel's metaphysics was long reviled, it has garnered more interest in recent years, with even the so-called non-metaphysical Hegelians starting to explicitly discuss Hegel’s metaphysical commitments. This brings up the old question: what are the social-philosophical implications of Hegel’s metaphysics? This chapter provides a unique answer to this question by contrasting the former non-metaphysical reading (as developed by Robert Pippin) with a traditional way of interpreting Hegel’s metaphysics and social philosophy, whose lineage includes not Wittgenstein, Sellars, or Brandom, but rather Schelling, Marx, and Adorno. After discussing the two varieties of metaphysics (Sections 1–3), I will argue that a traditional metaphysical Hegel is more realist when it comes to assessing the power of social structures (Section 4), focused on structural freedom rather than agency (Sections 5 and 6), and more empowering for and lenient towards individuals who can make their interests count and are free to be irrational and egoist (Section 7).

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Charlotte Baumann
University of Sussex


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