Irrationality and egoism in Hegel’s account of right

British Journal for the History of Philosophy 26 (6):1132-1152 (2018)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Many interpreters argue that irrational acts of exchange can count as rational and civic-minded for Hegel—even though, admittedly, the persons who are exchanging their property are usually unaware of this fact. While I do not want to deny that property exchange can count as rational in terms of ‘mutual recognition’ as interpreters claim, this proposition raises an important question: What about the irrationality and arbitrariness that individuals as property owners and persons consciously enjoy? Are they mere vestiges of nature in Hegel’s system, or do they constitute a simple yet valid form of freedom that is not only a part of Hegel’s rational system of right, but its necessary starting point? I will argue the latter: The arbitrary, purely egoist self-definition of property owners is the simplest possible type of freedom for Hegel, which he dissects in order to show how the very arbitrary self-definition implicitly relies on an identity between persons, and hence foreshadows the more social forms of freedom Hegel will discuss later in his book. I make this argument by highlighting Hegel’s references to his discussion of atoms and freedom in his Logic of Being.

Author's Profile

Charlotte Baumann
University of Sussex

Analytics

Added to PP
2018-03-22

Downloads
482 (#29,917)

6 months
155 (#15,613)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?