Broader contexts of non-domination: Pettit and Hegel on freedom and recognition

Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 18 (4):390-406 (2015)
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This study compares Philip Pettit’s account of freedom to Hegelian accounts. Both share the key insight that characterizes the tradition of republicanism from the Ancients to Rousseau: to be subordinated to the will of particular others is to be unfree. They both also hold that relations to others, relations of recognition, are in various ways directly constitutive of freedom, and in different ways enabling conditions of freedom. The republican ideal of non-domination can thus be fruitfully understood in light of the Hegelian structure of ‘being at one with oneself (Beisichsein) in another’. However, while the Hegelian view converges with Pettit on non-domination and recognition, their comprehensive theories of freedom are based on radically different metaphysics. One key difference concerns the relationship between freedom and nature, and there is a further difference between Pettit’s (ahistorical) idea of the concept dependence of freedom, and the Hegelian (historical) idea of the conception dependence of freedom. -/- Keywords: Pettit; Hegel; freedom; non-domination; mutual recognition; republicanism; ‘being at one with oneself’; social freedom.

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Arto Laitinen
Tampere University


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