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Hegel's Conscience

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Overview

This book provides a new interpretation of the ethical theory of G.W.F. Hegel. The aim is not only to give a new interpretation for specialists in German Idealism, but also to provide an analysis that makes Hegel's ethics accessible for all scholars working in ethical and political philosophy. While Hegel's political philosophy has received a good deal of attention in the literature, the core of his ethics has eluded careful exposition, in large part because it is contained in his claims about conscience. This book shows that, contrary to accepted wisdom, conscience is the central concept for understanding Hegel's view of practical reason and therefore for understanding his ethics as a whole. The argument combines careful exegesis of key passages in Hegel's texts with detailed treatments of problems in contemporary ethics and reconstructions of Hegel's answers to those problems. The main goals are to render comprehensible Hegel's notoriously difficult texts by framing arguments with debates in contemporary ethics, and to show that Hegel still has much to teach us about the issues that matter to us most. Central topics covered in the book are the connection of self-consciousness and agency, the relation of motivating and justifying reasons, moral deliberation and the holism of moral reasoning, mutual recognition, and the rationality of social institutions.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Hegel's Conscience provides both an admirably clear and accessible interpretation of Hegel's texts and a novel and provocative account of agency, one that will, in concert with other work emerging from the renewed interest in Hegel, likely form the basis for a distinctively Hegelian metaethical position." —Peter Thielke, Notre Dame Philosophical Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195391992
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/6/2011
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Dean Moyar is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Johns Hopkins University. He works on Kant and German Idealism, practical reason, and the philosophical foundations of liberalism. He is the editor of the Routledge Companion to Nineteenth Century Philosophy (2010) and is currently editing The Oxford Handbook of Hegel. He was a 2012 fellow at the American Academy in Berlin and in 2013 he was awarded a Humboldt Fellowship to work on a book on Hegel's political philosophy.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Note on Citations and Abbreviations

Introduction
1. Hegelian Ethics?
2. Interpretive Parameters
3. Hegel's Problem

1: Self-Consciousness and Agency
1.1. First-Person Authority and Responsible Action
1.2. Conscience in History
1.3. Immanent Negativity
1.4. Negativity and Ethical Content
1.5. A Performative View of Practical Reason

2: Motivating and Justifying Reasons
2.1. The Reasons Identity Condition
2.2. Internal Reasons and the Knight of Virtue
2.3. The Implicit Universality and Objectivity of Internal Reason
2.4. Freedom and the Appeal to Pure Reason
2.5. Conscience and Motivating Reasons
2.6. The Ambiguity of Conscience
2.7. The Complex Reasons Identity Condition

3: Holism and Detachment
3.1. Subjectivism and Detachment
3.2. Self-Expression and Interpretive Authority
3.3. Conscience as Holistic Practical Reason
3.4. Abuses of Holism
3.5. Autonomy as Non-Detachment

4: Deliberation and Justification
4.1. Moral Conflict
4.2. Law and Value
4.3. Moral Reflection and Skepticism
4.4. Conscience as Judgment
4.5. Fallibilism and the Externality of Judgment
4.6. The Disjunctive Inference

5: Mutual Recognition
5.1. Recognition and the Moments of Action
5.2. The Value of the Purposes of Conscience
5.3 The Language of Conscience
5.4. Ethical Purposes and the Value of Humanity
5.5. The Endpoint of Recognition in the Phenomenology
5.6. Objective Spirit and the Transition to Ethical Life

6: Practical Reason in Ethical Life
6.1. The Family
6.2. Civil Society and the Need for Conscience
6.3. The Legal System
6.4. Right, Duty and the State
6.5. Sovereignty and Deliberative Processes
6.6. Our Actuality

Bibliography
Index

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