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Title:Embracing Ethical Life: Hegel on Freedom, Solidarity, and Law
Author(s):Matarrese, Craig Bradford
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Richard Schacht
Department / Program:Philosophy
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:This dissertation is an interpretation and defense of a Hegelian conception of freedom and ethical life, a contribution not only to contemporary work on Hegel, but also an attempt to engage current mainstream debates in social, political, and legal philosophy. I begin with an abstract and structural characterization of Hegel's conception of freedom as a theory of self-realization that is historical, not metaphysical, that represents a substantive move away from the voluntarist tradition, and that points to a broad practical rationality culminating in communal self-reflection. Hegelian freedom demands that this broad practical rationality and communal self-reflection be taken up as a form of political perfectionism, and that the state actively promote the formation of self-identities that express this broad practical rationality. This Hegelian view of freedom and rationality also represents one way to think about the ideal of coherence in interpretation and law, and through a comparison with Ronald Dworkin's work, I argue that the Hegelian view apprehends more consistently then Dworkin's the connection between coherence and perfectionism, both in terms of theories of community and regarding the public policy of campaign finance. The view I defend also sheds light on how we understand ourselves as members of a national community, as individuals and citizens at the same time, and helps to explain why the romantic expressivist individualism associated with Richard Rorty is both incoherent on its own terms and more suitable for making sense of detached spectatorship than engaged membership. The final part of my defense of Hegelian freedom and ethical life is a response to criticism from Jean-Paul Sartre: that Hegel's theory is insufficiently concrete and fails to take account of the individuals actual experience in political groups and institutions; my argument is that Hegel's theory of recognition and his account of reflective identification supply the framework necessary to address these concerns. Taken as a whole, the argument of my dissertation suggests the Hegelian political philosophy is well-positioned to broaden and deepen the vocabulary employed in some of the most important issues in social, political, and legal philosophy today.
Issue Date:2001
Description:299 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2001.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3023137
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2001

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