GOV 382M • Kant and Hegel
For more than two thousand years of Western civilization, foundations and first principles were sought in objective ideas, or a normative constitution of the cosmos, or the will of God, or the nature of man, or in prudence in the service of self-interest. Kant contributes to the project of the modern age by rejecting this tradition. He claims that human beings may and must obey only their own reason, in the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785) and in the Metaphysics of Morals (1797). Hegel in The Philosophy of Right (1821) sets the modern age on a different trajectory. He rejects Kant's belief that autonomous action has its source solely in the agent's pure reason and not in his or her sensuous impulses, still less in the natural or social world. Freedom for Hegel consists in "being with oneself in an other," such that reason and sense are in harmony with one another when social institutions and our duties within them are not hindrances to freedom but in fact actualizations of freedom, when the content of these institutions is rational and the performance of our duties is a vehicle for our self-actualization.
TIME AND PLACE TENTATIVE; WILL BE FINALLY FIXED TO ACCORD WITH ALL THE STUDENTS' SCHEDULES ** DAVID BRAYBROOKE HAS ACCEPTED AN INVITATION TO SIT IN DURING MEETINGS OF THE SEMINAR**
Average of three essays, each 8- to 10-pages, adjusted for the quality of class participation.
Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, translated by Mary Gregor, Cambridge UP (1998) [ISBN 0-521-62695-1] Kant: Political Writings, edited by Hans Reiss, Cambridge UP (1997) [ISBN 0-521-39837-1] G.W.F. Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right, translated by H.B. Nisbet, Cambridge UP (1991) [ISBN 0-521-34888-9]