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remembering bob williams
11. The Owl of Minerva: Volume > 49 > Issue: 1/2
Giacomo Rinaldi Remembering the Hegelian Philosopher Robert R. Williams
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12. The Owl of Minerva: Volume > 49 > Issue: 1/2
George di Giovanni One More Note on the Translation of Hegel's Science of Logic
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13. The Owl of Minerva: Volume > 49 > Issue: 1/2
New Books
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14. The Owl of Minerva: Volume > 49 > Issue: 1/2
Recent Dissertations
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15. The Owl of Minerva: Volume > 49 > Issue: 1/2
HSA 25th Biennial Conference: Hegel, Tragedy, and Comedy
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hegel and constructivism
16. The Owl of Minerva: Volume > 48 > Issue: 1/2
Kenneth R. Westphal Hegel, Natural Law & Moral Constructivism
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This paper argues that Hegel’s Philosophical Outlines of Justice develops an incisive natural law theory by providing a comprehensive moral theory of a modern republic. Hegel’s Outlines adopt and augment a neglected species of moral constructivism which is altogether neutral about moral realism, moral motivation, and whether reasons for action are linked ‘internally’ or ‘externally’ to motives. Hegel shows that, even if basic moral norms and institutions are our artefacts, they are strictly objectively valid because for our very finite form of semi-rational embodied agency they are necessary and because sufficient justifying grounds for these norms and institutions can be addressed to all persons. Hegel’s moral constructivism identifies and justifies the core content of a natural law theory, without invoking metaphysical issues of moral realism, anti-realism, irrealism or ‘truth makers’ (of moral propositions), etc. I begin with Socrates’ question to Euthyphro to distinguish between moral realism and moral irrealism (§2). I then summarise basic points of constructivist method (§3) and how Hume’s theory of justice inaugurates this distinctive species of natural law constructivism (§4). How this approach addresses issues of political legitimacy is highlighted by Rousseau’s juridical innovation (§5). How this approach is better articulated and justified by Kant’s specifically Critical method is briefly considered in connection with his justification of rights to possession (§6), so that we can then recognise Hegel’s natural law constructivism in his Outlines (§7). Hegel’s account of rights to possession corresponds closely to Kant’s (§8), and his account of juridical relations as human interrelations accords with natural law constructivism (§9). This finding is corroborated by some central features of Hegel’s account of Sittlichkeit, including how Hegel adopts, undergirds and augments Rousseau’s and Kant’s Independence Requirement for political legitimacy (§10).
17. The Owl of Minerva: Volume > 48 > Issue: 1/2
Mark Alznauer Is Hegel a Natural Law Constructivist?
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In a series of impressive articles, Kenneth Westphal argues that Hegel should be understood as a natural law constructivist. In this essay, I examine what Westphal means by this, showing that any such position requires postulating rights or duties that exist prior to the formation of political institutions. I show that Hegel consistently denies the existence of any such natural rights or duties and conclude that he must have a fundamentally different, non-foundationalist conception of the fundamental task of moral philosophy.
18. The Owl of Minerva: Volume > 48 > Issue: 1/2
William E. Conklin, F.R.S.C. Hegel and a Third Theory of Law
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Kenneth Westphal, in his “Hegel, Natural Law & Moral Constructivism,” offers an argument to the effect that Hegel elaborated a theory of natural law. Westphal contrasts such a natural law with positivism. Such a contrast holds out an either-or prospect: either Hegel is a legal positivist or he is a natural law thinker. I ask whether it is possible that Hegel elaborated a third theory of law other than that of positivism or of natural law. In addressing this possibility, I first raise a problem in Westphal’s adoption of Hegel’s regressive argument. The ultimate justification, according to Westphal, is an a priori concept: namely, the equal rational will. I then exemplify the importance of the problem when a constitutional lawyer identifies intermediate principles justifiable with reference to such a final referent of justification. The problem raises the prospect that Hegel’s theory of law has elements of both natural law and positivist law. Section 3 highlights the need to situate any natural law claim in the particular ethos of the movement of legal consciousness through the experience of time.
19. The Owl of Minerva: Volume > 48 > Issue: 1/2
Jovan Babić Primacy of Factuality: Remarks on Kenneth Westphal’s "Hegel, Natural Law & Moral Constructivism"
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I begin my comment on Westphal’s study by exploring briefly his refutation of “the arbitrariness thesis,” and then focusing on the “conditio humanae,” i.e. the conditions of life as freedom realized in common life. As I understand it, coordination and cooperation among persons are required because employing freedom in the presence of others presupposes an act of recognition that acknowledges a priori the necessity of universal respect. The right to use and possess things within the institution of property is an illustrative example of this necessity. Justice requires possession not in the form of some equal distribution (which is a matter of contingency) but as a normative requirement that “everyone shall have property.” One must have property in order to enter the world of inter-subjectivity and become a person. This has important implications for determining how poverty is related to the validity of laws, which depends on the joint legislative will of all persons.
20. The Owl of Minerva: Volume > 48 > Issue: 1/2
Stuart Toddington The Moral Truth about Normative Constructivism
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Kenneth Westphal provides here a masterful evolutionary account of Normative Constructivism in its classical development, which encompasses Hobbes, Hume, Kant and Rousseau, and culminates in Hegel’s vision of Sittlichkeit. In the process of endorsing the comprehensive moral anthropology of the latter, Westphal rejects the essentialist/objectivist rhetoric of Plato’s Euthyphro and invokes Hume’s alternative to Moral Realism, which is articulated in the view that what might appear “artificial” and “conventional” in our understanding of the rules (norms) of Justice does not necessarily imply that these rules are thus arbitrary. Westphal advocates a metaphysically agnostic Normative Constructivism, which separates our claims to what, on the one hand, is deemed to be morally factual, and on the other, is simply morally relevant. Whilst I acknowledge that this separation of claims is not only possible, but necessary, I argue that it is not, in any critically viable sense, consistent with the rejection of moral objectivism.