Environmental Philosophy

Volume 19, Issue 1, Spring 2022

Christopher D. DiBona
Pages 23-44

Listening to Nature’s Voices: Human and Animal Autonomy in Hegel

This article reconstructs Hegel’s account of nature’s autonomy and argues for its significance for his understanding of human autonomy and the relation between nature and spirit. It argues that Hegel treats the actualization of nature’s autonomy—epitomized by the phenomena of animal voice and birdsong—as a vital component of the actualization of free human spirit. Drawing on this analysis, the article then offers an ecological gloss on Hegel’s interest in the progressive actualization of freedom in the modern world. It concludes by sketching a Hegelian account of what it might mean to listen to nature’s voices.