Volume 14, 2018
History of Philosophy
On the Current Relevance of Hegel’s Conception of Freedom
Despite the bad reputation that Hegel’s thought has always enjoyed regarding the respect for individual rights, his conception of freedom has shown an unexpected and permanent relevance. I think this is due to the level of complexity with which Hegel explains the problem of freedom. In this paper I will try to develop Hegel’s thesis, according to which freedom is conceived simultaneously as a set and a process of determinations of the will. To illustrate the thesis, I will use two concrete examples. First, in order to show the objective structure of the determinations of freedom, I will refer to the debate between communitarians and liberals in recent ethical and political philosophy, trying to show why both positions refer, in some way, to a lower level of complexity than the one presented by Hegel. Then, with the aim of showing the current relevance of the notion of freedom as a progressive experience of the acquisition of its own determinations, I will take as an example the interpretation offered by Axel Honneth in his book Leiden an Unbestimmtheit.