The Reciprocity Thesis in Kant and Hegel

Alan Patten

in Hegel's Idea of Freedom

Published in print March 2002 | ISBN: 9780199251568
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598180 | DOI:
 The Reciprocity Thesis in Kant and Hegel

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Hegel shares in common with Kant an understanding of freedom as rational self‐determination. For Kant, this view of freedom implies that freedom and morality are reciprocal concepts: if you are free, then you are subject to morality, and vice versa. Although Hegel is famous for dismissing the Kantian formula for freedom/morality (the Categorical Imperative) as an ‘empty formalism’, he too endorses a version of the reciprocity thesis. The chapter reconstructs and defends Hegel's ‘empty formalism’ critique of Kant and it offers an interpretation of Hegel's own alternative strategy for establishing that freedom and ethical requirements are reciprocally connected.

Keywords: Categorical Imperative; ethics; freedom; Hegel; Kant; morality; reciprocity

Chapter.  9531 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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