SHS Web Conf.
Volume 161, 202312th Kant-Readings International Conference “Kant and the Ethics of Enlightenment: Historical Roots and Contemporary Relevance”
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Section||Kant and the History of Enlightenment Ethics|
|Published online||08 March 2023|
Moral philosophy as an object of Hegel’s debate with Kant in The Phenomenology of Spirit
Belarusian State University, 4 Nezavisimostiy Av., 220030 Minsk, Belarus
* Corresponding author: email@example.com
The history of Hegel’s critical controversy with Kant’s moral philosophy starts with the Frankfurt period of his work, when Hegel first opposed what he believed to be Kant’s absolutisation of the concept of duty and his neglect of the social content of morality. Although Hegel more than once addressed Kant’s moral philosophy, it is only in “Phenomenology of Spirit” that he formulated a more systemic and radical criticism. The basis of his critical argumentation is an attempt to reveal the main contradiction in Kant’s ethics by showing that the fulfilment of unconditional moral requirements leads to the complete elimination of morality itself. By uncovering the internal contradictions in Kant’s unconditional duty, Hegel demonstrates a certain kind of pragmatism in the interpretation of moral duty and offers instead a religious faith in the transcendental power of “communal” consciousness, which will become a principle that supposedly removes all contradictions of a moral worldview. These debates between the two most prominent classics of German idealism on the issue of whether moral demands are universal in nature or are always socially determined, has not lost its significance even today. This is because they present two substantially different ethical doctrines: one affirms the idea of the autonomy of moral consciousness and its formal unconditional character, while the other assumes that a certain moral duty can be legitimate only under specific socio-historical conditions.
Key words: Hegel / Kant / Phenomenology of Spirit / Kantian ethics / contradictions / moral duty
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2023
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