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The universal will as final end. On Hegel’s moral conception of the human mind between Aristotelian naturalism and Kantianism

Hannes Gustav Melichar


Neo-Aristotelian metaethics is conceived as a suitable alternative to a Kantian-style ethics. Instead of grounding moral duties in practical reason and an abstract and categorical imperative, the appeal to the concept of human nature promises a rich and detailed picture of virtues and vices. As an objection by John McDowell indicates, practical reason turns out to be crucial for the concept of human nature as well. In Hegel’s philosophy of the subjective spirit, we can find an early attempt to combine the Kantian and the Aristotelian approaches. The attempt is still interesting because of the interpretation of human faculties as directed towards the capacity for practical reasoning. This paper presents Hegel’s argument as the attempt to transcendentalize the concept of human nature and as offering a synthetic metaethical stance. 


human nature, categorical imperative, teleology of the mind, Hegel

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