AGENCY AND PRACTICAL IDENTITY: A HEGELIAN RESPONSE TO KORSGAARD

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Abstract

Abstract: This article argues that Christine Korsgaard's stimulating claim that practical identity is at the foundation of agency is weakened by her reliance on a Kantian conception of freedom. The commitments that make up our practical identity are, the article suggests, better described through a system like Hegel's that attends to the nature of and connection among different kinds of commitments. Beginning with such an analysis allows us better to describe human agency; it also enables us to reflect the place commitments have in our lives more accurately. Hegel offers a description of ethical life in which commitments are central but still subject to norms that themselves better allow humans to achieve concrete freedom.

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