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dc.contributor.advisorKorsgaard, Christine M.
dc.contributor.authorHatch, Chandler Abram
dc.date.accessioned2022-03-18T04:22:26Z
dash.embargo.terms2024-03-17
dc.date.created2022
dc.date.issued2022-03-17
dc.date.submitted2022-03
dc.identifier.citationHatch, Chandler Abram. 2022. The General Will: Rousseau, Kant, and Hegel. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
dc.identifier.other28963771
dc.identifier.urihttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37371141*
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation argues that a central, guiding aim in the political philosophy of Rousseau, Kant, and Hegel was to produce an account of the general will, and that the accounts of the general will in Kant and Hegel are each aimed at improving upon their predecessors’ accounts. Moreover, reading Kant’s and Hegel this way yields compelling answers to thorny interpretive questions. In the first chapter, I argue for a novel interpretation of Rousseau’s general will as combining two elements often separated in the Rousseau literature: a publicly shared conception of the common good and a collective procedure whereby all participate in determining the general will. Together these constitute a collectively shared capacity to act in pursuit of the common good. Kant’s version of the general will, I argue, aims to overcome the difficulty that it seems almost impossible to realize a publicly shared conception of the common good and Rousseau’s prescribed collective procedure in the modern state. Kant’s solution is that each is to be found not empirically, but as part of an idea of reason. I argue that reading Kant's argument as a refinement of Rousseau's offers an answer to the vexed question of the derivation of the Universal Principle of Right (UPR): The argument for UPR is simply a specified form of the argument for the Categorical Imperative from the Groundwork and the 2nd Critique in which freedom has been specified as external freedom. But Kant’s idea of reason cannot be exhibited empirically, and hence, our participation in legislation is discovered in philosophical reflection and not in experience. This is part of what Hegel is referring to in describing Kantian morality as a mere ought. Hegel thinks that construing morality as a mere ought leads to several tensions within morality. I provide an interpretation of several of the specific tensions Hegel outlines in the Encyclopedia. A proper understanding these tensions, I argue, helps us better understand Hegel’s famous formalism objection. Hegel’s point, I argue, is not that Kant’s formal principle cannot tell us what to do in any particular circumstances, but that it requires the input of (from a rational perspective) arbitrary particular circumstances to yield any verdicts. Such verdicts, he claims, fall short of complete rationality, and the actions they endorse fall short of complete freedom. I offer an interpretation of Hegel’s own version of the general will that responds to Kant’s by attempting to show how an idea of reason can, and indeed must be an object of experience. Such an idea, like Anselm’s concept of God, necessitates its own existence. Hegel illustrates what such an idea would be by describing various kinds of being that approximate it. I examine in particular organisms; self-conscious, mutually recognizing individuals; and persons. I argue that the state achieves a kind of self-necessitation that these previous kinds of being lacked. Having shown how Hegel conceives of the state as an empirically existent idea of reason, I turn to the question of why participation in the life of the state or ethical life is rational for us or from our practical perspective. I argue that Hegel returns to Rousseau’s thought that the general will is mine less because it belongs to me than because I belong to it. However, in returning to this thought, Hegel rejects Rousseau’s commitment to direct participation in legislation. I offer an interpretation of Hegel’s argument for an organic division of responsibilities as more rational than equal participation.
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoen
dash.licenseLAA
dc.subjectfreedom
dc.subjectgeneral will
dc.subjectHegel
dc.subjectKant
dc.subjectpolitical
dc.subjectRousseau
dc.subjectPhilosophy
dc.titleThe General Will: Rousseau, Kant, and Hegel
dc.typeThesis or Dissertation
dash.depositing.authorHatch, Chandler Abram
dash.embargo.until2024-03-17
dc.date.available2022-03-18T04:22:26Z
thesis.degree.date2022
thesis.degree.grantorHarvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
thesis.degree.levelDoctoral
thesis.degree.namePh.D.
dc.contributor.committeeMemberBoyle, Matthew
dc.contributor.committeeMemberStanczyk, Lucas
dc.type.materialtext
thesis.degree.departmentPhilosophy
dc.identifier.orcid0000-0002-3277-3580
dash.author.emailqiandele@gmail.com


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