Freedom and Reflection: Hegel and the Logic of Agency

ISBN : 9780199794522

Christopher Yeomans
292 ページ
163 x 236 mm

There are many insightful discussions of Hegel's practical philosophy that emphasize the uniqueness of his expressivist and social theory of agency, but few recognize that these two aspects of Hegel's theory of the will are insufficient to avoid the traditional problem of free will. In fact, the problem can easily be shown to recur in the very language used to express why Hegel's theory is a theory of freedom at all. In part, this lack of recognition results from the fact that there has not yet been a study of Hegel's theory of the will that has formulated the problem against the background of the contemporary literature on free will, where basic concerns about the explicability of action loom large. By using the continuity between the contemporary concerns and those of Hegel's predecessors (particularly Kant), Yeomans shows the necessity of reference to the Logic in order to supplement Hegel's own practical philosophy and the scholarship based on it. In addition to adding significantly to our understanding of Hegel's theory of agency and recapturing its significance with respect to continuing modern reflection on free will, this study also shows that Hegel's Logic can do some real philosophical work on a specific problem. Though Hegel's logical terminology is notorious for its impenetrability, Yeomans translates Hegel's jargon into a more easily comprehensible vocabulary. He further helps the reader by providing introductory discussions framing the central issues of each chapter both in terms of the problem of free will and in terms of the development of Hegel's argument to that point in the Logic. Presenting the reader with frequent use of examples, Yeomans leavens the abstractness of Hegel's presentation and makes the topic accessible to readers new to Hegel as well as those well versed in his work.


Part I: Introduction
Chapter 1: Hegel and Free Will
1.1: Hegel and the Traditional Problem of Free Will
1.2: Hegel's Theory of Free Will
Chapter 2: The Problem of Expression as the Problem of Reflection
2.1: Introduction
2.2: Internal and External Determination in the Doctrine of Being
2.3: Internal and External Determination in the Concept of Reflection
2.4: Elements of the Theory of Reflection in Hegel's Moral Psychology
2.5: The Shape of the Project
Part II: Agency as Self-Explanation
Chapter 3: The Externality of Explanations and the Problem of an Infinite Regress
Chapter 4: Self-Explanation as the Basic Form of Explanation
4.1: Ground as Expression
4.2: Internal and External Determination in Explanations
4.3: The Argument for Explanation as a Three-Term Relation
4.4: The Role of Conditions as the Third Term in Explanation
4.5: The Infection of Internality by the Conditions
4.6: Holism about Explanation
Chapter 5: The Agent as a Locus of Self-Explanation
Part III: Agency as True Necessity
Chapter 6: The Necessity of Action and the Problem of Alternate Possibilities
Chapter 7: Modality in Hegel's Logic
7.1: Modality as the Structure of Self-Expression
7.2: Contingency as a Unity of Actuality and Possibility
7.3: The Modal Continuum
7.4: The Necessity of Alternate Possibilities
Chapter 8: Agency as True Necessity
8.1: Willkur and Wille
8.2: The Modal Argument for Hegel's Conception of the Free Will
Part IV: Agency as Teleological Reciprocal Interaction
Chapter 9: The Mechanistic Challenge and the Problem of Passivity
Chapter 10: Teleology, Mechanism and Causation
10.1: The Question of Priority
10.2: Productivity as Expression
10.3: Freedom as Substance-Causation
10.4: The Passivity of Mechanical Causation
10.5: Causation as Reciprocal Interaction
10.6: Reciprocal Interaction as Freedom
10.7: The Teleological Form of Reciprocal Self-Determination
Chapter 11: Teleological Agency
11.1: Arguments Against Determinism
11.2: A Teleological Philosophy of Action
Chapter 12: Conclusion


Christopher Yeomans is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Purdue University. He works on Hegel and late modern philosophy, and in the philosophy of action.