Latest Publications of Our Members | NEWS

Lucian Ionel, “Forms of Sensibility, or: Hegel on Human Capacities”, International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 2023

In his Philosophy of Mind, Hegel treats human sensibility differently in the sections on anthropology, phenomenology, and psychology. With the recent revival of Hegel’s work, there has been a lively debate about how to understand the progression from more primitive to more sophisticated human capacities. This paper differentiates three influential readings to that effect – the animals-first, the emancipatory, and the rational-first reading – and argues that they risk misconstruing mental development as a transition from one category of capacities to the other. The transition is rendered in terms of either accumulation, emancipation, or maturation. But this basic picture confuses the capacities characterizing us as a kind of animal, a kind of consciousness, and a conceptually self-conscious being. This paper explains how anthropology, phenomenology, and psychology articulate complementary, but irreducible categories of human capacities. The apparently more basic capacities are abstractable aspects of those that come later in the order of presentation. The distinct kinds of capacities do not stand separately on a three-step ladder of mental development but are aspects of one singular and synchronous development of the human mind. Their particular development is mutually dependent on each other but can be properly accounted for only in distinctive categorial terms.