The conference is devoted to a critical examination of Robert Pippin’s Hegel’s Practical Philosophy: Rational Agency as Ethical Life – more specifically, to the model of agency Pippin’s ascribes to Hegel. For some 2 decades now, Pippin has advanced and defended a novel interpretation of Hegel as radicalizing Kant’s critical philosophy. In this book, Pippin presents Hegel’s account of freedom as rejecting most contemporary models of agency and freedom: e.g. voluntarism, incompatibilism, naturalist, and dualist. According to Pippin, Hegel conceives of agency, not as causal power, but as a social status, one maintained by practical and institutional forms of mutual recognition. Freedom is not, in the first instance, the absence of obstacles, the exercise of a causal power, or the possession of a social good. Instead, freedom is a social status, one in which the self-ascription and attribution of intentions is first made determinant, not prospectively by the individual agent but retrospectively within the social community. Against both liberalism and communitarianism, Hegel present a model of rational agency as ethical life, which makes freedom possible. Conference participants critically examine Pippin’s model of agency in terms of contemporary issues of critical social theory, philosophy of the social sciences, philosophy of mind, and political philosophy.
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