Translating Convictions into a Clear Conscience: Some Thoughts on Dean Moyar's "Hegel's Conscience"

The Owl of Minerva 43 (1/2):107-123 (2011)
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Although many scholars have recognized the pivotal importance that the notion of conscience plays in Hegel’s thought, much of the scholarship surrounding this notion has remained piecemeal. Dean Moyar’s book Hegel’s Conscience breaks new ground on this subject in offering a comprehensive analysis of the indispensable role that conscience plays in Hegel’s philosophy, demonstrating not only its foundational place for Hegel’s approach to ethics, but also the contemporary relevancy of Hegel’s account for understanding the performative character of practical reason. Despite the novelty and intellectual rigor of Moyar’s position, my essay “Translating Convictions into a Clear Conscience” argues that in confining his approach to a “cognitivist” interpretation of conscience, Moyar ends up neglecting the richness and existential depth of Hegel’s discussion. And so although Moyar’s interpretation is clear, succinct, and plausible, it accomplishes this by overlooking much of Hegel’s original phenomenological fidelity to the actual experience of conscience.



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