Konrad Utz
Universidade Federal do Ceará
Some features of Hegel’s Philosophy of History make it hardly acceptable in the 21st century. It proposes a final destination (Endzweck) of history, together with a principle of rational, dialectic necessity to take it there. In fact, these conceptions are not as absurd as they may seem to contemporary eyes. Nevertheless, the article doesn’t pretend to defend them, but aims to show that there is, behind these two, a third principle which is well worth to be defended –and which, in fact, can systematically maintained without support from the other two. This we can call the “Principle of ethical asymmetry in history”. However, we also can name it by the formula Hegel himself coined: the “progress in the consciousness of liberty”. To explain this idea, the article evidences that the fundamental characteristic of all normativity is practical knowledge de se. In morality or ethics, this turns reflexive and self-determining. Liberty in Hegel’s sense effectively realizes this knowledge de se not only in a formal and abstract way, as in Kant, but concretely in history and in specific communities. However, since liberty in this process always remains linked to that normative self-comprehension which constitutes our practical self-consciousness, the processes of historical realization of liberty are normatively irreversible. Precisely for this process has an element of objective and unconditional aspect. The article concludes with some remarks as to how this principle of ethical asymmetry in history can serve as a basis of e new ethical theory which is strongly normative and, at the same time, sensitive to historic context an human finitude.
Keywords Hegel  Kant  Ethics  History  Liberty
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DOI 10.5007/1677-2954.2015v14n1p82
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