Introduction-18

18. In connexion with the judgement of impulses, this dialectic appears in the following form: (a) As immanent and so positive, the determinations of the immediate will are good; thus man is said to be by nature good. (b) But, in so far as these determinations are natural and thus are in general opposed to freedom and the concept of mind, and hence negative, they must be uprooted, and so man is said to be by nature evil.—At this point a decision in favour of either thesis depends equally on subjective arbitrariness.

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8 Responses to “Introduction-18”

  1. arybudhi Says:

    Here fundamentalist has a similar thesis that the determinations of the immediate will is neither good nor evil. But at this point a decision in favour of either thesis should not depend equally on unguided (in the will of God) subjective arbitrariness.

  2. Anu Says:

    The previous paragraph states that the arbitrary will operates on a dialectic of impulses. Thus the impulses operate in mutually opposing ways. This paragraph tells us what these ways are. In as much as the will simply acts on its impulses, it is a present force, a positive one. Thus it can be said to be good. However, the same unrestricted and arbitrary action can also be in result contradictory to freedom, reason and the concept of mind. Thus, the will acting on its finite content results in discontentment and consequences that are negative and undesirable. Thus the actions of the finite will generate an irresolvable dilemma because both the opposing facts are equally true. Whatever be the manner in which this dilemma is sought to be resoled hence is subject to pure subjective arbitrariness as the dialectic in such form is not resolvable within the will itself. The larger project that Hegel undertakes is to generate a system of thought that is able to comprehend this, and comprehend it in such a manner that the understanding itself allows a grasping of the truth, and thus a resolution of the dilemma. My own take away from this method that Hegel offers is to proceed to think of any problem that presents itself to us in such impasse, through a similar ingenuity. For example, if the concept of rights have an implicit appeal and incomprehension at the same time in the manner in which it plays out in our social world, how does one comprehend this dialectic? What generates it, and how does one arrive at the ‘truth’ of the phenomena such that neither components of the dialectic that are mutually negating, are annulled, but are contained in a superior form within the manner in which the dialectic finds resolution?

  3. P Says:

    What is the dialectics of impulses that will reveal what the concept of arbitrary will? The dialectics arises from inherent contradictions in the procedures of the understanding. These contradictions are the inherent connections as well. The impulses appear to be immanent and positive when the determinations of the immediate will are good. Which implies that man is by nature good. Or, they may appear negative, as they are opposed to freedom and the concept of mind. Therefore, man could also be by nature evil. This explains the arbitrary nature of the will. A resolution is dependent on the subjective conditions.

  4. P Says:

    What is the dialectics of impulses that will reveal the concept of arbitrary will?*

  5. avishek Says:

    Response for 16, 17, 18:

    Preference and freedom are at times contrasted with each other in terms of their respective contents and demands. Freedom per se is a matter of the size of the set from which one can choose, whereas preference is a matter of the element one would choose from each given set. It is at this point that Hegel’s intervention seeks to embed liberal freedoms and institutions in a larger and more exalted conception of the rational nature and destiny of human beings in terms of choice.

    According to Hegel, the varied institutions of civil society acculturates the citizen-subject, enable him/her to through his/her own choices. He tangibly accounts for a theory of determination or the process of choice at the time when the ‘content’ of t will is finite. Impulses and inclinations, for Hegel, dialectically define the oppositional way in which the arbitrary will works. When it works in accordance to impulses, freedom and reason it is generally supposed to good, but bad/ evil when otherwise.

    However the trace of this Hegelian dilemma can be located in Sen’s ‘Social choice and individual behaviour’ (Ch-11, in Development As Freedom) where he argues for believing in ‘the possibility of reasoned progress’, though he leaves unresolved the issue of why, in spite of several centuries of public debate, the world – and the real world of democracy in particular – is mired in capability deprivation. Despite all the subtlety at his command, Sen does not face the fact that there can be a conflict between his espousal of the value of freedom as process, and his advocacy of freedom as the ability to achieve the functioning needed for a truly human life or reach the frontier of the capability set. How could it (still) happen within that proud procedural democracy that the African Americans effectively disfranchised? Had they simply not bothered to vote? Did they not know that they could vote and try to change the situation? Or did they vote and elected the leaders and accepted the existing dispensation, and their hunger, homelessness and lack of respect from the rest of society as the price of procedural democracy? In the context of politics the dialectical conflict can be seen as that between procedural democracy and substantive (abstract?) democracy.

  6. wing-kwong Says:

    Here, Hegel is trying to resolve the question concerning the “judgment of impulses” in a dialectic way. Again, he is trying to solve the binary opposition of two ways of seeing “freedom.” These two different kinds of philosophies have opposite perspectives on the relationship between “desire” and “freedom” and therefore have opposite takes on the question about “human nature”. On the one side are people like Hobbes or Fries, who see the spontaneous and immediate desire to be good and take the satisfaction of these desires as freedom. Therefore, for these people, man is by nature good. On the other side are people like Kant or Rousseau. In the instance of Rousseau, he makes an opposition between “natural man” and “civilized man”. And for Kant, the satisfaction of any kind of immediate desire is opposed to freedom. Only fulfilling of duty is considered as freedom. Therefore, here man is seen as by natural evil. For Hegel, a decision in favor of each of these two theses on human nature will be equally one-sided and “depend on subjective arbitrariness.”(Knowles, 2002)

    Is it true that we can also find the resonance in Amartya Sen’s argument about freedom and justice? We can also find that on both sides of the opponents that he is critiquing are in a sense similar to Hegel’s argument. One is the utilitarian thoughts that seek to maximize the utilities or, in another word, to satisfy the desires. The other opponent is the Rawlsian, or say proceduralist, thoughts. Sen also thinks that it is necessary to accommodate “both” the “means” and “ends.” However, I find that in Sen’s further argument in the economic terms, the “ends” or “utilities” are in a sense predetermined. Therefore, although he defines development as freedom, when it comes to examples, I still find his view on development very narrow.

  7. Nalini Says:

    What is the meaning of evil? Impulses are good for one to have. Impulses are not really negative in the broad sense of the term- they restrict the mind in so far as binding it to a particular course of action.

  8. Udayakumar Says:

    Hegel foregrounds his original assumptions about natural will and human impulses. By employing the same syllogism he arrives at the proposition that man by nature has to free himself. Since the individual human being is a free agency, his collectivity has to be redeemed out the resultant chaos. This is similar to the Christian doctrine of the original sin. This entry is a perfect illustration of the dialectics of impulses.

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