European Journal of Philosophy

Skip to Search

Skip to Navigation

Early View Articles

Hegel's real habits

Abstract Hegel frequently identifies ethical life with a “second nature.” This strategy has puzzled those who assume that second nature represents a deficient appearance of ethical life, one that needs to be overcome, supplemented, or constantly challenged. I argue that Hegel identifies ethical life with a second nature because he thinks that a social order only becomes a candidate for ethical life, if it provides a context conducive to the development of what I call “real habits.” First, I show that a criterion for a real habit can be found in Hegel's Anthropology, namely, that of liberation. Next, I explain how the state, as Hegel analyzes it in the Philosophy of Right, provides such an environment by enabling trust toward and within it. I then consider two literary examples of contexts that fail to be similarly supportive—Coates' Between the World and Me and Atwood's Handmaid's Tale—concluding with reasons for thinking that real habits are an integral part of ethical life.

Add This link

Bookmark and Share>