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Hegel on Conscience

Sung, Chang gi 1

1서울대학교 철학과

Accredited

ABSTRACT

One of the interpretive common notions concerning Hegel’s philosophyof right is that he prioritizes the state or the community over the freedomof the individual. One mode of such interpretation is related to his discussionof conscience as the subject of free moral judgment. According to it, Hegelis thought to argue that the authority of the state must precede the individual’sconscience and the latter could only be respected in so far as it obeys thelaw recognized by the state. I attempt to argue against this current understandingby reinterpretating his theory of conscience. I argue that Hegelacknowledges the significance of conscience and conscience, or, the individual’sfree moral judgment is preserved after the transition to EthicalLife. The important thing in particular here is a different understanding ofthe dual structure of conscience and of the ‘Aufhebung’ of Morality byEthical Life. Hegel seeks to overcome the limitations of its formal aspectof subjective certainty by the concept of true conscience and to its objectivity. It is therefore not the conscience as such, but its individualistic shape, theformal one, that is abolished within Ethical Life. This interpretation of conscience, situated in the link of Morality and Ethical Life, plays an essentialrole in understanding the thought of the relation of right and morality, ofsocial institutions and individuals.

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