P.S. I grant that this post has little to do with the law of evidence. Or?
Monday, October 04, 2010
Hegel on Wall Street -- or in Left Field?
It's nice to see that the New York Times is publishing serious philosophical stuff -- see J.M. Bernstein Hegel on Wall Street NYTimes (Oct. 3, 2010) -- but methinks Hegelian ethics and politics -- like Hegelian metaphysics -- just will not fly. True, for some purposes (e.g., tort law) human beings perhaps "intend" more than the subjective intentions they have in their heads when they act. But unless omniscience and omnipotence are ascribed to human actors, human beings do not "intend," "want," or "affirm" all of the consequences precipitated by their actions. Hegelian theory offers no principled basis for drawing the line between those consequences of human actions that may be attributed to human actors and those consequences that are not properly viewed as having been chosen by an individual actor. Hegel's notion of "tacit will" may be a majestic conceptual or philosophical effort -- but it is in the end a failure because it merely restates the problem of ascription and responsibility instead of solving it. (In fairness to Hegel: Perhaps this is the fate of all philosophical analyses of individual responsibility.)