October 12th: Thursday Night Philosophy Workshop: Julia Peters on “Hegel and the Problem of Bodily Expression"
Thursday, October 12, 2017 → more dates through October 12, 2017
Thursday, October 12, 2017
Wolff Conference Room, Albert and Vera List Academic Center 6 East 16th Street, New York, NY 10003, Room D1103
JULIA PETERS is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Tübingen, Germany. Her research interests include Kant’s moral philosophy, German Idealist philosophy (especially Hegel), aesthetics and moral philosophy.
She is the author of Hegel on Beauty (2015); she has also published articles on Kant and Hegel in the European Journal of Philosophy, the British Journal for the History of Philosophy and the Journal of the History of Philosophy (among other periodicals).
Hegel returns to the theme of human bodily expression repeatedly throughout his writings. While his early Phenomenology of Spirit offers a scathing criticism of contemporary physiognomy and phrenology, his later works contain a more nuanced view of the expressive capacities of the human body. In his late philosophy of mind, Hegel is particularly concerned with the question of how mental states which involve complex intellectual and social capacities, such as moral emotions, come to be expressed in the human body. This talk takes Hegel’s discussion of human bodily expression in his late philosophy of mind as a prism through which to approach a central question raised by Hegel’s philosophy: the question of how, for Hegel, spirit and reason on the one hand relate to nature on the other hand. I suggest that Hegel’s account of human bodily expression shows in paradigmatic fashion how he attempts to find a theoretical space between dualism and naturalistic reductionism. Furthermore, I argue that there are reasons to believe that this attempt fails: ultimately, the phenomenon of human bodily expression therefore emerges as a problem for Hegel which puts into question his central philosophical ambitions.
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