Riccardo Martinelli

Character and «natural aptitude» («Naturell») in Kant's and Hegel's Anthropology

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Character; Naturell; Philosophical Anthropology; Kant; Hegel.

Within the flourishing anthropological literature of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the deepest kernel of the human character is often referred to as «natural aptitude» ("das Naturell"). Exemplified by several literary sources and by the so-called «natural logic» of the late German scholastic philosophy, this conceptual framework can be detected both in Kant's "Pragmatic anthropology" and Hegel's "Philosophy of the subjective Spirit". In Kant's view, the «natural disposition» of the human being is a quiet and compliant good-mindedness, which the strong-willed person turns into a positively good character. Though it ultimately depends on a free individual choice, the human character has an unfathomable «natural basis» also for Hegel. Far from indulging in a moralistic reprobation of the lowest instinctual core of the human character, both philosophers address the thorny question of how to match this natural disposition with the higher instances of a truly moral character.

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