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John McDowell’s Germans

John McDowell’s Germans

Chapter:
(p.63) 3 John McDowell’s Germans
Source:
Interanimations
Author(s):
Robert B. Pippin
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226259796.003.0003

The central issue in John McDowell’s understanding of Kant and Hegel (and in his own work) is the right way to understand at the highest level of generality the relation between active or spontaneous thought and our receptive and corporeal sensibility and bodily embodiment. For McDowell this problem involves both the question of how thought informs our sensibility and of how thought could be said to inform, to be active in, bodily movement. There are two main areas of disagreement discussed in this chapter: (i) how to state the role of concepts and especially conceptual activity in the sensible uptake of the world and (ii) what to make of Hegel’s claim for a speculative ‘identity’ between inner and outer in action, or how to state the role of intentions in bodily activity. In both cases, McDowell thinks I have not properly stated the issue and have misread the Hegelian version of it. This chapter summarizes past exchanges and offers a further response to the objections.

Keywords:   spontaneity, passivity, nature, skepticism, Jonathan Lear, Ludwig Wittgenstein, normative authority, Geist, self-legislation, normative authority

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