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Hegel’s “Objective Spirit”, extended mind, and the institutional nature of economic action

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  • Ivan Boldyrev

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  • Carsten Herrmann-Pillath

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Abstract

This paper explores the implications of the recent revival of Hegel studies for the philosophy of economics. We argue that Hegel’s theory of Objective Spirit anticipates many elements of modern approaches in cognitive sciences and of the philosophy of mind, which adopt an externalist framework. In particular, Hegel pre-empts the theories of social and distributed cognition. The pivotal elements of Hegelian social ontology are the continuity thesis, the performativity thesis, and the recognition thesis, which, when taken together, imply that all mental processes are essentially dependent on externalizations, with the underlying pattern of actions being performative. In turn, performative action is impossible without mutual recognition in an intersubjective domain. We demonstrate the implications for economic theory in sketching an externalist approach to institutions and preferences. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Fondazione Rosselli in its journal Mind & Society.

Volume (Year): 12 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (November)
Pages: 177-202

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Handle: RePEc:spr:minsoc:v:12:y:2013:i:2:p:177-202

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Related research

Keywords: Hegel; Performativity; Extended mind; Recognition; Institutional economics; Preferences; B40; B49; B52; D03;

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  1. Searle, John R., 2005. "What is an institution?," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 1-22, June.
  2. Vernon L. Smith, 2003. "Constructivist and Ecological Rationality in Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 465-508, June.
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  8. Hodgson, Geoffrey M., 2004. "Reclaiming habit for institutional economics," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 651-660, October.
  9. John B. Davis, 2007. "Akerlof and Kranton on identity in economics: inverting the analysis," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 31(3), pages 349-362, May.
  10. Boldyrev, Ivan A. & Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten, 2012. "Moral sentiments, institutions, and civil society: Exploiting family resemblances between Smith and Hegel to resolve some conceptual issues in Sen's recent contributions to the theory of justice," Frankfurt School - Working Paper Series 193, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.
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  12. Sugden, Robert, 2000. "Team Preferences," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(02), pages 175-204, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Carsten Herrmann-Pillath, 2014. "Naturalizing Institutions: Evolutionary Principles and Application on the Case of Money," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 234(2-3), pages 388-421, April.

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