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Hegel’s “Objective Spirit” and its Contemporary Relevance for the Philosophy of Economics

Author

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  • Ivan Boldyrev

    () (National Research University Higher School of Economics)

  • Carsten Herrmann-Pillath

    () (East-West Centre for Business Studies and Cultural Science, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management)

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ivan Boldyrev & Carsten Herrmann-Pillath, 2012. "Hegel’s “Objective Spirit” and its Contemporary Relevance for the Philosophy of Economics," HSE Working papers WP BRP 05/HUM/2012, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hig:wpaper:05hum2012
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Hegel; performativity; extended mind; recognition; institutional economics; preferences.;

    JEL classification:

    • B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General
    • B49 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Other
    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

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