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

27 Pages Posted: 10 May 2012

See all articles by Ivan Boldyrev

Ivan Boldyrev

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Carsten Herrmann-Pillath

Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies

Date Written: May 10, 2012

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.

Keywords: Hegel, performativity, extended mind, recognition, institutional economics, preferences

JEL Classification: B40, B49, B52, D03

Suggested Citation

Boldyrev, Ivan and Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten, Hegel’s 'Objective Spirit' and its Contemporary Relevance for the Philosophy of Economics (May 10, 2012). Higher School of Economics Research Paper No. WP BRP 05/HUM/2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2055646 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2055646

Ivan Boldyrev

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Carsten Herrmann-Pillath (Contact Author)

Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies ( email )

Nordhäuserstr. 74
Erfurt, 90228
Germany

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