Classical german philosophy. University of Padova research group

hpd – Holidays: Luca Corti, “The ‘Is’ and the ‘Ought’ of the Animal Organism: Hegel’s Account of Biological Normativity” («History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences volume», 44, 17/2022)

hegelpd takes a summer holiday. In this period we will be sharing recent essays and reviews by our research group. 


We are pleased to share the essay The ‘Is’ and the ‘Ought’ of the Animal Organism: Hegel’s Account of Biological Normativity, by Luca Corti, published in «History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences» (44, 17/2022).


Here below you can find the abstract of the text:

This paper investigates Hegel’s account of the animal organism as it is presented in the Philosophy of Nature, with a special focus on its normative implications. I argue that the notion of “organisation” is fundamental to Hegel’s theory of animal normativity. The paper starts by showing how a Hegelian approach takes up the scientific image of organism and assigns a basic explanatory role to the notion of “organisation” in its understanding living beings. Moving from this premise, the paper turns to the group of accounts in contemporary theoretical biology known as “organisational accounts” (OA), which offer a widely debated strategy for naturalizing teleology and normativity in organisms. As recent scholarship recognizes, these accounts explicitly rely on insights from Kant and Post-Kantianism. I make the historical and conceptual argument that Hegel’s view of the organism shares several basic commitments with OAs, especially regarding the notion of “organisational closure”. I assess the account of normativity that such accounts advance and its implications for how we approach Hegel. Finally, I argue that the notion of “organisation” is more fundamental to Hegel’s theory of animal normativity than the Aristotelian notion of “Gattung” or “species”, which by contrast appears derivative – at least in the Philosophy of Nature and the Lectures – and does not play the central role in his account maintained by some scholars.


You can download the pdf of the essay from the button below.


Contents licensed by CC BY-NC-ND. Your are free to share, copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format, under the following terms:

  • Attribution - You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
  • NonCommercial - You may not use the material for commercial purposes.
  • NoDerivatives - If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material.

The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms.

Article's url: https://www.hegelpd.it/hegel/hpd-holidays-luca-corti-the-is-and-the-ought-of-the-animal-organism-hegels-account-of-biological-normativity-history/