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The Polyvalency of Schuld in Hegel’s Morality: A Contribution to Translation Studies about a Fundamental Concept of Hegel’s Philosophy of Action

Giulia Battistoni


The essay focuses on the different meanings and translations of a fundamental concept of Hegel’s action theory, i.e. Schuld, as it is discussed in the Morality Chapter of his Philosophy of Right. Firstly, I will introduce the main meanings of the concept in the 19th century in Germany in order to clarify the historical grounds of its ambiguity (1); secondly, I will discuss the meanings of Schuld as it is understood by Hegel in his action theory. Given point 1, I will refer i.a. to its meaning of culpa, bringing light to passages of Hegel’s text that have never been clarified by research up to now; I will distinguish this meaning from that of moral responsibility (2). This will lead, lastly, to a metareflection – intrinsic to philosophical praxis – on translation of philosophical concepts: the role of translators as mediators between two cultures proves to be essential, giving the reader the opportunity to understand the terminological richness of a concept, like that of Schuld (3).


Hegel; Morality; Schuld; Action theory; Translation studies

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