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Inhabiting the Ethical Life: Habit and Trust in Hegel’s Philosophy

Elisa Magrì


This paper explores the relation between habit and ethical life in Hegel’s philosophy drawing on both Hegel’s Philosophy of Subjective Spirit and the Philosophy of Right. For Hegel, habituality underlies the constitution of dispositions, including the sense of belonging to the the community and the state that is distinctive of ethical life. However, habit in itself does not suffice to motivate or to justify trust in the state. In this light, I reconsider the difference between habit and trust in ethical life by looking at the specific nexus that holds together institutions and citizens. This will lead to a reconsideration of ethical life as a form of inhabiting the social and political dimension that is informed by conscious acknowledgment and appropriation. Accordingly, I argue that while habituality in the Anthropology is crucial for the cultivation of sensibility, ethical trust involves the cultivation


habit; trust; ethical life; Hegel; dispositions

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