Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thom Brooks on "Does Bevir's The Logic of the History of Ideas Improve Our Understanding of Hegel's Philosophy of Right?"

Thom Brooks, "Does Bevir's The Logic of the History of Ideas Improve Our Understanding of Hegel's Philosophy of Right?" The European Legacy 11(7) (2006): 765-74. (subscription-only)

Abstract:

Mark Bevir's The Logic of the History of Ideas has received considerable attention recently. This article highlights a new problem with his weak intentionalism. Bevir's weak intentionalism holds that on occasion the meanings readers ascribe to texts may trump the meanings the authors express in texts. The article uses the example of Hegel's theory of punishment. The received wisdom is that Hegel is a pure retributivist. Yet, this strays far from his text and stated views. We might think we should keep to this text to uncover Hegel's views. However, Bevir's weak intentionalism has us side with how he has been read over what Hegel has said. This view is problematic as our meanings may well stray far from the texts, words or spirit. Thus, Bevir's weak intentionalism can fall victim to straying from the text when trying to interpret it.

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