Daniel Loick: “Expression of Contempt”. Hegel’s Critique of Legal Freedom

In this presentation, Loick shall argue for the thesis of the existence of pathologies of juridicism. He will attempt to show that the Western regime of right tends to colonize our intersubjective relations and thereby contributes to the formation of affective and habitual dispositions that actually hinder participation in social life. Citing the existence of “pathologies of juridicism” means to claim that the legal form fundamentally contaminates the way in which we relate to ourselves, to others, and to the world so that our (inter-) subjectivity becomes ethically deformed, distorted or deficient. To support this thesis he consults a philosopher, whose work thematizes in a central way the analysis and critique of juridicism, namely, Hegel.
Hegel provides an historic and a systematic theory for the pathologies of juridicism.  The historical theory specifies a date for the origin of abstract subjectivity of right, namely, Roman antiquity.  The systematic theory understands the negative effects of an absolutization of the legal domain, not as a historically closed-off pre-stage of modern ethical life, but rather as an ever-persistent danger of the failure of social integration and of an individual good life. Loick will attempt to clarify both of these argumentative prongs in two steps: He will first consider Hegel’s historical criticism as he presented it in his Lectures on the Philosophy of History, and then he will provide a systematic interpretation of Hegel’s critique of the subjectivity of right, as he presented it in the short chapter on the “Condition of Right’ in the Phenomenology of Spirit (1807).  In the end, Loick will argue that, although Hegel’s diagnosis is correct, his prescribed therapy must fail: instead of radically altering abstract right in terms of content and of form, it only recommends its complementation through other ethical spheres.

​Daniel Loick graduated in 2005 in philosophy, German studies and sociology at the Mercator University in Duisburg and at the Goethe University in Frankfurt. The same year he completed his Master studies with the work on ethics in Judith Butler’s work. During 2007/2008 he was Visiting Scholar at the Department of Philosophy, Stony Brook University, State University of New York. He defended his PhD in 2010 at Goethe University in Frankfurt, with a works on critical theory of sovereignty. Since 2010 he is a Research Fellow at the Department for social philosophy (Axel Honneth) at the Institute for Philosophy, Goethe University in Frankfurt. He spent 2012/2013 as a post-doctoral fellow at Mahindra Humanities Center, Harvard University. His research interests include political philosophy, philosophy of law and social philosophy, critical theory, post-structuralism, modern political theory, Jewish philosophy of the 20th century, political aesthetics.

The lecture is organized by the Group for Practical Philosophy and Social Ontology, IPST.