Continental Philosophy Review

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 333–337 | Cite as

David V. Ciavatta: Spirit, the family, and the unconscious in Hegel’s philosophy

SUNY Press, 2009, 264 pp, $24.95 (paperback), ISBN: 9781438428703
  • Bruce GilbertEmail author

David Ciavatta argues that the family, which is a unique system of mutual recognition predicated on mostly unself-conscious affective bonds, is the original site for the cultivation of human freedom. In order to make this argument, Ciavatta draws not only on the relatively neglected Hegelian studies of the family, but also his even more neglected philosophy of feeling [Gefühl]. The emotional immediacy of familial experience is the ground upon which any and all forms of self-conscious moral, social and political life are founded. “The necessity of an unreflective domain of recognition is…tantamount,” Ciavatta says, “to the necessity of a familial realm that underlies all of our more developed, reflectively mediated involvements” (Ciavatta, 52).

Of course it is a commonplace to say, including in Hegel scholarship, that familial love and nurturance cultivate children into the kind of reflective adults capable of living full and responsible lives in civil society. Naturally, Ciavatta...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bishop’s UniversitySherbrooke (Lennoxville)Canada

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