Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 July 2020
My aim in this paper is to show that and how animal organisms are appropriate subjects of normative evaluation, on Hegel's view. I contrast my reading with the interpretive positions of Sebastian Rand and Mark Alznauer. I disagree with Rand and agree with Alznauer that animal organisms are normatively evaluable for Hegel. I substantiate my disagreement with Rand, and supplement Alznauer's interpretation, by spelling out the role that the ‘generic process’ or ‘genus process [Gattungsprozess]’ plays within Hegel's account of animal organisms and their normative evaluability. In the course of my discussion, I highlight the main differences that Hegel purports to identify between animal and vegetable organisms and suggest that the upshot of those differences is that some but not all plants are normatively evaluable, by his lights. I also situate Hegel's discussion of the Gattungsprozess within the debate on biological functions in the philosophy of biology over the last few decades.