Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Sebastian Rand

Second Advisor

Jessica Berry


While the Hegelian struggle for recognition is often taken to be the systematic point at which rational humanity differentiates itself from mere animality, Hegel more thoroughly expounds on the relationship between rational and nonrational animals in his Encyclopedia: humans diverge from nonrational animals through a process of habituation. While one might assume that Hegel takes this power of habituation to be sufficient for rationality, this assumption is complicated by Hegel’s attribution of habituation to non-human animals as well. Against readings of the Encyclopedia that separate human and non-human animal habituation, I argue that a coherent interpretation must treat habituation as the same power in human and non-human animal life. My interpretation demonstrates Hegel’s proximity to Matthew Boyle’s transformative conception of rationality, which portrays rationality as a unique realization of animality. Hegel takes the realization of rational animal life to be thoroughly habitual, contra the instinctual basis of nonrational animal life.

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