Truth and illusion in the philosophy of right: Hegel and liberalism

Philosophy and Social Criticism 36 (5):567-585 (2010)
Abstract
It is often thought that Hegel’s social philosophy is straightforwardly hostile toward liberal ideals. In this article, I contend that many such suspicions can be dispelled through a more nuanced engagement with his rhetorical and argumentative strategies. To tackle such a broad topic in this space, I focus on the shortcomings of a rights-based individualism within the Philosophy of Right — where Hegel describes civil society as a ‘semblance’ [Schein] of a rational polity. Although such passages might suggest the collectivism that has long haunted his legacy, I propose that he is offering something rather more normatively attractive. More specifically, I argue that his grammar of recognition disinters the suppressed social conditions for those rights (and the individuality they protect) that are often misrecognized as foundational by liberal theorists
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