Hegel’s project of reconciliation is central to his Philosophy of Right. This article argues that scholars have understood this project in one of two ways, as a form of rational reconciliation or a kind of endorsement. Each is incomplete and their inability to capture the kind of reconciliation Hegel has in mind is made apparent when we consider the kind of problem that the rabble creates for modern society, which reconciliation is meant to address. The article concludes that more than (...) mutual recognition is required and we should recognise the crucial role played by stakeholding, whereby citizens share a principled conviction about oneself and others. (shrink)
In this essay, I argue that Hegel’s model of ethical life is normatively gripping for Du Bois’s critique of Radical Reconstruction. My argument proceeds in three steps. First, I use Du Bois’s insights to explain the nature of progressive political change in historical time, an account Hegel lacks. I reconstruct the normative basis of Du Bois's political critique by articulating the three essential features of public reasoning qua citizenship. Second, I defend the promise of black civic enfranchisement with respect to (...) the institutional conditions of love and labour in the wake of the Civil War. Third, I establish the central role black freedmen played in realizing the ideals of democratic self-governance affirmed in principle but seldom realized in practice in the United States. (shrink)
In this chapter, I consider the relation of the three major spheres of ethical life that Hegel distinguishes – family, civil society, and the state – and analyse their contribution to the constitution of the "second nature" of objective spirit. Family and civil society are both analyzed by Hegel as ways of taking up and transforming our given nature such that a second ethical nature can be produced. Where the family helps bring forth such a second nature by means of (...) “education” (Erziehung), civil society does so by means of “cultural formation” (Bildung). As I show in sections (I) and (II), these processes are characterised by Hegel as steps of an actualization of freedom insofar they liberate us from our given nature without suppressing it and bring forth a second nature that gives freedom the consistency of living reality. However, while these processes constitute forms of liberation, they are at the same time forms of social subjection, involving discipline and normalization, the subjection to the will of another, and the adaption to the given necessities of the social world. Therefore, the completion of the process of liberation seems to require a third sphere that allows individuals to relate, collectively and politically, to the second nature thus produced. In order for the second nature of spirit to be a self-constitutive actualization of freedom, ethical life thus requires a specific political dimension that I turn to in section (III). While this political process is only possible on the basis of the republican infrastructures of family and civil society, it at the same time calls these infrastructures into question. Although Hegel himself does not develop this dimension properly, his conception of second nature points towards the desideratum of a politics of second nature. I will close the discussion of this political dimension in section (IV) by pointing out the general and diagnostic dimensions that such a politics of second nature can help us elaborate. (shrink)
From Hegel's philosophy of nature, this essay develops a critique of economic models and market society, based on Hegel's notion of what it takes for a formally described system to be embodied and real.
Hegel experienced several personal, political, and professional crises during his life. These crises impacted his dense theory about the importance of rational self-reflection in the organic character and evolution of law. The article argues that Hegel’s Preface to the Philosophy of Right manifests how one philosopher came to terms with the personal, social and political crises in which he found himself. In particular, the article outlines the central themes of the Preface and then explicates the important notion of Bildung in (...) Hegel’s theory – an Enlightenment notion that Hegel absorbed from his own formal education. After retrieving Hegel’s reading of the virtues and flaws in Kant’s theory of law, the article then explicates Hegel’s understanding of freedom. The article then reviews the local politics in which Hegel found himself before, during and after Napoleon’s defeat. The article then turns to his professional rivalries with Jacob Fries and Friedrich Savigny. The article argues that the personal animosities shaped parts of his Preface. These complex influences and concerns explain why Hegel waited 20 years to publish his theory of law. Hegel’s Preface comes to terms with the crises of his own times. (shrink)
This essay discusses Hegel’s theory of “abstract” respect for “abstract” personhood and its relation to the fuller, concrete account of human personhood. Hegel defines (abstract) personhood as an abstract, formal category with the help of his account of free will. For Hegel, personhood is defined in terms of powers, relations to self and to others. After analyzing what according to the first part of Philosophy of Right it is to (abstractly) respect someone as a person, the essay discusses the implications (...) for private property and market. Then the paper turns to discuss pathologies of ideologies that stress these aspects only. Finally, the essay discusses the way inwhich Hegel’s full social theory aims to overcome such pathological tendencies; most notably in his theory of Family and the State. (shrink)
This article argues that Hegel’s dialectic of wealth and power in the stage of social development called ‘culture’ (Bildung) reveals that even in moments of profound social alienation, Spirit (Geist)—the labor of constructing identity and freedom— remains. This stands in sharp contrast to Heidegger’s theory of alienation and Dasein’s ‘publicity’ (Offentlichkeit), which paints modern social existence as a profound threat to the very ‘Being’ and ‘possibilities’ of human life. The supposed threats of inauthenticity and mass existence are, from a Hegelian (...) perspective, failures of adequate social phenomenology. The desiring, affective subject is not absorbed in ‘they’ (das Man) but is, instead, the negativity that constantly transforms culture and the structure of social selfhood. (shrink)
This paper discusses, in a comparative perspective, the two institutions in Hegel’s account civil society in the Philosophy of Right that aim at ‘taming’ the free market: the police and the corporations. It argues that although Hegel claims to have taken up the insights of the economists of his day, he has done so in a rather limited way, and he remains sceptical about many of the ‘laws’ formulated by economists. In order to derive such laws, economists reduce individual preferences (...) to a few categories and take these to be constant. This methodology implies that in order to tame the market the framework of rules and incentives needs to be changed – this is also the model of the Hegelian police. With regard to the corporations, however, Hegel takes on a sociological perspective and asks how the individuals’ preferences are actually formed. His theory of the corporations can be read as a theory about the social spaces in which people’s ethos is formed, which not only influences their behaviour in the market, but also prepares the ground for the political ethos of the state. I argue that these two ways of looking at economic phenomena, and the ensuing suggestions for how to curb the negative effects of the free market, have parallels in contemporary discussions about economic ethics. In order to find solutions for the problems of today’s capitalism, it is worth focussing not only on the economic perspective of the police, but also on the sociological perspective of the corporations. (shrink)
On what might be called a Marxist reading, Hegel’s analysis of civil society accurately recognizes a necessary tendency toward a polarization of classes and the pauperization of the proletariat, a problem for which Hegel, however, has no solution. Indeed, Marxists think there can be no solution short of eliminating civil society. It is not at all clear that this standard reading is correct. The present paper tries to show how it is plausible to understand Hegel as proposing a solution, one (...) that is similar to that of social democrats, and one that could actually work. (shrink)
This article attempts to show, first, that for Hegel the role of property is to enable persons both to objectify their freedom and to properly express their recognition of each other as free, and second, that the Marx of 1844 uses fundamentally similar ideas in his exposition of communist society. For him the role of ‘true property’ is to enable individuals both to objectify their essential human powers and their individuality, and to express their recognition of each other as fellow (...) human beings with needs, or their ‘human recognition’. Marx further uses these ideas to condemn the society of private property and market exchange as characterised by ‘estranged’ forms of property and recognition. He therefore uses a structure of ideas which Hegel had used to justify the institutions of private property and market exchange, in order to condemn those same institutions. (shrink)
Hegel'sPhilosophy of Rightis more than a major work of political and legal philosophy; it is a battleground for two different interpretive approaches. MyHegel's Political Philosophy: A Systematic Reading of the Philosophy of Rightargues that these approaches are mistaken about their differences and that one approach offers a more compelling interpretation ofHegel's Philosophy of Rightthan the other. I will briefly outline my defence of the systematic reading of thePhilosophy of Rightbefore replying to the constructive criticisms raised by Redding, Rosen and Wood.There (...) are two different interpretative approaches to understanding Hegel'sPhilosophy of Right. These are the metaphysical and the non-metaphysical readings. The former often highlight Hegel's insistence that some political states may be considered more ‘true’ or ‘actual’ than others. This reading also often emphasises the special place of religion in Hegel's philosophical system, for example. In contrast, the non-metaphysical reading argues that such an interpretation is not only unattractive, but perhaps even unnecessary because Hegel's views on ‘actuality’ and ‘actualization’ are less controversial than traditional metaphysical readings of Hegel's philosophy have claimed. Commentators must choose between these competing camps and interpretations of Hegel's work are conceived within these approaches. Importantly, each reading claims that its approach best captures Hegel's philosophical importance. But would Hegel endorse either the metaphysical or non-metaphysical reading?The problem is that this debate rests on a central misconception about Hegel's philosophy. The debate is characterized as a disagreement about the role and perhaps the very existence of metaphysics in Hegel's philosophy. But this is a false impression. It is virtually nowhere in doubt that metaphysics is present in Hegel's philosophy, including hisPhilosophy of Right. Therefore, the debate between a ‘metaphysical’ and ‘non-metaphysical’ reading of Hegel's works is not a debate about whether these works contain metaphysics. The characterization of the debate invites a false impression about what is at stake. (shrink)
Hegel's Philosophy of Right presents a collection of new essays by leading international philosophers and Hegel scholars that analyze and explore Hegel's key contributions in the areas of ethics, politics, and the law. •The most comprehensive collection on Hegel's Philosophy of Right available •Features new essays by leading international Hegel interpreters divided in sections of ethics, politics, and law •Presents significant new research on Hegel's Philosophy of Right that will set a new standard for future work on the topic .
Capitalismo e riconoscimento" presenta, in cinque saggi per la prima volta raccolti insieme e tradotti in italiano, una densa e pregnante analisi di taluni cruciali processi socio-strutturali, morali e normativi delle società capitalistiche contemporanee dalla prospettiva delle dinamiche del reciproco riconoscimento e del disrispetto concernenti la sfera del lavoro. Particolare attenzione è dedicata ai paradossali rovesciamenti delle istanze di autorealizzazione, autonomia e responsabilità personale registratisi negli ultimi decenni nel quadro di un mercato del lavoro sempre più deregolato.
The aim of the present paper is to show that Hegel's concept of personal respect is of great interest to contemporary Critical Theory. The author first analyzes this notion as it appears in the Philosophy of Right and then offers a new interpretation of the conceptual relation between personal respect and the institutions of property and markets. In doing so, he shows why Hegel's concept of personal respect allows us to understand markets as possible institutionalizations of this kind of recognition, (...) and why it is compatible with a critique of neoliberal capitalism. He argues that due to these features Hegel's notion of personal respect is of great interest to theoreticians within the tradition of critical theory. (shrink)
Nearly every major philosophy, from Plato to Hegel and beyond, has argued that democracy is an inferior form of government, at best. Yet, virtually every contemporary political philosophy working today endorses democracy in one variety or another. Should we conclude then that the traditional canon is meaningless for helping us theorise about a just state? In this paper, I will take up the criticisms and positive proposals of two such canonical figures in political philosophy: Plato and Hegel. At first glance, (...) each is rather disdainful, if not outright hostile, to democracy. This is also how both have been represented traditionally. However, if we look behind the reasons for their rejection of (Athenian) democracy and the reasons behind their alternatives to democracy, I believe we can uncover a new theory of government that does two things. First, it maps onto the so-called Schumpeterian tradition of elite theories of democracy quite well. Second, perhaps surprisingly, it actually provides an improved justification for democratic government as we practice it today than rival theories of democracy. Thus, not only are Plato and Hegel not enemies of modern democratic thought after all, but each is actually quite useful for helping us develop democratic theory in a positive, not negative, manner. (shrink)
Amongst contemporary theorists, the most widespread interpretation of Hegel's theory of punishment is that it is a retributivist theory of annulment, where punishments cancel the performance of crimes. The theory is retributivist insofar as the criminal punished must be demonstrated to be deserving of a punishment that is commensurable in value only to the nature of his crime, rather than to any consequentialist considerations. As Antony Duff says: [retributivism] justifies punishment in terms not of its contingently beneficial effects but of (...) its intrinsic justice as a response to crime; the justificatory relationship holds between present punishment and past crime, not between present punishment and future effects. Punishment is given only to persons responsible for committing crime. In addition, the degree of punishment is set in proportion to the relative badness of the precipitating crime. Thus, retributivism can be understood as an individualistic theory because the only relevant factors pertain solely to the individual criminal himself. The general attraction of Hegel's version of retributivism is that the punishments his theory is thought to endorse are commensurable in value with precipitating crimes, in contrast to the strict equivalence required by Kant's theory of punishment. As a result, Hegel's theory is praised both for being more acceptable to modern readers than Kant's so-called ‘pure retributivism’, as well as for being an ‘emphatically anti-utilitarian’ theory. Despite widespread agreement on these general features, it is hotly contested how exactly we are to understand the way in which punishment cancels crimes, and Hegel's difficult style has only served to make the controversy deeper. For example, Ted Honderich says: ‘A punishment is an annulment, a cancellation or a return to a previous state of affairs … All this, of course, is obscure. It is by Hegel’. (shrink)
Against those who argue that Hegel despaired of providing a solution to the problem of poverty, I argue, on the basis of key dialectical transitions in Hegel's Philosophy of Right, that he held at least the following: (1) that the chronic poverty endemic to industrial capitalism can be overcome only through changes that must include a transformation in practices of consumption, (2) that this transformation must lead to more *sittlich* and self-conscious practices of consumption, and (3) that the institution best-suited (...) to enable the development of these more *sittlich* and self-conscious practices of consumption is the *Korporation*. (shrink)
Many readers have suspected that Hegel---in arguing against Kant’s individualistic and critical way of approaching ethics and favoring instead an “ethical life” he associates with custom and habit---is in effect eliminating both individual judgment and any basis for criticism of corrupt or unjust communities. Most specialists reject this view of Hegel’s ethical theory, but they haven’t explained precisely how, on the contrary, ethical life preserves individual judgment and criticism within a new way of thinking about ethics. The goal of this (...) paper is to do that. (shrink)
The paper examines briefly Kant's and Fichte's, and more thoroughly, Hegel's theses on womanhood and their social and political consequences. It shows, taking Hegel as a case study, that the idealists' conceptual frameworks should have led them to recognize the rights of women, and, importantly, in Kant's and Hegel's case, that they implicitly did so. However, they chose to repress these unwanted outcomes behind teachings that were more in line with the beliefs of their time. This tension, it is argued (...) in conclusion, is indicative of a conceptual crux that is specific to German idealism, but whose effects can still be perceived today. (shrink)
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) is considered a philosopher of the Tradition, both in the sense that his work is rooted in the political, artistic, religious, and philosophical traditions of European culture and in the sense that he takes up the notion of tradition as an object of philosophical investigation. This collection examines Hegel's philosophy as it bears on the meaning and relevance of tradition - historical, legal, aesthetic, religious, and philosophical. The thirteen original essays draw upon and celebrate the (...) work of H.S. Harris, who is considered by many to be the most influential interpreter of Hegel in the English-speaking world. The collection as a whole examines Hegel's rich and nuanced relation to his own traditions, including his creative reworking of the legacies of Greece, Rome, Christianity, the Middle Ages, early modernity, and his immediate predecessors. It also shows how Hegel's thought has direct relevance for us today as we seek to understand ourselves in relation to our inherited traditions. The volume concludes with an afterword by H.S. Harris and a comprehensive bibliography of Harris's published works. This important anthology represents the first rigorous and systematic effort to apply Harris's seminal and innovative style of Hegel scholarship to a wide variety of philosophical and historical issues. It functions both as a study of Hegel's philosophy and as a commentary on Harris's vast contribution to Hegel scholarship. (shrink)
The way in which much of the conventional interpretation has tried to describe the structure of Hegel’s civil society is inaccurate and one-dimensional. To Hegel civil society is not just the economic marketplace, where every individual tries to maximize his or her enlightened self-interest: side by side with the elements of universal strife and unending clash which are of the nature of civil society, there is another element which strongly limits and inhibits self-interest and transcendswhat would otherwise be a universal (...) atomism into a sphere of solidarity and mutuality. The principle of civil society itself is dual. Hegel’s communitas grows organically within civil society itself, and is not imposed on it from outside by the state. (shrink)