Are there Natural Rights?--Hegel's Break with Kant

In Ardis Collins (ed.), Hegel on the Modern World. SUNY Press (1994)

Abstract

Hegel criticizes Kant's categorical imperative and what he takes to be Kant's social contract theory of political obligation, but these criticisms miss the mark, for Kant is not really a consent theorist, nor is his categorical imperative empty. The most distinct break Hegel makes with Kant's philosophy of right is rather his rejection of a theory of natural rights, a theory central to Kant's Metaphysics of Morals. While Hegel offers a theory of natural right in some sense, he does not think individuals have natural rights.

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Mark Tunick
Florida Atlantic University

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