Siding With Freedom: Towards A Prescriptive Hegelianism

Critical Horizons 12 (1):49-69 (2011)
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Abstract

My goal in this essay is to demonstrate the continuing relevance of Hegel’s theory of right for contemporary emancipatory politics. Specifically, my contention is that Hegel’s Philosophy of Right can and should be read as defending the possibility of principled, decisive side-taking in political struggles. By revisiting Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, I seek to demonstrate four interconnected theses: that the will’s freedom is both a) the fundamental principle upon which genuinely political change can be grounded, and b) essentially external to, or subtractable from, any and all social alignments; but is nonetheless c) necessarily actualized in specifically political institutions, and finally d) only truly actualized through emancipatory reforms of such institutions. In combination, these four theses demonstrate that politics is the principled, decisive and emancipatory reform of existent political institutions through historically determined political movements. Having established these basic theses, I will examine how the philosophy and politics of ‘prescriptive reform’ operates in practice

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Jim Vernon
York University

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References found in this work

Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity.Richard Rorty - 1989 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Elements of the philosophy of right.Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel - 1991 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Allen W. Wood & Hugh Barr Nisbet.
Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity.Richard Rorty - 1989 - The Personalist Forum 5 (2):149-152.
Hegel.Charles Taylor (ed.) - 1975 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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