Hegel : The maintenance of the state’s universal interest, and of legality, in this sphere of particular rights, and the work of bringing these rights back to the universal, require to be superintended by holders of the executive power, by (a) the executive civil servants and (b) the higher advisory officials (who are organised into committees). These converge in their supreme heads who are in direct contact with the monarch.

Marx : Hegel has not developed the executive. But given this, he has not demonstrated that it is anything more than a function, a determination of the citizen in general. By viewing the particular interests of civil society as such, as interests which lie outside the absolutely universal interest of the state, he has only deduced the executive as a particular, separate power…

2. because private egoism is revealed to be the secret of the patriotism of the citizens and the depth and strength which the state possesses in sentiment;

The Philosophy of Right (as it is usually called) begins with a discussion of the concept of the free will and argues that the free will can only realize itself in the complicated social context of property rights and relations, contracts , moral commitments, family life, the economy , the legal system, and the polity . A person is not truly free, in other words, unless he is a participant in all of these different aspects of the life of the state.

Hegel also argues that the state itself is subsumed under the higher totality of world history, in which individual states arise, conflict with each other, and eventually fall. The course of history is apparently toward the ever-increasing actualization of freedom ; each successive historical epoch corrects certain failures of the earlier ones. At the end of his Lectures on the Philosophy of History , Hegel leaves open the possibility that history has yet to accomplish certain tasks related to the inner organization of the state.

Hegel : The maintenance of the state’s universal interest, and of legality, in this sphere of particular rights, and the work of bringing these rights back to the universal, require to be superintended by holders of the executive power, by (a) the executive civil servants and (b) the higher advisory officials (who are organised into committees). These converge in their supreme heads who are in direct contact with the monarch.

Marx : Hegel has not developed the executive. But given this, he has not demonstrated that it is anything more than a function, a determination of the citizen in general. By viewing the particular interests of civil society as such, as interests which lie outside the absolutely universal interest of the state, he has only deduced the executive as a particular, separate power…

2. because private egoism is revealed to be the secret of the patriotism of the citizens and the depth and strength which the state possesses in sentiment;

The Philosophy of Right (as it is usually called) begins with a discussion of the concept of the free will and argues that the free will can only realize itself in the complicated social context of property rights and relations, contracts , moral commitments, family life, the economy , the legal system, and the polity . A person is not truly free, in other words, unless he is a participant in all of these different aspects of the life of the state.

Hegel also argues that the state itself is subsumed under the higher totality of world history, in which individual states arise, conflict with each other, and eventually fall. The course of history is apparently toward the ever-increasing actualization of freedom ; each successive historical epoch corrects certain failures of the earlier ones. At the end of his Lectures on the Philosophy of History , Hegel leaves open the possibility that history has yet to accomplish certain tasks related to the inner organization of the state.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel's Philosophy of Right is widely acknowledged as one of the most important texts in the history of moral and political philosophy. While exerting a profound influence on several major philosophical movements, the groundbreaking 1820 work continues to shape philosophical thought. Hegel's Philosophy of Right presents a collection of new essays by leading international philosophers and Hegel scholars who analyse and explore Hegel's key contributions in the areas of ethics, politics, and law.

Contributions address issues that include ethics, the relationship of Hegelian ethics with contemporary debates in value theory, the so-called "empty formalism" objection that Hegel directs at Immanuel Kant's moral philosophy, Hegel's understanding of law, justice, and political issues that shed new light on Hegel's ideas of punishment, ethical life, and family. Scholarly and thought-provoking, Hegel's Philosophy of Right offers important new insights into our understanding of Hegel's seminal Philosophy of Right and the broader world of Hegelian philosophy.

Thom Brooks is Reader in Political and Legal Philosophy at Newcastle University. He is editor and founder of the Journal of Moral Philosophy . His books include Hegel's Political Philosophy: A Systematic Reading of the Philosophy of Right (2007).

Born in 1770 in Stuttgart, Hegel spent the years 1788–1793 as a student in nearby Tübingen, studying first philosophy, and then theology, and forming friendships with fellow students, the future great romantic poet Friedrich Hölderlin (1770–1843) and Friedrich von Schelling (1775–1854), who, like Hegel, would become one of the major figures of the German philosophical scene in the first half of the nineteenth century. These friendships clearly had a major influence on Hegel’s philosophical development, and for a while the intellectual lives of the three were closely intertwined.

Hegel’s own pithy account of the nature of philosophy given in the Preface to his Elements of the Philosophy of Right captures a characteristic tension in his philosophical approach and, in particular, in his approach to the nature and limits of human cognition. “Philosophy”, he says there, “is its own time comprehended in thoughts” (PR: 21).

Before surveying these competing views, however, something needs to be said about the confusing term “idealism”, and about the variety of idealism that is characteristic of Hegel and other German idealists.

Hegel : The maintenance of the state’s universal interest, and of legality, in this sphere of particular rights, and the work of bringing these rights back to the universal, require to be superintended by holders of the executive power, by (a) the executive civil servants and (b) the higher advisory officials (who are organised into committees). These converge in their supreme heads who are in direct contact with the monarch.

Marx : Hegel has not developed the executive. But given this, he has not demonstrated that it is anything more than a function, a determination of the citizen in general. By viewing the particular interests of civil society as such, as interests which lie outside the absolutely universal interest of the state, he has only deduced the executive as a particular, separate power…

2. because private egoism is revealed to be the secret of the patriotism of the citizens and the depth and strength which the state possesses in sentiment;

Hegel : The maintenance of the state’s universal interest, and of legality, in this sphere of particular rights, and the work of bringing these rights back to the universal, require to be superintended by holders of the executive power, by (a) the executive civil servants and (b) the higher advisory officials (who are organised into committees). These converge in their supreme heads who are in direct contact with the monarch.

Marx : Hegel has not developed the executive. But given this, he has not demonstrated that it is anything more than a function, a determination of the citizen in general. By viewing the particular interests of civil society as such, as interests which lie outside the absolutely universal interest of the state, he has only deduced the executive as a particular, separate power…

2. because private egoism is revealed to be the secret of the patriotism of the citizens and the depth and strength which the state possesses in sentiment;

The Philosophy of Right (as it is usually called) begins with a discussion of the concept of the free will and argues that the free will can only realize itself in the complicated social context of property rights and relations, contracts , moral commitments, family life, the economy , the legal system, and the polity . A person is not truly free, in other words, unless he is a participant in all of these different aspects of the life of the state.

Hegel also argues that the state itself is subsumed under the higher totality of world history, in which individual states arise, conflict with each other, and eventually fall. The course of history is apparently toward the ever-increasing actualization of freedom ; each successive historical epoch corrects certain failures of the earlier ones. At the end of his Lectures on the Philosophy of History , Hegel leaves open the possibility that history has yet to accomplish certain tasks related to the inner organization of the state.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel's Philosophy of Right is widely acknowledged as one of the most important texts in the history of moral and political philosophy. While exerting a profound influence on several major philosophical movements, the groundbreaking 1820 work continues to shape philosophical thought. Hegel's Philosophy of Right presents a collection of new essays by leading international philosophers and Hegel scholars who analyse and explore Hegel's key contributions in the areas of ethics, politics, and law.

Contributions address issues that include ethics, the relationship of Hegelian ethics with contemporary debates in value theory, the so-called "empty formalism" objection that Hegel directs at Immanuel Kant's moral philosophy, Hegel's understanding of law, justice, and political issues that shed new light on Hegel's ideas of punishment, ethical life, and family. Scholarly and thought-provoking, Hegel's Philosophy of Right offers important new insights into our understanding of Hegel's seminal Philosophy of Right and the broader world of Hegelian philosophy.

Thom Brooks is Reader in Political and Legal Philosophy at Newcastle University. He is editor and founder of the Journal of Moral Philosophy . His books include Hegel's Political Philosophy: A Systematic Reading of the Philosophy of Right (2007).

Philosophy of Right - Marxists Internet Archive


Contents of Hegel s Philosophy of Right

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