Hegel's Political Philosophy: A Systematic Reading of the Philosophy of Right

Hegel's Political Philosophy: A Systematic Reading of the Philosophy of Right

Hegel's Political Philosophy: A Systematic Reading of the Philosophy of Right

Hegel's Political Philosophy: A Systematic Reading of the Philosophy of Right

Synopsis

Hegel's Elements of the Philosophy of Right is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important works in the history of political philosophy. It is broadly agreed that Hegel intended this work to be interpreted as a significant part of his greater system of speculative philosophy. Where disagreement occurs is on the question of the relevance of Hegel's larger philosophical system to understanding his Philosophy of Right. This is the first book on the subject to take Hegel's system of speculative philosophy seriously as an important component of any robust understanding of his Philosophy of Right. It sets out the difference between 'systematic' and 'non-systematic' readings of the text before discussing important, relevant features of Hegel's system, in particular, the unique structure of his philosophical arguments. The greater part of the book demonstrates the results of this systematic reading by exploring several areas of Hegel's political philosophy: his theories of property, punishment, morality, law, monarchy, and war. It is shown that by looking beyond the text to Hegel's larger philosophical system, we can achieve an improved understanding of Hegel's Philosophy of Right.

Excerpt

This book is the development of far more than countless sleepless nights at the keyboard. I have benefited tremendously from the kindness and good advice of many people over the several years I have studied Hegel’s philosophy, these studies culminating in this book. I simply must begin by indicating my sincere thanks to them in this preface.

Avital Simhony first introduced me to Hegel’s Philosophy of Right while I was a M.A. student in political science at Arizona State in 1998. Much of my academic life has been spent trying to make sense of this text ever since. I am forever grateful to her for both introducing me to the richness of Hegel’s philosophy (and of British Idealism), as well as her continued help over the years.

Brian O’Connor deserves much credit for his enduring encouragement of my work on Hegel since acting as my supervisor at University College Dublin for a M.A. in philosophy. Under his tutelage, my interest in both Hegel’s views on punishment and legal theory first blossomed, as well as my initial suspicions that something was amiss with so-called ‘nonmetaphysical’ approaches to the study of Hegel. I am deeply grateful to his continued help since.

I simply cannot thank enough everyone at the University of Sheffield’s Department of Philosophy where much of the work for this book was undertaken. None have been as helpful as Bob Stern and I dedicate this book to him with the deepest gratitude a student may offer his teacher. He has been far more than a philosophy supervisor, but also a dear friend. My secondary supervisor, Leif Wenar, has been equally kind and overly generous with his sage advice. I have benefited tremendously both from their advice and their example. No student could have been more fortunate to enjoy such support. I simply could not be more in their debt.

Furthermore, I must thank my University of Newcastle colleagues, especially the Newcastle Political Philosophy Group and, primarily, Peter Jones, for their support and encouragement of this project, providing me with a highly stimulating place to work. My research has benefited . . .

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