Hegel's Philosophy of Right

Term: Fall 2010

Subject Code: GPHI

Course Number: 6587


The book that we will read in this course bears a complex title: Philosophy of Right or Outline of Natural Law and Theory of the State. Hegel’s philosophy of “right” is thus meant to include, even to integrate, two different realms: “natural law” as referring to what is right for everybody and “theory of the state” as referring to the political organization of society. Hegel’s philosophy of right is ethics and political theory at the same time. With this, two questions have to be addressed. The first question refers to Hegel’s concept of ‘ethical life’ (‘Sittlichkeit’), which is meant to provide an account of practical normativity that is able to avoid the “paradox of autonomy” in Kantian theories. The second question refers to Hegel’s concept of the “state,” which aims at developing a theory of political self-government that is able to contain the destructive power of the capitalist economy. Both questions will be addressed in the course in the context of contemporary appropriations of Hegel’s arguments and against the background of  a synoptic reading of Fichte’s Foundations of Natural Right.

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