Category Archives: 1st Rank – Hegel (1770 – 1831 ce)

Hegel’s Political Philosophy: On the Normative Significance of Method and System (2017)

Thom Brooks & Sebastian Stein (Editors)

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Hegel famously argues that his speculative method is a foundation for claims about socio-political reality within a wider philosophical system. This systematic approach is thought a superior alternative to all other ways of philosophical thinking. Hegel’s method and system have normative significance for understanding everything from ethics to the state. Hegel’s approach has attracted much debate among scholars about key philosophical questions – and controversy about his proposed answers to them. Is his method and system open to the charge of dogmatism? Are his claims about the rationality of monarchy, unequal gender relations, an unelected second parliamentary chamber and a corporation-based economy beyond revision?

This ground-breaking collection of new essays by leading interpreters of Hegel’s philosophy is dedicated to the questions that surround Hegel’s philosophical method and its relationship to the conclusions of his political philosophy. It contributes to the on-going debate about the importance of a systematic context for political philosophy, the relationship between theoretical and practical philosophy, and engages with contemporary discussions about the shape of a rational social order.

Does History Make Sense?: Hegel on the Historical Shapes of Justice (2017)

by Terry Pinkard

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“Hegel’s philosophy of history―which most critics view as a theory of inevitable progress toward modern European civilization―is widely regarded as a failure today. In Does History Make Sense? Terry Pinkard argues that Hegel’s understanding of historical progress is not the kind of teleological or progressivist account that its detractors claim, but is based on a subtle understanding of human subjectivity.

Pinkard shows that for Hegel a break occurred between modernity and all that came before, when human beings found a new way to make sense of themselves as rational, self-aware creatures. In Hegel’s view of history, different types of sense-making become viable as social conditions change and new forms of subjectivity emerge. At the core of these changes are evolving conceptions of justice―of who has authority to rule over others. In modern Europe, Hegel believes, an unprecedented understanding of justice as freedom arose, based on the notion that every man should rule himself. Freedom is a more robust form of justice than previous conceptions, so progress has indeed been made. But justice, like health, requires constant effort to sustain and cannot ever be fully achieved.

For Hegel, philosophy and history are inseparable. Pinkard’s spirited defense of the Hegelian view of history will play a central role in contemporary reevaluations of the philosopher’s work.

Reviewed by Christopher Yeomans, Purdue University

Philosophy, History, and Tyranny: Reexamining the Debate between Leo Strauss and Alexandre Kojeve (2016)

Philosophy, History, and Tyranny: Reexamining the Debate between Leo Strauss and Alexandre Kojeveeds. Timothy W. Burns and Bryan-Paul Frost

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“On Tyranny remains a perennial favorite, possessing a timelessness that few philosophical or scholarly debates have ever achieved. On one hand, On Tyranny is the first book-length work in Leo Strauss s extended study of Xenophon, and his Restatement retains a vivacity and directness that is sometimes absent in his later works. On the other, Tyranny and Wisdom is perhaps the most succinct yet fullest articulation of Alexandre Kojeve s overall political thought, and it presents what may be the most uncompromising alternative to Strauss s position as a whole. This volume contains for the first time a comprehensive and critical examination of the debate from scholars well versed in the thought of Strauss, Kojeve, Hegel, Heidegger, and the end of history thesis. Of particular interest will be the appendix, which offers for the first time Kojeve s unabridged response to Strauss.”

War as Paradox: Clausewitz and Hegel on Fighting Doctrines and Ethics (2016)

War as Paradox: Clausewitz and Hegel on Fighting Doctrines and Ethicsby Youri Cormier

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“Two centuries after Carl von Clausewitz wrote On War, it lines the shelves of military colleges around the world and even showed up in an Al Qaeda hideout. Though it has shaped much of the common parlance on the subject, On War is perceived by many as a “metaphysical fog,” widely known but hardly read. In War as Paradox, Youri Cormier lifts the fog on this iconic work by explaining its philosophical underpinnings. Building up a genealogy of dialectical war theory and integrating Hegel with Clausewitz as a co-founders of the method, Cormier uncovers a common logic that shaped the fighting doctrines and ethics of modern war. He explains how Hegel and Clausewitz converged on method, but nonetheless arrived at opposite ethics and military doctrines. Ultimately, Cormier seeks out the limits to dialectical war theory and explores the greater paradoxes the method reveals: can so-called “rational” theories of war hold up under the pressures of irrational propositions, such as lone-wolf attacks, the circular logic of a “war to end all wars,” or the apparent folly of mutually assured destruction? Since the Second World War, commentators have described war as obsolete. War as Paradox argues that dialectical war theory may be the key to understanding why, despite this, it continues.”

Article: Hegel as a Theorist of Secularization


Hegel's philosophy of religion is characterized by what seems to be a deep tension. On the one hand, Hegel claims to be a Christian thinker, viewing religion, and in particular Christianity, as a manifestation of the absolute. On the other hand, however, he seems to view modernity as largely secular, devoid of authoritative claims to transcendence. Modernity is secular in the political sense of requiring the state to be neutral when it comes to matters of religion. However, it is also secular in the sense of there being no recourse to authoritative representations of a transcendent God. Drawing on Charles Taylor's view of secularization, the article focuses on the second strand of his religious thinking, exploring how Hegel can be thought of as a theorist of secularization. It is claimed that his dialectic of religious development describes a process of secularization. Ultimately, Hegel's system offers a view of the absolute as immanent, suggesting that an adequate account of religion will necessarily have to accept secularization as the end-point of spirit's development. This is how the tension between religion and secularization can be resolved.

Supporting Resource: Hegel and the Metaphysics of Absolute Negativity (2013)

by Brady Bowman

From the publisher: "Hegel's doctrines of absolute negativity and 'the Concept' are among his most original contributions to philosophy and they constitute the systematic core of dialectical thought. Brady Bowman explores the interrelations between these doctrines, their implications for Hegel's critical understanding of classical logic and ontology, natural science and mathematics as forms of 'finite cognition', and their role in developing a positive, 'speculative' account of consciousness and its place in nature. As a means to this end, Bowman also re-examines Hegel's relations to Kant and pre-Kantian rationalism, and to key post-Kantian figures such as Jacobi, Fichte and Schelling. His book draws from the breadth of Hegel's writings to affirm a robustly metaphysical reading of the Hegelian project, and will be of great interest to students of Hegel and of German Idealism more generally."

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