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G.W.F. Hegel on State (Polity) - Dictionary of Arguments

Mause I 47
State/society/Hegel: Hegel reconstructs the relationship between the social order of the market and the political order of the constitutional-monarchical state within the framework of a theory of modern "morality" (1), which he describes on the basis of the three institutionalized spheres of socialization and action of "family", "bourgeois society" and "state" (2).
I 48
Bourgeois society/Hegel: Hegel describes this as the "state of need and understanding" (3), which he distinguishes from the "state" as the "reality of the moral idea" (4), that is, from the "state" of the third section of morality. (5)
HegelVsRousseau: Hegel reconstructs the monarchical-constitutional state as a supraindividual moral communication and meaning context and thus reconstructs the Republican primacy of politics over the economy. MarxVsHegel, State/Marx.
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Brocker I 794
State/Hegel/HonnethVsHegel/Honneth: instead of understanding the moral sphere of the state as an intersubjective relationship of reciprocal acts of recognition (see Intersubjectivity/Hegel), Hegel treats the state in his later writings as if it were always an existing entity before all interaction. Consequently, it is only the vertically conceived relationships that the individuals maintain "to the higher authority of the state" as "the embodiment of the mental", "which in its approach suddenly assume the role that certain, highly demanding forms of mutual recognition should have played in a concept of moral recognition theory". (6)
Solution/HonnethVsHegel: this results in the task of replacing Hegel's speculative categories with concepts of empirical science and thus making them
Brocker I 795
"empirically controllable". (7)


Hans-Jörg Sigwart, „Axel Honneth, Kampf um Anerkennung“, in: Manfred Brocker (ed.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018


1.G. W. F. Hegel Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts oder Naturrecht und Staatswissenschaft im Grundrisse. Werke 7, Hrsg. Eva Moldenhauer und Karl Markus Michel, Frankfurt a. M. 1989, p. 292.
2. Ibid. p. 307.
3. Ibid. p. 340
4. Ibid. p. 389
5. Cf. K. Löwith, Von Hegel zu Nietzsche. Der revolutionäre Bruch im Denken des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts, Hamburg 1986, S 261-264.
6. Axel Honneth, Kampf um Anerkennung. Zur moralischen Grammatik sozialer Konflikte, mit einem neuen Nachwort, Frankfurt/M. 2014 (zuerst 1992) p. 98
7. Ibid. p. 150

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Höffe I 331
State/Hegel/Höffe: Hegel develops his system of political thought, the philosophy of law and state, against the background of his now expanded philosophical system(1).
HegelVsKant: Against the - allegedly threatening in Kant - the danger of a purely through thought
Höffe I 332
conceived construction of normative claims, the subject area of the philosophy of law and state is considerably expanded. Instead of being content with a normative theory, an a priori theory of law and justice, Hegel also focuses on motivational, social, and above all institutional factors (...).
Philosophical Philosophy of Law/Hegel: "(...) the idea of the law, (...) the concept of the law and its realization becomes the object"(2).
State: (...) [is the] "moral universe," [which] is to be understood as something reasonable.
Freedom: The guiding principle in legal and state theory is free will. From it Hegel wants to show how, under the condition of modernity, an epoch of alienation, he gradually attains his full, alienation-absorbing reality. >Freedom/Hegel, >Morals/Hegel, >Customs/Morality/Hegel.
Höffe I 336
The culmination of morality, its synthesis, at the same time the summit of Hegel's entire philosophy of law, is the state as a "mediated by itself", which is now far more than just a state of necessity and understanding. As a community in the literal sense it is the public institution responsible for the common good, the "reality of the moral idea". Because in it freedom attains its perfect form, it is not "something arbitrary" but "supreme duty," i.e. again a categorical imperative, for man to be a member of a State.
[This is a] modern, namely no longer eudaimony-based, but freedom-based way (...).
Only in the living together of free and equal people can [the human] complete both his/her rational nature and his/her nature based on right and justice. >Society/Hegel.
Höffe I 337
From abstract law to morality, the "idea of free will in and for itself" finally develops into the unity and truth of both moments. In it, in morality, Hegel in turn advances from the natural spirit, the "family," through the stage of separation, the "bourgeois society," to objective freedom, the "State. Within the section "the State," however, there is surprisingly, instead of a further stage, now a regression.
For the opposition to free will, the full legal relations and the moral whole, is achieved already at the first stage, the "internal constitutional law". On the second stage, however, the "external constitutional law," the moral whole is exposed to chance. And the last stage is determined ambivalently with respect to free will.


1. Hegel, Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts oder Naturrecht und Staatswissenschaft im Grundriss, 1820
2. Ibid. § 1


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Mause I
Karsten Mause
Christian Müller
Klaus Schubert,
Politik und Wirtschaft: Ein integratives Kompendium Wiesbaden 2018

Brocker I
Manfred Brocker
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018

Höffe I
Otfried Höffe
Geschichte des politischen Denkens München 2016


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-09-22
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