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date: 19 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Hegel’s philosophy of the state has been tied to liberal and conservative— and even totalitarian—traditions. In dealing with the state’s reaction to economic crises, it contains elements of the social welfare state as well. This chapter tries to assess to which degree and extent Hegel’s conception of the state can be called “liberal” and “social”—and in which sense it is “ethical.” It tries to elucidate its relation to German constitutional history as well as to the “classicism” of the French revolution. At the same time, the book of 1820–1821 must be integrated into the development of Hegel’s (“pre-Berlin”) political philosophy and read against the background of his mature dialectical logic and ontology. Hegel’s way of reconciling the “principle of particularity” with the “idealization” of the particular moments within the ethical whole separates this conception from modern forms of liberalism as well as from state absolutism.

Keywords: Hegel, absolutism, liberalism, political philosophy, Germany, French revolution

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