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Elements of the Philosophy of Right - Wikipedia

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Such, then, is the very first form of religion, which cannot indeed as yet be properly called religion. Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, Lectures on the philosophy of religion, together with a work on the proofs of the existence of God. Vol 1 Translated from the 2d German ed. I refer to what Mill says in his History of India. He proves from many Indian writings that it is an epithet of praise which is applied to various deities, and does not represent the conception of perfection or unity which we associate with it.

This is a mistake, for Brahma is in one aspect the One, the Immutable, who has, however, the element of change in him, and because of this, the rich variety of forms which is thus essentially his own is also predicated of him. Vishnu is also called the Supreme Brahma. Water and the sun are Brahma. Vol 2 Translated from the 2d German ed. But, considered more closely, this determination means that God is absolutely nothing determined. He is the Undetermined; no determinateness of any kind pertains to God; He is the Infinite.

This is equivalent to saying that God is the negation of all particularity. Mithras thrusting the knife into the neck of the ox is a figurative representation belonging essentially to the cult of Mithras, of which examples have been frequently found in Europe. God Himself is, in accordance with the true Idea, self-consciousness which exists in and for itself, Spirit.

The assumption of form makes its appearance in the aspect of determinate Being as independent totality, but as a totality which is retained within love; here, for the first time, we have Spirit in and for itself. The self-consciousness of the Son regarding Himself is at the same time His knowledge of the Father; in the Father the Son has knowledge of His own self, of Himself.

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At our present stage, on the contrary, the determinate existence of God as God is not existence posited by Himself, but by what is Other. Here Spirit has stopped short half way. Thus time in this complete and independent form, time in-and-for-self, unfolds itself and breaks up into past, present, and future.

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Thus the divine history in its second stage as appearance is regarded as the past, it is, it has Being, but it is Being which is degraded to a mere semblance. In taking on the form of appearance it is immediate existence, which is at the same time negated, and this is the past. The divine history is thus regarded as something past, as representing the Historical properly so called.

The third element is the present, yet it is only the limited present, not the eternal present, but rather the present which distinguishes itself from the past and future, and represents the element of feeling, of the immediate subjectivity of spiritual Being which is now. Vol 3 Translated from the 2d German ed.

Introduction, as translated by H. Nisbet Variant translation: What experience and history teach is this — that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it.

Pragmatical didactic reflections, though in their nature decidedly abstract, are truly and indefeasibly of the Present, and quicken the annals of the dead Past with the life of to-day. Whether, indeed, such reflections are truly interesting and enlivening, depends on the writer's own spirit.

Moral reflections must here be specially noticed, the moral teaching expected from history; which latter has not unfrequently been treated with a direct view to the former. It may be allowed that examples of virtue elevate the soul, and are applicable in the moral instruction of children for impressing excellence upon their minds.

Hegel's Philosophy of right. (Book, ) []

But the destinies of peoples and states, their interests, relations, and the complicated tissue of their affairs, present quite another field. Rulers, Statesmen, Nations, are wont to be emphatically commended to the teaching which experience offers in history.

But what experience and history teach is this, that peoples and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it. Each period is involved in such peculiar circumstances, exhibits a condition of things so strictly idiosyncratic, that its conduct must be regulated by considerations connected with itself, and itself alone.

Amid the pressure of great events, a general principle gives no help. It is useless to revert to similar circumstances in the Past. The pallid shades of memory struggle in vain with the life and freedom of the Present. Lectures on the History of History Vol 1 p. To him who looks upon the world rationally, the world in its turn presents a rational aspect. The relation is mutual. It is easier to discover a deficiency in individuals, in states, and in providence, than to see their real import or value.

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Life has a value only when it has something valuable as its object. History is not the soil of happiness. The periods of happiness are blank pages in it. Variant, as translated by H. History is not the soil in which happiness grows. The periods of happiness in it are the blank pages of history.

General Introduction to the Philosophy of History Serious occupation is labor that has reference to some want. And the expression implies that that design is destined to be realised! Two points of consideration suggest themselves: It must be observed at the outset, that the phenomenon we investigate Universal History belongs to the realm of Spirit.

  • G. W. F. Hegel: Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts
  • Hegel's Philosophy of right.
  • Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts

Physical Nature also plays its part in the World's History, and attention will have to be paid to the fundamental natural relations thus involved. But Spirit, and the course of its development, is our substantial object. Our task does not require us to contemplate Nature as a Rational System in itself though in its own proper domain it proves itself such but simply in its relation to Spirit.

On the stage on which we are observing it, Universal History Spirit displays itself in its most concrete reality. Notwithstanding this or rather for the very purpose of comprehending the general principles which this, its form of concrete reality, embodies we must premise some abstract characteristics of the nature of Spirit.

Such an explanation, however, cannot be given here under any other form than that of bare assertion. As the essence of Matter is Gravity, so, on the other hand, we may affirm that the substance, the essence of Spirit is Freedom. It is a result of speculative Philosophy, that Freedom is the sole truth of Spirit. Matter possesses gravity in virtue of its tendency towards a central point. It is essentially composite; consisting of parts that exclude each other.

It seeks its Unity; and therefore exhibits itself as self- destructive, as verging towards its opposite [an indivisible point]. If it could attain this, it would be Matter no longer, it would have perished. It strives after the realization of its Idea; for in Unity it exists ideally.

Spirit, on the contrary, may be defined as that which has its center in itself. It has not a unity outside itself, but has already found it; it exists in and with itself. Matter has its essence out of itself; Spirit is self-contained existence Bei-sich-selbst-seyn. Now this is Freedom, exactly. For if I am dependent, my being is referred to something else which I am not; I cannot exist independently of something external. I am free, on the contrary, when my existence depends upon myself.

This self-contained existence of Spirit is none other than self-consciousness consciousness of one's own being. Two things must be distinguished in consciousness; first, the fact that I know; secondly, what I know. In self-consciousness these are merged in one; for Spirit knows itself.

It involves an appreciation of its own nature, as also an energy enabling it to realise itself; to make itself actually that which it is potentially. The first glance at History convinces us that the actions of men proceed from their needs, their passions, their characters and talents; and impresses us with the belief that such needs, passions and interests are the sole springs of action — the efficient agents in this scene of activity.

Among these may, perhaps, be found aims of a liberal or universal kind — benevolence it may be, or noble patriotism; but such virtues and general views are but insignificant as compared with the World and its doings. We may perhaps see the Ideal of Reason actualized in those who adopt such aims, and within the sphere of their influence; but they bear only a trifling proportion to the mass of the human race; and the extent of that influence is limited accordingly.

Passions, private aims, and the satisfaction of selfish desires, are on the other hand, most effective springs of action. Their power lies in the fact that they respect none of the limitations which justice and morality would impose on them; and that these natural impulses have a more direct influence over man than the artificial and tedious discipline that tends to order and self-restraint, law and morality. When we look at this display of passions, and the consequences of their violence; the Unreason which is associated not ,only with them, but even rather we might say especially with good designs and righteous aims; when we see the evil, the vice, the ruin that has befallen the most flourishing kingdoms which the mind of man ever created, we can scarce avoid being filled with sorrow at this universal taint of corruption: And at last we draw back from the intolerable disgust with which these sorrowful reflections threaten us, into the more agreeable environment of our individual life the Present formed by our private aims and interests.

In short we retreat into the selfishness that stands on the quiet shore, and thence enjoys in safety the distant spectacle of "wrecks confusedly hurled. Geschichte Als Schlachtbank Pt. The Idea is the inner spring of action; the State is the actually existing, realized moral life. Sophocles in his Antigonesays, "The divine commands are not of yesterday, nor of to-day; no, they have an infinite existence, and no one could say whence they came.

It is the very object of the State that what is essential in the practical activity of men, and in their dispositions, should be duly recognized; that it should have a manifest existence, and maintain its position. It is the absolute interest of Reason that this moral Whole should exist; and herein lies the justification and merit of heroes who have founded states, however rude these may have been.

In the history of the World, only those peoples can come under our notice which form a state. For it must be understood that this latter is the realization of Freedom, i. It must further be understood that all the worth which the human being possesses all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State. For his spiritual reality consists in this, that his own essence Reason is objectively present to him, that it possesses objective immediate existence for him. Thus only is he fully conscious; thus only is he a partaker of morality of a just and moral social and political life.

For Truth is the Unity of the universal and subjective Will; and the Universal is to be found in the State, in its laws, its universal and rational arrangements. The State is the Divine Idea as it exists on Earth.

We have in it, therefore, the object of History in a more definite shape than before; that in which Freedom obtains objectivity, and lives in the enjoyment of this objectivity.

For Law is the objectivity of Spirit; volition in its true form. Only that will which obeys law, is free; for it obeys itself; it is independent and so free. When the State or our country constitutes a community of existence; when the subjective will of man submits to laws, the contradiction between Liberty and Necessity vanishes. The Rational has necessary existence, as being the reality and substance of things, and we are free in recognizing it as law, and following it as the substance of our own being.

The objective and the subjective will are then reconciled, and present one identical homogeneous whole. The analysis of the successive grades, in their abstract form, belongs to Logic; in their concrete aspect to the Philosophy of Spirit.

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But this initial separation from Nature is imperfect and partial, since it is derived immediately from the merely natural state, is consequently related to it, and is still encumbered with it as an essentially connected element. These grades are the ground-principles of the general process; but how each of them on the other hand involves within itself a process of formation, constituting the links in a dialectic of transition, to particularise this must be preserved for the sequel.

Here we have only to indicate that Spirit begins with a germ of infinite possibility, but only possibility, containing its substantial existence in an undeveloped form, as the object and goal which it reaches only in its resultant full reality. In actual existence Progress appears as an advancing from the imperfect to the more perfect; but the former must not be understood abstractly as only the imperfect, but as something which involves the very opposite of itself the so-called perfect as a germ or impulse.

Thus the Imperfect, as involving its opposite, is a contradiction, which certainly exists, but which is continually annulled and solved; the instinctive movement the inherent impulse in the life of the soul to break through the rind of mere nature, sensuousness, and that which is alien to it, and to attain to the light of consciousness, i.

At the time of the Kings, no political life had as yet made its appearance in Hellas; there are, therefore, only slight traces of Legislation.

But in the interval from the Trojan War till near the time of Cyrus, its necessity was felt. The first Lawgivers are known under the name of The Seven Sages, a title which at that time did not imply any such character as that of the Sophists teachers of wisdom, designedly [and systematically] proclaiming the Bight and True but merely thinking men, whose thinking stopped short of Science, properly so called.

They were practical politicians; the good counsels which two of them Thales of Miletus and Bias of Priene gave to the Ionian cities, have been already mentioned. Thus Solon was commissioned by the Athenians to give them laws, as those then in operation no longer sufficed. Solon gave the Athenians a constitution by which all obtained equal rights, yet not so as to render the Democracy a quite abstract one. The main point in Democracy is moral disposition. Virtue is the basis of Democracy, remarks Montesquieu; and this sentiment is as important as it is true in reference to the idea of Democracy commonly entertained.

G. W. F. Hegel – Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts

The Substance, [the Principle] of Justice, the common weal, the general interest, is the main consideration; but it is so only as Custom, in the form of Objective Will, so that morality properly so called subjective conviction and intention has not yet manifested itself. Law exists, and is in point of substance, the Law of Freedom, rational [in its form and purport,] and valid because it is Law, i.

As in Beauty the Natural element its sensuous coefficient remains, so also in this customary morality, laws assume the form of a necessity of Nature. Whether a Christian doctrine stands exactly thus or thus in the Bible, the point to which the exegetical scholars of modern times devote all their attention is not the only question. The Letter kills, the Spirit makes alive: To make abstractions hold in reality is to destroy reality.

Karl Ludwig Michelet Dritter Band. Verlag von Dunder und humblot. As translated by H. Nisbet On the stage on which we are observing it, — Universal History — Spirit displays itself in its most concrete reality.

The destiny of the spiritual World, and, — since this is the substantial World, while the physical remains subordinate to it, or, in the language of speculation, has no truth as against the spiritual, — the final cause of the World at large, we allege to be the consciousness of its own freedom on the part of Spirit, and ipso facto, the reality of that freedom. The first remark we have to make, and which — though already presented more than once — cannot be too often repeated when the occasion seems to call for it, — is that what we call principle, aim, destiny, or the nature and idea of Spirit, is something merely general and abstract.

Principle — Plan of Existence — Law — is a hidden, undeveloped essence, which as such — however true in itself — is not completely real. That which exists for itself only, is a possibility, a potentiality; but has not yet emerged into Existence. A second element must be introduced in order to produce actuality — viz. Science and knowledge, especially that of philosophy, came from the Arabs into the West. We assert then that nothing has been accomplished without interest on the part of the actors; and — if interest be called passion, inasmuch as the whole individuality, to the neglect of all other actual or possible interests and claims, is devoted to an object with every fibre of volition, concentrating all its desires and powers upon it — we may affirm absolutely that nothing great in the World has been accomplished without passion.

Nothing great in the World has been accomplished without passion. We may affirm absolutely that nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without enthusiasm. This final aim is God's purpose with the world; but God is the absolutely perfect Being, and can, therefore, will nothing but himself. The great empire of the Caliphs did not last long: The great Arabian empire fell about the same time as that of the Franks: The Osman race at last succeeded in establishing a firm dominion, by forming for themselves a firm center in the Janizaries.

Fanaticism having cooled down, no moral principle remained in men's souls. In the struggle with the Saracens, European valour had idealized itself to a fair and noble chivalry. A noble poetry and free imagination was kindled among the Germans by the East a fact which directed Goethe's attention to the Orient and occasioned the composition of a string of lyric pearls, in his "Divan," which in warmth and felicity of fancy cannot be surpassed.

Lectures on the Philosophy of History, H. Bohn,part IV. The German world, p. With this a twofold method of considering the soul, also known to Aristotle, comes into play, namely the purely rational or logical view, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the physical or physiological; these we still see practiced side by side. According to the one view, anger, for instance, is looked on as an eager desire for retaliation or the like; according to the other view it is the surging upward of the heartblood and the warm element in man.

The former is the rational, the latter the material view of anger; just as one man may define a house as a shelter against wind, rain, and other destructive agencies, while another defines it as consisting of wood and stone; that is to say, the former gives the determination and the form, or the purpose of the thing, while the latter specifies the material it is made of, and its necessary conditions.

Simson first translated p. The unity of man with the world is for this end broken, that it may be restored in a higher unity, that the world, as an intelligible world, may be received into God.

The relation of man to God thereby reveals itself in the way provided for our salvation in worship, but more particularly it likewise shows itself in Philosophy; and that with the express consciousness of the aim that the individual should render himself capable of belonging to this intelligible world. The manner in which man represents to himself his relation to God is more particularly determined by the manner in which man represents to himself God.

What is now often said, that man need not know God, and may yet have the knowledge of this relation, is false. Since God is the First, He determines the relation, and therefore in order to know what is the truth of the relation, man must know God.

Since therefore thought goes so far as to deny the natural, what we are now concerned with is not to seek truth in any existing mode, but from our inner Being to go forth again to a true objective, which derives its determination from the intrinsic nature of thought. In his theologia natural is, which he handled in a speculative spirit, he dealt with the Nature of things, and with the revelation of God in Nature and in the history of the God-man.

He sought to prove to unbelievers the Being, the trinity, the incarnation, the life, and the revelation of God in Nature, and in the history of the God-man, basing his arguments on Reason.

From the contemplation of Nature he rises to God; and in the same way he reaches morality from; observation of man's inner nature. This purer and simpler style must be set off against the other, if we are to do justice to the Scholastic theologians in their turn. Simson first translated P. He represents the original principle, which is elsewhere known as the form, under the Notion of the minimum, which is at the same time the maximum One, which at the same time is All; the universe is this One in All.

The result in the two cases is much the same, although both the starting point and the method of progression are somewhat different. In Jacobi's case the stimulus was given mainly by French philosophy, with which he was very conversant, and also by German metaphysics, while Kant began rather from the English side, that is, from the skepticism of Hume. Jacobi, in that negative attitude which he preserved as well as Kant, kept before him the objective aspect of the method of knowledge, and specially considered it, for he declared knowledge to be in its content incapable of recognizing the Absolute: The first sphere is abstract right Rechtin which Hegel discusses the idea of 'non-interference' as a way of respecting others.

Under this, Hegel proposes that humans reflect their own subjectivity of others in order to respect them. The third sphere, ethical life Sittlichkeitis Hegel's integration of individual subjective feelings and universal notions of right. Under ethical life, Hegel then launches into a lengthy discussion about family, civil society, and the state. Hegel also argues that the state itself is subsumed under the higher totality of world history, in which individual states arise, conflict with each other, and eventually fall.

The course of history is apparently toward the ever-increasing actualization of freedom ; each successive historical epoch corrects certain failures of the earlier ones. At the end of his Lectures on the Philosophy of HistoryHegel leaves open the possibility that history has yet to accomplish certain tasks related to the inner organization of the state.

Reception[ edit ] There were a number of issues that arose during the translation of the text. From these early translations came the criticism that Hegel justifies authoritarian or even totalitarian forms of government: Giovanni Gentilewhose thought had a strong influence on Mussolini, bases his Hegelian revival on this point.

However, Walter Kaufmann argues that the correct translation reads as follows: Kaufmann claims that Hegel's original meaning of the sentence is not a carte blanche for state dominance and brutality but merely a reference to the state's importance as part of the process of history.

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