Nationalism (Concepts in Social Thought)

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Roger Masters in The Nature of Politics describes the primordial explanation of the origin of ethnic and national groups as recognizing group attachments that are thought to be unique, emotional, intense, and durable because they are based upon kinship and promoted along lines of common ancestry. The primordialist evolutionary view of nationalism has its origins in the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin that were later substantially elaborated by John Tooby and Leda Cosmides. Central to evolutionary theory is that all biological organisms undergo changes in their anatomical features and their characteristic behaviour patterns.

In addition to evolutionary development of mental and physical traits, Darwin and other evolutionary theorists emphasize the influence of the types of environment upon behaviour. First of all there are ancestral environments that are typically long-term and stable forms of situations that influence mental development of individuals or groups gained either biologically through birth or learned from family or relatives, which cause the emphasis of certain mental behaviours that are developed due to the requirements of the ancestral environment.

In national group settings, these ancestral environments can result in psychological triggers in the minds of individuals within a group, such as responding positively to patriotic cues. There are immediate environments that are those situations that confront an individual or group at a given point and activate certain mental responses. There are proximate environments where individuals identify nonimmediate real or imagined situations in combination with immediate situations that make individuals confront a common situation of both subjective and objective components that affect their decisions.

As such proximate environments cause people to make decisions based on existing situations and anticipated situations. In the context of the politics of nations and nationalism, a political leader may adopt an international treaty not out of a benevolent stance but in the belief that such a treaty will either benefit their nation or will increase the prestige of their nation.

Nations that are angry with circumstances imposed on them by others are affected by the proximate environment that shapes the nationalism of such nations. Pierre van den Berghe in The Ethnic Phenomenon emphasizes the role of ethnicity and kinship involving family biological ties to members of an ethnic group as being an important element of national identity. Van den Berghe states the sense of family attachments among related people as creating durable, intense, emotional, and cooperative attachments, that he claims are utilized within ethnic groups.

Van den Berghe identifies genetic-relatedness as being a basis for the durable attachments of family groups, as genetic ties cannot be removed and they are passed on from generation to generation. Van den Berge identifies common descent as the basis for the establishment of boundaries of ethnic groups, as most people do not join ethnic groups but are born into them. Berghe notes that this kinship group affiliation and solidarity does not require actual relatedness but can include imagined relatedness that may not be biologically accurate.

Berghe notes that feelings of ethnic solidarity usually arise in small and compact groups whereas there is less solidarity in large and dispersed groups. There are functionalist interpretations of the primordialist evolutionary theory. This is resolved by the formation of a clan group that defines who is accepted within the group and defines the boundaries within which the resources will be distributed.

This functionalist interpretation does not require genetic-relatedness, and identifies a variety of reasons for ethnic or national group formation. The first reason is that such groups may extend group identity and cooperation beyond the limits of family and kinship out of reciprocal altruism, in the belief that helping other individuals will produce an advantageous situation for both the sender and receiver of that help; this tendency has been noted in studies by Robert Axelrod that are summarized in his book The Evolution of Cooperation The second reason is that such groups may be formed as a means of defense to insure survival, fears by one group of a hostile group threatening them can increase solidarity amongst that group, R.

Paul Shaw and Yuwa Wong in their book The Genetic Seeds of Warfare identify this as the foundation of xenophobia that they identify as originating in hunter gatherer societies. The modernist interpretation of nationalism and nation-building perceives that nationalism arises and flourishes in modern societies described as being associated with having: an industrial economy capable of self-sustainability of the society, a central supreme authority capable of maintaining authority and unity, and a centralized language or small group of centralized languages understood by a community of people.

Modernist theorists note that this is only possible in modern societies, while traditional societies typically: lack a modern industrial self-sustainable economy, have divided authorities, have multiple languages resulting in many people being unable to communicate with each other. Karl Marx wrote about the creation of nations as requiring a bourgeois revolution and an industrial economy.

Maine saw the development of societies as moving away from traditional status societies to modern contract societies. While he recognized the advantages of modern societies he also criticized them for their cold and impersonal nature that caused alienation while praising the intimacy of traditional communities.

Durkheim identified mechanical solidarity as involving custom, habit, and repression that was necessary to maintain shared views. Durkheim identified organic solidarity-based societies as modern societies where there exists a division of labour based on social differentiation that causes alienation.

Durkheim claimed that social integration in traditional society required authoritarian culture involving acceptance of a social order. Durkheim claimed that modern society bases integration on the mutual benefits of the division of labour, but noted that the impersonal character of modern urban life caused alienation and feelings of anomie. Max Weber claimed the change that developed modern society and nations is the result of the rise of a charismatic leader to power in a society who creates a new tradition or a rational-legal system that establishes the supreme authority of the state.

Civic nationalism also known as liberal nationalism defines the nation as an association of people who identify themselves as belonging to the nation, who have equal and shared political rights, and allegiance to similar political procedures. According to the principles of civic nationalism, the nation is not based on common ethnic ancestry, but is a political entity whose core identity is not ethnicity.

Civic nationalism is a kind of non-xenophobic nationalism that is claimed to be compatible with liberal values of freedom, tolerance, equality, and individual rights. Civic nationalism lies within the traditions of rationalism and liberalism, but as a form of nationalism it is contrasted with ethnic nationalism. Civic-national ideals influenced the development of representative democracy in countries such as the United States and France see the United States Declaration of Independence of , and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of Some nationalists exclude certain groups.

Sometimes a mythic homeland is more important for the national identity than the actual territory occupied by the nation. In the late 19th and early 20th century, many Polish nationalist leaders were in thrall to the Piast Concept. It held there was a Polish utopia during the Piast Dynasty a thousand years before, and modern Polish nationalists should restore its central values of Poland for the Poles.

There was no place in the Piast Concept for a multicultural Poland. The Jagellon Concept was the official policy of the government in the s and s. After the Communist regime wholeheartedly adopted the Piast Concept, making it the centerpiece of their claim to be the true inheritors of Polish nationalism. Many nationalist movements are dedicated to national liberation, in the view that their nations are being persecuted by other nations and thus need to exercise self-determination by liberating themselves from the accused persecutors.

Territorial nationalists assume that all inhabitants of a particular nation owe allegiance to their country of birth or adoption. A sacred quality is sought in the nation and in the popular memories it evokes. Citizenship is idealised by territorial nationalists. A criterion of a territorial nationalism is the establishment of a mass, public culture based on common values, codes and traditions of the population. Pan-nationalism is unique in that it covers a large area span.

Pan-Slavism is one example of Pan-nationalism. The goal was to unite all Slavic people into one country. They did succeed by uniting several south Slavic people into Yugoslavia It is often characterized by authoritarianism, efforts toward reduction or stoppage of immigration, expulsion and or oppression of non-native populations within the nation or its territories, demagoguery of leadership, emotionalism, fomenting talk of presumed, real, or imagined enemies, predicating the existence of threats to the survival of the native, dominant or otherwise idealized national ethnicity or population group, instigation or extremist reaction to crack-down policies in law enforcement, efforts to limit international trade through tariffs, tight control over businesses and production, militarism, populism and propaganda.

Prevalent ultranationalism typically leads to or is the result of conflict within a state, and or between states, and is identified as a condition of pre-war in national politics. A quite long piece of about pages, The German Constitution Die Verfassung Deutchlands was written and revised by Hegel between and and was not published until after his death in This piece provides an analysis and critique of the constitution of the German Empire with the main theme being that the Empire is a thing of the past and that appeals for a unified German state are anachronistic.

Hegel finds a certain hypocrisy in German thinking about the Empire and a gap between theory and practice in the German constitution. Germany was no longer a state governed by law but rather a plurality of independent political entities with disparate practices. Hegel stresses the need to recognize that the realities of the modern state necessitate a strong public authority along with a populace that is free and unregimented.

The principle of government in the modern world is constitutional monarchy, the potentialities of which can be seen in Austria and Prussia. Hegel ends the essay on an uncertain note with the idea that Germany as a whole could be saved only by some Machiavellian genius. Hegel sided with King Frederick and criticized the Estates as being reactionary in their appeal to old customary laws and feudal property rights. There has been controversy over whether Hegel here was trying to gain favor with the King in order to attain a government position. However, Hegel's favoring a sovereign kingdom of Wurtemberg over the German Empire and the need for a constitutional charter that is more rational than the previous are quite continuous with the previous essays.

A genuine state needs a strong and effective central public authority, and in resisting the Estates are trying to live in the feudal past. Moreover, Hegel is not uncritical of the King's constitutional provisions and finds deficiencies in the exclusion of members of professions from the Estates Assembly as well as in the proposal for direct suffrage in representation, which treats citizens like unintegrated atomic units rather than as members of a political community.

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The last of Hegel's political tracts, "The English Reform Bill," was written in installments in for the ministerial newspaper, the Preussische Staatszeitung, but was interrupted due to censure by the Prussian King because of the perception of its being overly critical and anti-English. As a result, the remainder of the work was printed independently and distributed discretely. Hegel's main line of criticism is that the proposed English reforms of suffrage will not make much of a difference in the distribution of political power and may only create a power struggle between the rising group of politicians and the traditional ruling class.

Moreover, there are deep problems in English society that cannot be addressed by the proposed electoral reforms, including political corruption in the English burroughs, the selling of seats in parliament, and the general oligarchic nature of social reality including the wide disparities between wealth and poverty, Ecclesiastical patronage, and conditions in Ireland. While Hegel supports the idea of reform with its appeal to rational change as against the "positivity" of customary law, traditionalism and privilege, he thinks that universalizing suffrage with a property qualification without a thorough reform of the system of Common Law and the existing social conditions will only be perceived as token measures leading to greater disenchantment among the newly enfranchised and possibly inclinations to violent revolution.

Hegel claims that national pride keeps the English from studying and following the reforms of the European Continent or seriously reflecting upon and grasping the nature of government and legislation. There are several overall themes that reoccur in these political writings and that connect with some of the main lines of thought in Hegel's theoretical works.

First, there is the contrast between the attitude of legal positivism and the appeal to the law of reason. Hegel consistently displays a "political rationalism" which attacks old concepts and attitudes that no longer apply to the modern world. Old constitutions stemming from the Feudal era are a confused mixture of customary laws and special privileges that must give way to the constitutional reforms of the new social and political world that has arrived in the aftermath of the French Revolution.

Second, reforms of old constitutions must be thorough and radical, but also cautious and gradual. This might sound somewhat inconsistent, but for Hegel a reform is radical due to a fundamental change in direction, not the speed of such change. Hegel suggests that customary institutions not be abolished too quickly for there must be some congruence and continuity with the existing social conditions. Hegel rejects violent popular action and sees the principal force for reform in governments and the estates assemblies, and he thinks reforms should always stress legal equality and the public welfare.

Third, Hegel emphasizes the need for a strong central government, albeit without complete centralized control of public administration and social relations. The task of government is not to thoroughly bureaucratize civil society but rather to provide oversight, regulation, and when necessary intervention. Fourth, Hegel claims that representation of the people must be popular but not atomistic. The democratic element in a state is not its sole feature and it must be institutionalized in a rational manner.

Hegel rejects universal suffrage as irrational because it provides no means of mediation between the individual and the state as a whole. Hegel believed that the masses lacked the experience and political education to be directly involved in national elections and policy matters and that direct suffrage leads to electoral indifference and apathy. Fifth, while acknowledging the importance of a division of powers in the public authority, Hegel does not appeal to a conception of separation and balance of powers. He views the estates assemblies, which safeguard freedom, as essentially related to the monarch and also stresses the role of civil servants and members of the professions, both in ministerial positions and in the assemblies.

The monarchy, however, is the central supporting element in the constitutional structure because the monarch is invested with the sovereignty of the state. However, the power of the monarch is not despotical for he exercises authority through universal laws and statutes and is advised and assisted by a ministry and civil service, all members of which must meet educational requirements. Hegel wrote several pieces while at the University of Jena that point in the direction of some of the main theses of the Philosophy of Right.

In this piece, usually referred to as the essay on Natural Law, Hegel criticizes both the empirical and formal approaches to natural law, as exemplified in British and Kantian philosophy respectively. Empiricism reaches conclusions that are limited by the particularities of its contexts and materials and thus cannot provide universally valid propositions regarding the concepts of various social and political institutions or of the relation of reflective consciousness to social and political experience.

Formalist conclusions, on the other hand, are too insubstantial and abstract in failing to properly link human reason concretely to human experience. Traditional natural law theories are based on an abstract rationalism and the attempts of Rousseau, Kant, and Fichte to remedy this through their various ethical conceptions fail to overcome abstractness. For Hegel, the proper method of philosophical science must link concretely the development of the human mind and its rational powers to actual experience.

Moreover, the concept of a social and political community must transcend the instrumentalizing of the state. Hegel's work entitled "The System of Ethical Life" System der Sittlichkeit was written in and first published in its entirety by Georg Lasson in in a volume entitled Schriften zur Politik und Rechtsphilosophie. In this work, Hegel develops a philosophical theory of social and political development that correlates with the self-development of essential human powers.

However, the satisfaction of human desires leads to their reproduction and multiplication and leads to the necessity for labor, which induces transformation in the human world and people's connections to it. Another result of labor is the emergence of private property as an embodiment of human personality as well as of sets of legal relationships that institutionalize property ownership, exchange, etc. Furthermore, disparities in property and power lead to relationships of subordination and the use of the labor of others to satisfy one's increasingly complex and expanded desires.

Gradually, a system of mutual dependence, a "system of needs," develops, and along with the increasing division of labor there also develops class differentiations reflecting the types of labor or activity taken up by members of each class, which Hegel classifies into the agricultural, acquisitive, and administerial classes. However, despite relations of interdependence and cooperation the members of society experience social connections as a sort of blind fate without some larger system of control which is provided by the state which regulates the economic life of society. The details of the structure of the state are unclear in this essay, but what is clear is that for Hegel the state provides an increased rationality to social practices, much in the sense that the later German sociologist Max Weber would articulate how social practices become more rational by being codified and made more predictable.

The manuscripts entitled Realphilosophie are based on lectures Hegel delivered at Jena University in Realphilosophie I and Realphilosophie II , and were originally published by Johannes Hoffmeister in These writings cover much of the same ground as the System der Sittlichkeit in explicating a philosophy of mind and human experience in relation to human social and political development.

Some of the noteworthy ideas in these writings are the role and significance of language for social consciousness, for giving expression to a people Volk and for the comprehending of and mastery of the world, and the necessity and consequences of the fragmentation of primordial social relationships and patterns as part of the process of human development. Also, there is a reiteration of the importance of property relations as crucial to social recognition and how there would be no security of property or recognition of property rights if society were to remain a mere multitude of families.

Such security requires a system of control over the "struggle for recognition" through interpersonal norms, rules, and juridical authority provided by the nation state. Moreover, Hegel repeats the need for strong state regulation of the economy, which if left to its own workings is blind to the needs of the social community. The economy, especially through the division of labor, produces fragmentation and diminishment of human life compare Marx on alienation and the state must not only address this phenomenon but also provide the means for the people's political participation to further the development of social self-consciousness.

In all of this Hegel appears to be providing a philosophical account of modern developments both in terms of the tensions and conflicts that are new to modernity as well as in the progressive movements of reform found under the influence of Napoleon. Finally, Hegel also discusses the forms of government, the three main types being tyranny, democracy, and hereditary monarchy. Tyranny is found typically in primitive or undeveloped states, democracy exists in states where there is the realization of individual identity but no split between the public and private person, and hereditary monarchy is the appropriate form of political authority in the modern world in providing strong central government along with a system of indirect representation through Estates.

The relation of religion to the state is undeveloped in these writings, but Hegel is clear about the supereminent role of the state that stands above all else in giving expression to the Spirit Geist of a society in a sort of earthly kingdom of God, the realization of God in the world. True religion complements and supports this realization and thus cannot properly have supremacy over or be opposed to the state. Originally intended to be the first part of his comprehensive system of science Wissenschaft or philosophy, Hegel eventually considered it to be the introduction to his system.

This work provides what can be called a "biography of spirit," i. It has continuity with the works discussed above in examining the development of the human mind in relation to human experience but is more wide-ranging in also addressing fundamental questions about the meaning of perceiving, knowing, and other cognitive activities as well as of the nature of reason and reality.

Given the focus of this essay, the themes of the Phenomenology to be discussed here are those directly relevant to Hegel's social and political thought. One of the most widely discussed places in the Phenomenology is the chapter on "The Truth of Self-Certainty" which includes a subsection on "Independence and Dependence of Self-Consciousness: Lordship and Bondage. It is clear that Hegel intended the scenario to typify certain features of the struggle for recognition Anerkennung overall, be it social, personal, etc.

The conflict between master and slave which shall be referred to hereafter as lord and bondsman as more in keeping with Hegel's own terminology and the intended generic meaning is one in which the historical themes of dominance and obedience, dependence and independence, etc. Although this specific dialectic of struggle occurs only at the earliest stages of self-consciousness, it nonetheless sets up the main problematic for achieving realized self-consciousness—the gaining of self-recognition through the recognition of and by another, through mutual recognition.

According to Hegel, the relationship between self and otherness is the fundamental defining characteristic of human awareness and activity, being rooted as it is in the emotion of desire for objects as well as in the estrangement from those objects, which is part of the primordial human experience of the world. The otherness that consciousness experiences as a barrier to its goal is the external reality of the natural and social world, which prevents individual consciousness from becoming free and independent.

However, that otherness cannot be abolished or destroyed, without destroying oneself, and so ideally there must be reconciliation between self and other such that consciousness can "universalize" itself through the other. In the relation of dominance and subservience between two consciousnesses, say lord and bondsman, the basic problem for consciousness is the overcoming of its otherness, or put positively, the achieving of integration with itself.

The relation between lord and bondsman leads to a sort of provisional, incomplete resolution of the struggle for recognition between distinct consciousnesses. Hegel asks us to consider how a struggle between two distinct consciousnesses, let us say a violent "life-or-death" struggle, would lead to one consciousness surrendering and submitting to the other out of fear of death. Initially, the consciousness that becomes lord or master proves its freedom through willingness to risk its life and not submit to the other out of fear of death, and thus not identify simply with its desire for life and physical being.

Moreover, this consciousness is given acknowledgement of its freedom through the submission and dependence of the other, which turns out paradoxically to be a deficient recognition in that the dominant one fails to see a reflection of itself in the subservient one. Adequate recognition requires a mirroring of the self through the other, which means that to be successful it must be mutual. In the ensuing relationship of lordship and bondage, furthermore, the bondsman through work and discipline motivated by fear of dying at the hands of the master or lord transforms his subservience into a mastery over his environment, and thus achieves a measure of independence.

In objectifying himself in his environment through his labor the bondsman in effect realizes himself, with his transformed environment serving as a reflection of his inherently self-realizing activity. Thus, the bondsman gains a measure of independence in his subjugation out of fear of death. In a way, the lord represents death as the absolute subjugator, since it is through fear of this master, of the death that he can impose, that the bondsman in his acquiescence and subservience is placed into a social context of work and discipline.

Yet despite, or more properly, because of this subjection the bondsman is able to attain a measure of independence by internalizing and overcoming those limitations which must be dealt with if he is to produce efficiently. However, this accomplishment, the self-determination of the bondsman, is limited and incomplete because of the asymmetry that remains in his relation to the lord. Self-consciousness is still fragmented, i. Only in a realm of ethical life can self-determination be fully self-conscious to the extent that universal freedom is reflected in the life of each individual member of society.

Thus, in the Phenomenology consciousness must move on through the phases of Stoicism, Skepticism, and the Unhappy Consciousness before engaging in the self-articulation of Reason, and it is not until the section "Objective Spirit: The Ethical Order" that the full universalization of self-consciousness is in principle to be met with. Here we find a shape of human existence where all men work freely, serving the needs of the whole community rather than of masters, and subject only to the "discipline of reason. However, the ethical life described here is still in its immediacy and is therefore at a level of abstractness that falls short of the mediation of subjectivity and universality which is provided spiritually in revealed Christianity and politically in the modern state, which purportedly provides a solution to human conflict arising from the struggle for recognition.

In any case, the rest of the Phenomenology is devoted to examinations of culture including enlightenment and revolution , morality, religion, and finally, Absolute Knowing. The dialectic of self-determination is, for Hegel, inherent in the very structure of freedom, and is the defining feature of Spirit Geist. The full actualization of Spirit in the human community requires the progressive development of individuality which effectively begins with the realization in self-consciousness of the "truth of self-certainty" and culminates in the shape of a shared common life in an integrated community of love and Reason, based upon the realization of truths of incarnation, death, resurrection, and forgiveness as grasped in speculative Religion.

The articulation Hegel provides in the Phenomenology , however, is very generic and is to be made concrete politically with the working out of a specific conception of the modern nation-state with its particular configuration of social and political institutions. It is to the latter that we must turn in order to see how these fundamental dialectical considerations take shape in the "solution" to the struggle for recognition in self-consciousness. However, before moving directly to Hegel's theory of the state, and history, some discussion of his Logic is in order. The Logic constitutes the first part of Hegel's philosophical system as presented in his Encyclopedia.

It was preceded by his larger work, The Science of Logic Wissenschaft der Logik , published in in two volumes. The "Encyclopedia Logic" is a shorter version intended to function as part of an "outline," but it became longer in the course of the three published versions of , , and Also, the English translation by William Wallace contains additions from the notes of students who heard Hegel's lectures on this subject. The structure of the Logic is triadic, reflecting the organization of the larger system of philosophy as well as a variety of other motifs, both internal and external to the Logic proper.

There are a number of logical categories in this work that are directly relevant to social and political theorizing. He claims that the task of philosophy is to bring out the ideality of the finite, and as will be seen later Hegel's philosophy of the state is intended to articulate the ideality of the state, i. In the Doctrine of Essence, Hegel explains the categories of actuality and freedom. Hegel will have related points to make about the actuality of the idea of the state in society and history.

Also, he defines freedom not in terms of contingency or lack of determination, as is popular, but rather as the "truth of necessity," i. The Doctrine of the Notion Begriff is perhaps the most relevant section of the Logic to social and political theory due to its focus on the various dynamics of development.

This section is subdivided into three parts: the subjective notion, the objective notion, and the idea which articulates the unity of subjective and objective.

Hegel treats these relationships as logical judgments and syllogisms but they do not merely articulate how the mind must operate subjectivity but also explain actual relationships in reality objectivity. Finally, in the Idea, the correspondence of the notion or concept with objective reality, we have the truth of objects or objects as they ought to be, i.

The logical articulation of the Idea is very important to Hegel's explanation of the Idea of the state in modern history, for this provides the principles of rationality that guide the development of Spirit in the world and that become manifested in various ways in social and political life. The work was republished by Eduard Gans in and as part of Hegel's Werke , vol. The English language translation of this work by T. Knox refers to these later editions as well as to an edition published in by Georg Lasson, which included corrections from previous editions.

The Philosophy of Right constitutes, along with Hegel's Philosophy of History, the penultimate section of his Encyclopedia , the section on Objective Spirit, which deals with the human world and its array of social rules and institutions, including the moral, legal, religious, economic, and political as well as marriage, the family, social classes, and other forms of human organization.

The modern nature of nationalism

The German word Recht is often translated as 'law', however, Hegel clearly intends the term to have a broader meaning that captures what we might call the good or just society, one that is "rightful" in its structure, composition, and practices. In the Introduction to this work Hegel explains the concept of his philosophical undertaking along with the specific key concepts of will, freedom, and right. Hegel is emphatic that the study is scientific in that it deals in a systematic way with something essentially rational. Furthermore, Hegel is at pains to distinguish the historical or legal approach to "positive law" Gesetz and the philosophical approach to the Idea of right Recht , the former involving mere description and compilation of laws as legal facts while the latter probes into the inner meaning and necessary determinations of law or right.

For Hegel the justification of something, the finding of its inherent rationality, is not a matter of seeking its origins or longstanding features but rather of studying it conceptually. However, there is one sense in which the origin of right is relevant to philosophical science and this is the free will. This ethical life in the state consists in the unity of the universal and the subjective will.

The universal will is contained in the Idea of freedom as its essence, but when considered apart from the subjective will can be thought of only abstractly or indeterminately.

Classical Sociology Beyond Methodological Nationalism

In other words, the universal will is that moment in the Idea of freedom where willing is thought of as state of absolutely unrestrained volition, unfettered by any particular circumstances or limitations whatsoever—the pure form of willing. This is expressed in the modern libertarian view of completely uncoerced choice, the absence of restraint or "negative liberty" as understood by Thomas Hobbes.

This means that the will is not merely unrestrained in acting but that it actually can give expression to the doing or accomplishing of certain things, e. The unity of both the moments of abstract universality the will in-itself and subjectivity or particularity the will for-itself is the concrete universal or true individuality the will in-and-for-itself. According to Hegel, preservation of the distinction of these two moments in the unity identity-in-difference between universal and particular will is what produces rational self-determination of an ego, as well as the self-consciousness of the state as a whole.

Hegel's conception of freedom as self-determination is just this unity in difference of the universal and subjective will, be it in the willing by individual persons or in the expressions of will by groups of individuals or collectivities. The "negative self-relation" of this freedom involves the subordination of the natural instincts, impulses, and desires to conscious reflection and to goals and purposes that are consciously chosen and that require commitment to rational principles in order to properly guide action.

The overall structure of the Philosophy of Right is quite remarkable in its "syllogistic" organization. The main division of the work corresponds to what Hegel calls the stages in the development of "the Idea of the absolutely free will," and these are Abstract Right, Morality, and Ethical Life. These last subdivisions are further subdivided into triads, with fourth level subdivisions occurring under Civil Society and the State.

This triadic system of rubrics is no mere description of a static model of social and political life. Hegel claims that it gives expression to the conceptual development of Spirit in human society based upon the purely logical development of rationality provided in his Logic. Thus, it is speculatively based and not derivable from empirical survey, although the particularities of the system do indeed correspond to our experience and what we know about ourselves anthropologically, culturally, etc.

The transition in the Logic from universality to particularity to individuality or concrete universality is expressed in the social and political context in the conceptual transition from Abstract Right to Morality to Ethical Life. In the realm of Abstract Right, the will remains in its immediacy as an abstract universal that is expressed in personality and in the universal right to possession of external things in property.

In the realm of Morality, the will is no longer merely "in-itself," or restricted to the specific characteristics of legal personality, but becomes free "for-itself," i. The will is expressed, initially, in inner conviction and subsequently in purpose, intention, and conviction. As opposed to the merely juridical person, the moral agent places primary value on subjective recognition of principles or ideals that stand higher than positive law.

Because the subject is intrinsically a social being who needs association with others in order to institutionalize the universal maxims of morality, maxims that cover all people, it is only in the realm of Ethical Life that the universal and the subjective will come into a unity through the objectification of the will in the institutions of the Family, Civil Society, and the State.

In what follows, we trace through Hegel's systematic development of the "stages of the will," highlighting only the most important points as necessary to get an overall view of this work. The subject of Abstract Right Recht is the person as the bearer or holder of individual rights. Hegel claims that this focus on the right of personality, while significant in distinguishing persons from mere things, is abstract and without content, a simple relation of the will to itself.

In this formal conception of right, there is no question of particular interests, advantages, motives or intentions, but only the mere idea of the possibility of choosing based on the having of permission, as long as one does not infringe on the right of other persons. Because of the possibilities of infringement, the positive form of commands in this sphere are prohibitions. Property is the category through which one becomes an object to oneself in that one actualizes the will through possession of something external. Property is the embodiment of personality and of freedom.

Not only can a person put his or her will into something external through the taking possession of it and of using it, but one can also alienate property or yield it to the will of another, including the ability to labor for a restricted period of time.

One's personality is inalienable and one's right to personality imprescriptible. This means one cannot alienate all of one's labor time without becoming the property of another. In this sphere, we have a relation of will to will, i. Note the significant development here beyond the dialectic of lord and bondsman.

Hegel: Social and Political Thought | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Moreover, when contract involves the alienation or giving up of property, the external thing is now an explicit embodiment of the unity of wills. In contractual relations of exchange, what remains identical as the property of the individuals is its value, in respect to which the parties to the contract are on an equal footing, regardless of the qualitative external differences between the things exchanged. In immediate relations of persons to one another it is possible for a particular will to be at variance with the universal through arbitrariness of decision and contingency of circumstance, and so the appearance Erscheinung of right takes on the character of a show Schein , which is the inessential, arbitrary, posing as the essential.

If the "show" is only implicit and not explicit also, i. In fraud a show is made to deceive the other party and so in the doer's eyes the right asserted is only a show. Crime is wrong both in itself and from the doer's point of view, such that wrong is willed without even the pretense or show of right. Here the form of acting does not imply a recognition of right but rather is an act of coercion through exercise of force. It is a "negatively infinite judgement" in that it asserts a denial of rights to the victim, which is not only incompatible with the fact of the matter but also self-negating in denying its own capacity for rights in principle.

The penalty that falls on the criminal is not merely just but is "a right established within the criminal himself, i. All crimes are comparable in their universal property of being injuries, thus, in a sense it is not something personal but the concept itself which carries out retribution. Crime, as the will which is implicitly null, contains its negation in itself, which is its punishment.

The nullity of crime is that it has set aside right as such, but since right is absolute it cannot be set aside. Thus, the act of crime is not something positive, not a first thing, but is something negative, and punishment is the negation of crime's negation. The demand for justice as punishment rather than as revenge, with regard to wrong, implies the demand for a will which, though particular and subjective, also wills the universal as such.

In wrong the will has become aware of itself as particular and has opposed itself to and contradicted the universal embodied in rights. At this stage the universally right is abstract and one-sided and thus requires a move to a higher level of self-consciousness where the universally right is mediated by the particular convictions of the willing subject.

We go beyond the criminal's defiance of the universal by substituting for the abstract conception of personality the more concrete conception of subjectivity. The criminal is now viewed as breaking his own law, and his crime is a self-contradiction and not only a contradiction of a right outside him. At the level of morality the right of the subjective will is embodied in immediate wills as opposed to immediate things like property.

The defect of this level, however, is that the subject is only for itself, i. Therefore, the identity of the particular will and the universal will is only implicit and the moral point of view is that of a relation of "ought-to-be," or the demand for what is right. While the moral will externalizes itself in action, its self-determination is a pure "restlessness" of activity that never arrives at actualization. The right of the moral will has three aspects.

First, there is the right of the will to act in its external environment, to recognize as its actions only those that it has consciously willed in light of an aim or purpose purpose and responsibility. Second, in my intention I ought to be aware not simply of my particular action but also of the universal which is conjoined with it. The universal is what I have willed and is my intention. The right of intention is that the universal quality of the action is not merely implied but is known by the agent, and so it lies from the start in one's subjective will.

Moreover, the content of such a will is not only the right of the particular subject to be satisfied but is elevated to a universal end, the end of welfare or happiness intention and welfare. The welfare of many unspecified persons is thus also an essential end and right of subjectivity. However, right as an abstract universal and welfare as abstract particularity, may collide, since both are contingent on circumstances for their satisfaction, e.

While true or authentic conscience is the disposition to will what is absolutely good, and thus correspond with what is objectively right, purely formal conscience lacks an objective system of principles and duties. Although conscience is ideally supposed to mean the identity of subjective knowing and willing with the truly good, when it remains the subjective inner reflection of self-consciousness into itself its claim to this identity is deficient and one-sided.

Moreover, when the determinate character of right and duty reduces to subjectivity, the mere inwardness of the will, there is the potentiality of elevating the self-will of particular individuals above the universal itself, i. What makes a person evil is the choosing of natural desires in opposition to the good, i. When an individual attempts to pass off his or her action as good, and thus imposing it on others, while being aware of the discrepancy between its negative character and the objective universal good, the person falls into hypocrisy.

Hegel's analysis of the moral implications of "good and conscience" leads to the conclusion that a concrete unity of the objective good with the subjectivity of the will cannot be achieved at the level of personal morality since all attempts at this are problematic. Thus, ethical life is permeated with both objectivity and subjectivity: regarded objectively it is the state and its institutions, whose force unlike abstract right depends entirely on the self-consciousness of citizens, on their subjective freedom; regarded subjectively it is the ethical will of the individual which unlike the moral will is aware of objective duties that express one's inner sense of universality.

The rationality of the ethical order of society is thus constituted in the synthesis of the concept of the will, both as universal and as particular, with its embodiment in institutional life. The synthesis of ethical life means that individuals not only act in conformity with the ethical good but that they recognize the authority of ethical laws. The knowledge of how the laws and institutions of society are binding on the will of individuals entails a "doctrine of duties. In the performance of duty the individual exhibits virtue when the ethical order is reflected in his or her character, and when this is done by simple conformity with one's duties it is rectitude.

When individuals are simply identified with the actual ethical order such that their ethical practices are habitual and second nature, ethical life appears in their general mode of conduct as custom Sitten. In duty "the self-will of the individual vanishes together with his private conscience which had claimed independence and opposed itself to the ethical substance.

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For when his character is ethical, he recognizes as the end which moves him to act the universal which is itself unmoved but is disclosed in its specific determinations as rationality actualized. However, this does not deny the right of subjectivity, i. The "bond of duty" will be seen as a restriction on the particular individual only if the self-will of subjective freedom is considered in the abstract, apart from an ethical order as is the case for both Abstract Right and Morality. In the realm of ethical life the logical syllogism of self-determination of the Idea is most clearly applied.

The moments of universality, particularity, and individuality initially are represented respectively in the institutions of the family, civil society, and the state. The family is "ethical mind in its natural or immediate phase" and is characterized by love or the feeling of unity in which one is not conscious of oneself as an independent person but only as a member of the family unit to which one is bound.

Civil society, on the other hand, comprises an association of individuals considered as self-subsistent and who have no conscious sense of unity of membership but only pursue self-interest, e. The family is characterized by love which is "mind's feeling of its own unity," where one's sense of individuality is within this unity, not as an independent individual but as a member essentially related to the other family members.

Thus, familial love implies a contradiction between, on the one hand, not wanting to be a self-subsistent and independent person if that means feeling incomplete and, on the other hand, wanting to be recognized in another person. Familial love is truly an ethical unity, but because it is nonetheless a subjective feeling it is limited in sustaining unity pars. The union of man and woman in marriage is both natural and spiritual, i. Since this consent involves bringing two persons into a union, there is the mutual surrender of their natural individuality for the sake of union, which is both a self-restriction and also a liberation because in this way individuals attain a higher self-consciousness.

This capital is the common property of all the family members, none of whom possess property of their own, but it is administered by the head of the family, the husband. Children provide the external and objective basis for the unity of marriage. The love of the parents for their children is the explicit expression of their love for each other, while their immediate feelings of love for each other are only subjective.

Children have the right to maintenance and education, and in this regard a claim upon the family capital, but parents have the right to provide this service to the children and to instill discipline over the wishes of their children. The education of children has a twofold purpose: the positive aim of instilling ethical principles in them in the form of immediate feeling and the negative one of raising them out of the instinctive physical level. Marriage can be dissolved not by whim but by duly constituted authority when there is total estrangement of husband and wife.

The ethical dissolution of the family results when the children have been educated to be free and responsible persons and they are of mature age under the law. The natural dissolution of the family occurs with the death of the parents, the result of which is the passing of inheritance of property to the surviving family members.

The disintegration of the family exhibits its immediacy and contingency as an expression of the ethical Idea pars. However, despite the pursuit of private or selfish ends in relatively unrestricted social and economic activity, universality is implicit in the differentiation of particular needs insofar as the welfare of an individual in society is intrinsically bound up with that of others, since each requires another in some way to effectively engage in reciprocal activities like commerce, trade, etc.

Because this system of interdependence is not self-conscious but exists only in abstraction from the individual pursuit of need satisfaction, here particularity and universality are only externally related. However, civil society is also a realm of mediation of particular wills through social interaction and a means whereby individuals are educated Bildung through their efforts and struggles toward a higher universal consciousness.

This dimension of civil society involves the pursuit of need satisfaction. Humans are different from animals in their ability to multiply needs and differentiate them in various ways, which leads to their refinement and luxury. Political economy discovers the necessary interconnections in the social and universalistic side of need. Work is the mode of acquisition and transformation of the means for satisfying needs as well as a mode of practical education in abilities and understanding. Work also reveals the way in which people are dependent upon one another in their self-seeking and how each individual contributes to the need satisfaction of all others.

Furthermore, labor undergoes a division according to the complexities of the system of production, which is reflected in social class divisions: the agricultural substantial or immediate ; the business reflecting or formal ; and the civil servants universal. Membership in a class is important for gaining status and recognition in a civil society. Hegel says that "A man actualizes himself only in becoming something definite, i. In this class-system, the ethical frame of mind therefore is rectitude and esprit de corps , i.

The "substantial" agricultural class is based upon family relationships whose capital is in the products of nature, such as the land, and tends to be patriarchial, unreflective, and oriented toward dependence rather than free activity. In contrast to this focus on "immediacy," the business class is oriented toward work and reflection, e.

The main activities of the business class are craftsmanship, manufacture, and trade. The third class is the class of civil servants, which Hegel calls the "universal class" because it has the universal interests of society as its concern. Members of this class are relieved from having to labor to support themselves and maintain their livelihood either from private resources such as inheritance or are paid a salary by the state as members of the bureaucracy.

These individuals tend to be highly educated and must qualify for appointment to government positions on the basis of merit. The principle of rightness becomes civil law Gesetz when it is posited, and in order to have binding force it must be given determinate objective existence. To be determinately existent, laws must be made universally known through a public legal code.

Through a rational legal system, private property and personality are given legal recognition and validity in civil society, and wrongdoing now becomes an infringement, not merely of the subjective right of individuals but also of the larger universal will that exists in ethical life. The court of justice is the means whereby right is vindicated as something universal by addressing particular cases of violation or conflict without mere subjective feeling or private bias. Moreover, court proceedings and legal processes must take place according to rights and rules of evidence; judicial proceedings as well as the laws themselves must be made public; trial should be by jury; and punishment should fit the crime.

The Police Polizei for Hegel is understood broadly as the public authorities in civil society. In addition to crime fighting organizations, it includes agencies that provide oversight over public utilities as well as regulation of and, when necessary, intervention into activities related to the production, distribution, and sale of goods and services, or with any of the contingencies that can affect the rights and welfare of individuals and society generally e. Also, the public authority superintends education and organizes the relief of poverty. Society looks to colonization to increase its wealth but poverty remains a problem with no apparent solution.

The corporation Korporation applies especially to the business class, since this class is concentrated on the particularities of social existence and the corporation has the function of bringing implicit similarities between various private interests into explicit existence in forms of association. This is not the same as our contemporary business corporation but rather is a voluntary association of persons based on occupational or various social interests such as professional and trade guilds, educational clubs, religious societies, townships, etc.

Because of the integrating function of the corporation, especially in regard to the social and economic division of labor, what appear as selfish purposes in civil society are shown to be at the same time universal through the formation of concretely recognized commonalities. Hegel says that "a Corporation has the right, under the surveillance of the public authority, a to look after its own interests within its own sphere, b to co-opt members, qualified objectively by requisite skill and rectitude, to a number fixed by the general structure of society, c to protect its members against particular contingencies, d to provide the education requisite to fit other to become members.

Furthermore, the family is assured greater stability of livelihood insofar as its providers are corporation members who command the respect due to them in their social positions. Because individual self-seeking is raised to a higher level of common pursuits, albeit restricted to the interest of a sectional group, individual self-consciousness is raised to relative universality. The political State, as the third moment of Ethical Life, provides a synthesis between the principles governing the Family and those governing Civil Society.


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The rationality of the state is located in the realization of the universal substantial will in the self-consciousness of particular individuals elevated to consciousness of universality. Freedom becomes explicit and objective in this sphere. Rationality is concrete in the state in so far as its content is comprised in the unity of objective freedom freedom of the universal or substantial will and subjective freedom freedom of everyone in knowing and willing of particular ends ; and in its form rationality is in self-determining action or laws and principles which are logical universal thoughts as in the logical syllogism.

The Idea of the State is itself divided into three moments: a the immediate actuality of the state as a self-dependent organism, or Constitutional Law; b the relation of states to other states in International Law; c the universal Idea as Mind or Spirit which gives itself actuality in the process of World-History. Only through the political constitution of the State can universality and particularity be welded together into a real unity. The self-consciousness of this unity is expressed in the recognition on the part of each citizen that the full meaning of one's actual freedom is found in the objective laws and institutions provided by the State.

The aspect of differentiation, on the other hand, is found in "the right of individuals to their particular satisfaction," the right of subjective freedom which is maintained in Civil Society. Thus, according to Hegel, "the universal must be furthered, but subjectivity on the other hand must attain its full and living development. As was indicated in the introduction to the concept of Ethical Life above, the higher authority of the laws and institutions of society requires a doctrine of duties.

From the vantage point of the political State, this means that there must be a correlation between rights and duties. In fulfilling one's duties one is also satisfying particular interests, and the conviction that this is so Hegel calls "political sentiment" politische Gesinnung or patriotism. Thus, the "bond of duty" cannot involve being coerced into obeying the laws of the State. According to Hegel, the political state is rational in so far as it inwardly differentiates itself according to the nature of the Concept Begriff.

The principle of the division of powers expresses inner differentiation, but while these powers are distinguished they must also be built into an organic whole such that each contains in itself the other moments so that the political constitution is a concrete unity in difference. Constitutional Law is accordingly divided into three moments: a the Legislature which establishes the universal through lawmaking; b the Executive which subsumes the particular under the universal through administering the laws; c the Crown which is the power of subjectivity of the state in the providing of the act of "ultimate decision" and thus forming into unity the other two powers.

Despite the syllogistic sequence of universality, particularity, and individuality in these three constitutional powers, Hegel discusses the Crown first followed by the Executive and the Legislature respectively. Hegel understands the concept of the Crown in terms of constitutional monarchy. The third moment is what gives expression to the sovereignty of the state, i. The monarch is the bearer of the individuality of the state and its sovereignty is the ideality in unity in which the particular functions and powers of the state subsist.

The monarch is not a despot but rather a constitutional monarch, and he does not act in a capricious manner but is bound by a decision-making process, in particular to the recommendations and decisions of his cabinet supreme advisory council. The monarch functions solely to give agency to the state, and so his personal traits are irrelevant and his ascending to the throne is based on hereditary succession, and thus on the accident of birth.

The "majesty of the monarch" lies in the free asserting of 'I will' as an expression of the unity of the state and the final step in establishing law. The executive has the task of executing and applying the decisions formally made by the monarch. Also, the executive is the higher authority that oversees the filling of positions of responsibilities in corporations.

The executive is comprised of the civil servants proper and the higher advisory officials organized into committees, both of which are connected to the monarch through their supreme departmental heads. Overall, government has its division of labor into various centers of administration managed by special officials. Individuals are appointed to executive functions on the basis of their knowledgibility and proof of ability and tenure is conditional on the fulfillment of duties, with the offices in the civil service being open to all citizens.

The executive is not an unchecked bureaucratic authority. Civil servants and the members of the executive make up the largest section of the middle class, the class with a highly developed intelligence and consciousness of right. Legislative activity focuses on both providing well-being and happiness for citizens as well as exacting services from them largely in the form of monetary taxes. The proper function of legislation is distinguished from the function of administration and state regulation in that the content of the former are determinate laws that are wholly universal whereas in administration it is application of the law to particulars, along with enforcing the law.

Hegel also says that the other two moments of the political constitution, the monarchy and the executive, are the first two moments of the legislature, i. In the legislature, the estates "have the function of bringing public affairs into existence not only implicitly, but also actually, i. Not only do the estates guarantee the general welfare and public freedom, but they are also the means by which the state as a whole enters the subjective consciousness of the people through their participation in the state. Thus, the estates incorporate the private judgment and will of individuals in civil society and give it political significance.

The estates have an important integrating function in the state overall. Also, the organizing function of the estates prevents groups in society from becoming formless masses that could form anti-government feelings and rise up in blocs in opposition to the state. The three classes of civil society, the agricultural, the business, and the universal class of civil servants, are each given political voice in the Estates Assembly in accordance with their distinctiveness in the lower spheres of civil life.

The legislature is divided into two houses, an upper and lower. The upper house comprises the agricultural estate including the peasant farmers and landed aristocracy , a class "whose ethical life is natural, whose basis is family life, and, so far as its livelihood is concerned, the possession of land.

Landed gentry inherit their estates and so owe their position to birth primogeniture and thus are free from the exigencies and uncertainties of the life of business and state interference. The relative independence of this class makes it particularly suited for public office as well as a mediating element between the crown and civil society.



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