Hegel’s Elements of the Philosophy of Right is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important works in the history of political philosophy. It is broadly agreed that Hegel intended this work to be interpreted as a significant part of his greater system of speculative philosophy.
Where disagreement occurs is on the question of the relevance of Hegel’s larger philosophical system to understanding his Philosophy of Right. This is the first book on the subject to take Hegel’s system of speculative philosophy seriously as an important component of any robust understanding of his Philosophy of Right. It sets out the difference between ‘systematic’ and ‘non-systematic’ readings of the text before discussing important, relevant features of Hegel’s system, in particular, the unique structure of his philosophical arguments.
The greater part of the book demonstrates the results of this systematic reading by exploring several areas of Hegel’s political philosophy: his theories of property, punishment, morality, law, monarchy, and war. It is shown that by looking beyond the text to Hegel’s larger philosophical system, we can achieve an improved understanding of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right.
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