The Scottish Enlightenment and Hegel’s Account of ‘Civil Society’

Extract from the Foreword:

“What the reader is invited to explore is a branch line in the understanding of Hegel’s social and political theory. However it is an important one. For one thing it helps to reinforce a side of Hegel’s thought that has often been overlooked or played down, or alternatively said by Marxists, and not only Marxists, to be ‘swallowed’ or turned upside down by his ‘idealism’: viz., his sociological realism. And the fact, reinforced by this study, that Hegel from his youth onwards was consciously and avidly observing the theory and practice of what he knew to be the most advanced commercial and industrial country in the world makes nonsense of one recent, very large and elaborate and apparently influential English book on Hegel that sees his political and social thinking as essentially German-bound and therefore backward looking and indeed medival.

Careful studies like these not only provide the needed scholarly hygiene, without shrill polemic or clever manipulation, but are also soundly based contributions to genuine knowledge.

Dr. Waszek has his feet firmly planted on two areas that have become, relatively recently, very large academic growth industries. In this he must be uniquely well equipped.”

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