The Vitality of Contradiction: Hegel, Politics, and the Dialectic of Liberal-Capitalism

In The Vitality of Contradiction, Bruce Gilbert provides an exposition of Hegel’s political philosophy to establish not only that societies fail because of their contradictions, but also how the unsurpassable oppositions of social life cultivate freedom.

He moves beyond Hegel’s works to consider the limits of liberal-capitalism and the contemporary social movements around the world that stretch us beyond the global economic system. Drawing on key Hegel texts such as Phenomenology of Spirit and the Philosophy of Right, Gilbert shows how societies outgrow themselves as they come to recognize key aspects of freedom and justice. He argues that the dialectic requires that we recognize how liberal-capitalism has both cultivated freedom and yet fails to lead us to more sophisticated forms of freedom. Gilbert also highlights organizations including Brazil’s Movement of Landless Workers and the Mondragon cooperative in Spain and the sophisticated ways in which they are teaching the world new and better ways to be free.

Engaging and perceptive, The Vitality of Contradiction illuminates the basic principles behind Hegel’s political thought and indicates the ways in which his work encourages people to strive for a form of socialist democracy.

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