20. When reflection is brought to bear on impulses, they are imaged, estimated, compared with one another, with their means of satisfaction and their consequences, &c., and with a sum of satisfaction (i.e. with happiness). In this way reflection invests this material with abstract universality and in this external manner purifies it from its crudity and barbarity. This growth of the universality of thought is the absolute value in education (compare Paragraph 187).


12 Responses to “”

  1. arybudhi Says:

    Fundamentalist will see the same mechanism that once reflection into God’s will is brought to bear on our impulses, it invest with abstract universality, in this case God’s Will scheme, and in this external manner purifies it from its crudity and barbarity (thus, Islamic). This growth of the universality of thought that God’s will is the absolute value in fundamentalist education.
    So far, both Hegel and Islamic fundamentalism seems share the same understanding that human has a freedom of will and right. In Hegel, will is natural neither good nor evil but determined by its self-reflective subjective arbitrariness with the Universal. However, the fundamentalist always suspicious on its sources, and they need to reflected with God’s will to freed their evil impulse.
    The question then, is Universal and God’s will equal? The answered is not, Hegel’s universal is somehow our capability of abstraction, but God’s will is sound and clear as in His Revelation and Prophets model of life-style (willing and thinking). The result is, in fundamentalist’s idea, God’s will should manifest itself in State (khalifah or kingdom of God) and the rest of our human will should in accordance to the prophet model in order to become ‘civilized’ subject or umma (Islamic citizenship).
    Thus, theoretically and in practical then individuals do not have‘real’ rights since the only rights that they have to do is obligation to the Will of God. In addition, since individual do not know and dare to interpret by their own abstraction to the Will of God, their will then surrender to the state authority (khalifah) and or with its elite clerics.

  2. Nalini Says:

    Reflection comes across as the faculty that calms down and soothes the more spontaneous part of the human mind. Can one then equate reflection with introspection?

  3. Kanthi Krishnamurthy Says:

    Ashish, I am cutting and pasting my thought piece onto this blog. It does not exactly follow from point 20, though. And the formatting seems to have gone awry too….

    In this paper I would like to deliberate on Hegel’s political philosophy and reflect on the possible implications that his philosophy affords us for contemporary times. Towards that the question that comes to mind is why Hegel? Hegel can be looked at as a seminal thinker of a certain historical period or as having relevance for contemporary times. I believe we should approach Hegel by thinking of what relevance he has for contemporary times. While his contributions have been immense, for this paper I look at three primary facets of his work; his notions of an ethical life that presupposed a communitarian approach, his approach to will as a rational space and his writings on civil society. I look at all three facets with a view of deliberating how his philosophy might better explain the workings of contemporary society.

    I. Communitarianism vs Individualism
    Hegel was against an atomistic conception of self devoid of all cultural traits and characteristics. Hegel acknowledges the power and scope of individuality in the modern political system, but he does not sanctify it. The self for Hegel is not something given but a being in the making; that is for Hegel the self has a history. We come to know ourselves not by isolated introspection but through interaction with others. The view of the self is relational insofar as it sees us as parts of complex systems of mutual interaction that determines our identities. As Kelly (1976) writes, “The Introduction to the Philosophy of Right is a metaphysical account of how, in political and ethical life in general, freedom of the will abandons the sphere of caprice and embodies itself in the reasonable justice and concord of the community.”

    For Hegel a person is a mere abstraction and as abstractions can count for something only when they are given content, through social institutions in which each individual achieves a completed social identity by being integrated into an organic system of social interdependence and mutual recognition.

    For Hegel, the various categories that structure social life, including civil society and the state, are not conservative restraints on freedom but the necessary contexts for persons who mutually seek to acknowledge and enhance one another’s right to recognition. His argument is based upon the assumption that human beings are driven by a powerful common interest in rational freedom that is in turn logically tied to the concept of mutual recognition. Freedom for Hegel is an interactive concept. Human beings are free only when they see themselves expressed in their relations to nature and their social institutions. Right and morality can flourish only in a system that guarantees the freedom and happiness of individuals in determinate and recognized roles and simultaneously constitutes itself consciously for them as a shared or communal end. To such a system, Hegel gave the name “ethical life.”

    The notion of ethical life is powerful but one can’t help wondering whether it is much too idealistic. In a market driven economy today, where individual enterprise is at a premium, the notion of interrelatedness towards an ethical life seems much too abstract. Taking just the example of development; drawing on the many insights that emerged from the development workshop held during the course, how does the notion of an ethical life apply? Approaches to development vary, and as Ashis Nandy argues a certain approach to development leaves others marginalized; with such varying perceptions to development how does the shared approach work? Or if one were to deliberate on Amartya Sen’s notion of capability, how does that notion of capability and individual development work if one were to approach freedom as an interactive concept?

    II. How and why does the will become collective?
    What distinguishes modernity, for Hegel, is the emphasis on the will and individual consent as the core of right. The will is not an isolated activity but always takes place within the context of a plurality of wills. It is a transaction between human beings. The will for Hegel is always embedded in an objective world of political and legal institutions that reach their fruition in the idea of the state.

    The identification of the state and the subsequent political life as independent from the social world in civil society of private individuals engaged in competition and private society is an interesting feature of Hegel’s thought. Hegel saw the state as the organizing principle which, through the institutional civilizing of the situated human being and the protection of his higher values from disruptive disorder made the creation of culture and philosophy in modern life. Only in the institutions of the modern constitutional state does one find the kind of practices and institutions that embody the actuality of concrete freedom.

    The state is an actuality of concrete freedom where “personal individuality and its particular interests are preserved as such,” but also (emphasis mine) “pass over of their own accord (emphasis mine) into the interest of the universal and …know and will the universal.” (PR, para 260, p. 160). This raises a number of questions. The emphasis on “on their own” makes Hegel’s approach seem mechanistic. How do particular interests “pass over of their own” into the interests of the universal? What is unclear is not only how would individual interests pass over to the interests of the collective but why would that happen? It is hard to reconcile to Hegel’s position that the will is mediated, rational and moreover relational, is the will not based on desires that are largely impulsive, unmediated and individual?

    III. Hegel not a leveller
    Hegel was the first to distinguish civil society or the economic realm from the family and and the state as a distinctive type of social organization. Civil society is a true society in which individuals acquire social identities, develop determinate ethical interests in the right well being of others and are driven to relate themselves to shared or collective ends.

    However Hegel argued wealth in civil society tends to accumulate only in the hands of a few; the poor whom Hegel called the “rabble” are marked off from others because the activities open to them in civil society are only of marginal worth. Hegel is pessimistic about the state’s capacity to discharge its responsibility. If the state itself provides directly for the poor or requires the wealthy to provide for them the fundamental problem is not addressed at all.

    Probably the most extreme and striking difference between Marx’s “proletariat” and Hegel’s “rabble” has to do with the capacity for collective agency. Hegel regarded all collective action as a function of ethical life. Because the rabble is excluded from the ethical principles of its society, Hegel deemed it incapable of any meaningful collective action.

    I argue that Hegel was a collectivist but was not a leveller. He grants that society is the rightful possession of all but he does not attribute a common political intelligence to unorganized individuals, in right, or in fact. “A share in government,” Hegel writes, “may be obtained by everyone who has a competent knowledge, experience and a morally regulated will.” (Kelly, 1976). It is really quite astounding that Hegel believed that poverty was part and parcel of civil society, in fact inevitable. What is more provocative is that he believed that the poor become incapable of imagining any sense of right over time as they lead such undignified lives.

    His position brings to mind a rather interesting review of Slum Dog Millionaire written by Aakar Patel for the Mint. He argues that what was unbelievable about the representation of Jamal, the protagonist of the movie was that Boyle represented him with a sense of dignity. I quote from the review at some length:

    “The single most important fact of poverty is the loss of dignity in the individual. The Indian knows this. The poor are actually second-rate human beings. Their existence is like that of animals: Their concerns are all immediate because that is the only level at which life engages them. It is an existence of eternal reaction.

    Boyle shows Jamal’s heroism as coming not from his courage but from his dignity; his distancing of himself from his surroundings. His carriage and manner, even when he is on national television, are that of a man for whom survival has a higher purpose. But that is impossible in a man who has lived a life where he has stolen and duped to feed himself. Jamal’s eyes, the softness of his face and the tenderness of his manner do not talk of the life Boyle narrates to us. That is why he is unconvincing.

    The poor are not particularly interested in knowledge. Those who have spoken to the poor will notice the glaze over their eyes. There is no curiosity in the nature of the world, because it has already revealed itself to them in full.”

    It becomes very clear now why Partha Chatterjee develops the notion of political society, a space where the poor contest their rights; the political society is an interesting intervention to Hegel’s position where there seems to be no scope for the poor to contest much less own a dignified life.

    Kelly, George A. 1976. Politics and Philosophy in Hegel. Polity. Vol 9, No 1: 3-18.
    Knox, T.M. 1952. Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. Oxford University Press
    Smith, Steven B. 1989. What is “Right” In Hegel’s Philosophy of Right? The American Political Science Review Vol. 83, No 1: 3-18.

    Wood, Allen. 1993. Hegel and Marxism. In The Cambridge Companion to Hegel. Cambridge University Press.

  4. Anu Says:

    Hegel here describes the manner in which reflection brings about universality by acting on impulses. As described in the earlier paragraphs, impulses when reflected upon are estimated, contrasted, compared and evaluated in order to arrive at choices, that are nevertheless subjective and arbitrary. What reflection does by acting on impulses though is to generate an abstract universality, by allowing to see that the purely individual is also the purely individual for another, and thus in essence a universal. Such abstraction by aiding abstraction purifies the content from crudity. Hegel says that the importance or value of education lies in its ability to inculcate a practice and method of such reflection that thereby aids the universality of thought.

  5. P Says:

    This is the part where Hegel moves from the part to the whole, from particular to the abstract universal. He attempts to give us knowledge about reality in itself, the absolute or the universal as a whole. Reflection is a distinctive property of rational beings which lets him image, estimate and compare impulses. The individual and particular has correspondences to the universal in Hegelian dialectics. According to the moment of universality, a free person must have the power of self awareness, the capacity to abstract form all specific situations and to be aware of itself apart from them and reflect on different options and their consequences. Reflection transcends particularity to absolute universality. For Hegel the absolute must be the result of and not the starting point of doing philosophy.( Phenomenology of Spirit *21). For Hegel the unfolding of the universe is an unfolding of spirit and rationality.

  6. hsingwen Says:

    While people in the 21th century like me try to read Hegel’s The Philosophy of Right, the first difficulty we face is the ‘terminology’. Behind the terminology there is an extremely unfamiliar world in which the terms that we are familiar with, actually, are referring to something that we hardly figure out. For example, while Hegel says “the science of right is a section of philosophy” (§2), what does “science” refer to? Does it mean ‘nature science’ in the sense of 21th century? When he says “the basis of right is, in general, mind”(§4) , is the ‘mind’ a psychological term? Further, what does the ‘will’ mean? What does the ‘ideal’ mean? Why is Hegel usually called an ‘idealist’? While the ‘young hegelians’ critiqued Hegel’s philosophy and developed the school of ‘materialism’, what’s the essence of the distinction between the two? Even though we can pass over the obstacle of the terminology and get some sense of the world of the idealist, how could we read it? Should we take it as a historical phenomenon, a provincial phenomenon of the western society or as a philosophical truth which is immortal?

    In the assignment I want to deal with two questions:

    (1)How can we get a sense of the nature of the distinction between idealism and materialism? Inspired by J.P.S Uberoi’s research on Goethe’s theory of colors, I will consider the discrepancy between idealism and materialism through their distinct statements about light.

    (2)How can we read Hegel’s thought and apply it to the contemporary era? By reviewing the work of Partha Chatterjee and Judith Butler, I will show their ways of interpreting and modifying of Hegel’s work. My argument is that even though Hegel’s work such as The Philosophy of Right has actually been historicized and, moreover, provincialized, its crucial philosophical theme of “universality and particularity” remains the central issue of contemporary critical thinkers.

    1. The Statements of Light – Goethe, Hegel and Feuerbach

    Striving towards an investigation of the origins of European modernity and its the radical underground alternative thought, J.P.S Uberoi, in his essay “The Other Science of Nature in Europe”(2002), traces an alternative route of the development of science to ‘the east of the Europe’ – German-speaking Europe. He points out that other than the Copernicus-Newton tradition, there was a Paracelsus-Goethe tradition which revived an occult-philosophy, implying an alternative non-dual science. The significant difference between the two is the statements of light. Uberoi says, the fundamental notion of light and color in the mainstream Newton school is that only white light exists as a real physical phenomenon. For them, there is a spectrum of constituent rays shown as white light that is broken up through the prism. It is found that the spectrum of rays (colors) have a linear form that is from violet to red and those rays(colors) can be quantified by their wavelengths/frequency. However, for Goethe, not only white band, but dark bands also exist substantially. Moreover, in Goethe’s theory of color, the ‘eye’, the observer, is included. According to Uberoi, Goethe’s notion of light/color is:

    (a) The whole sensible world, without the observer, is divided into three parts: the medium, which is any kind of matter, solid, liquid or gas, that fills space, and another part that itself consists of two segments, the light and the dark, each of which is the condition of existence for the other, like the crest and the trough of a single wave or like motion in the middle and its apparent absence at the two ends of a swinging pendulum. (b) The whole intelligible world, including the observer, is perceived or assumed to be interrelated I think in this sort of way. (Uberoi, 2002:53-54)

    Therefore, the Goethe’s world is a whole. While the dark is also substantial, there is no dualism of light/non-light, subject/object and culture/nature.

    Considering the idealism and materialism debate, I find that the notions of ‘dark’ are different in the two camps. I will elaborate on this by reviewing Ludwig Feuerbach’s essay Towards a Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy (1839). Ludwig Andreas von Feuerbach (1804-1872) was a member of the group known as the Young Hegelians who were also known as the Left Hegelians. Feuerbach’s materialism and his philosophical and anthropological work on ‘religion’ strongly influenced Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, even thought later they criticized him for his inconsistent espousal of materialism. In the essay Toward a Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy(1839), Feuerbach says that the philosophy of Hegel, which was extremely predominant then, is an ideal-centric closed circle, namely that the starting point is also the conclusion, and wonders what the ‘ideal’ actually is. Feuerbach points out that, for Hegel, the Ideal is the Absolute and is the only one subject-matter. It seems to him that “the Idea itself is being and essence”, and in its perfect system “ the Idea neither creates nor proves itself through a real other — that could only be the empirical and concrete perception of the intellect”. Since the real empirical world is not the matter, “the proof or the mediation of the Absolute Idea is only a formal affair”. As far as Hegel’s ‘Absolute Idea’ is concerned, which is the unit of finite and infinite, particular and universal, the determinate and indeterminacy, one will wonder that what it is. Feurerbach thinks that it is “nothingness”. He argues that nothingness is “a conception that is extremely proximate to the idea of the Absolute (the Ideal)”. For him, nothingness can’t belong to the realm of Reason, it “cannot be thought at all, because to think is to determine”. Therefore, Feuerbach regards the ideal, which is nothingness, as like a ghost and “existence to darkness”:

    It is an idea that is no idea, a thought that is no thought, just as a ghost is a being that is no being, a body that is no body. And, after all, does nothingness not owe its existence to darkness, like a ghost? (Feuerbach, 1839)

    Feuerbach regards that Hegel substantializes the darkness. He says :

    Nothingness, as the opposite of being, is a product of the oriental imagination which conceives of that which has no being as having being; which opposes death to life as an autonomous rational principle; which opposes darkness to light as if it were not just the pure absence of light but some-thing positive in itself. Thus, darkness as an entity opposed to light has as much or as little reality as nothing-ness has opposed to being. (Feuerbach, 1839)

    Actually, the statement about darkness and nothingness can be seen explicitly in Hegel’s earliest work The difference between Fiche’s and Schelling’s system of Philosophy, which was published in 1801 by young Hegel when his philosophical thought was just emerging. In the essay, he critiques the philosophy works then, such as Reinhold’s philosophy, that it is just an ‘information collection’ and merely an “personal idiosyncrasy”. For him the essence of philosophy needs to “overcome these finitudes and construct the Absolute in consciousness”(88) He declares:

    The Absolute, like Reason which is its appearance, is eternally one and the same – as indeed it is – then every Reason that is directed toward itself and comes to recognize itself, produces a true philosophy and solves for itself the problem which, like its resolution, is at all times the same. In philosophy, Reason comes to know itself and deals only with itself so that its whole work and activity are grounded in itself, and with respect to the inner essence of philosophy there are neither predecessors and successors.(Hegel, 1977: 87)

    Further, since the ‘dichotomy’ always divides the whole into two, he also strives for going beyond the Cartesian dichotomy and figuring out a way in which the Absolute is a whole, a totality. He says:

    But with respect to the given dichotomy the need is the necessary attempt to suspend the rigidified opposition between subjectivity and objectivity; to comprehend the achieved existence of the intellectual and real word as a becoming. Its being as a product must be comprehended as producing. In the infinite activity of becoming and producing, Reason has united what was sundered and it has reduced the absolute dichotomy to a relative one, one that is conditioned by the original identity. When, where and in what forms such self-reproductions of Reason occur as philosophies is contingent. This contingency must be comprehended on the basis of the Absolute positing itself as an object totality. The contingency is temporal insofar as the objectivity of the Absolute . The contingency is temporal insofar as the objectivity of the Absolute is intuited as a going forth in time.(Hegel, 1977: 91)

    Then he brings out “the need of philosophy”, which means, according to the translator’s note 7, “ the need for philosophy (at this time) and what philosophy needs (at this time)”. Hegel says the need of philosophy is “an absolute presupposition” which contains two parts. On is the presupposition of the Absolute itself which means “suspension of the limitations is conditioned by the presupposed unlimitedness(93)” and the other is the presupposition of totality which is the presupposition for going beyond dichotomy. About the second presupposition, he says:

    From the standpoint of the dichotomy, the absolute synthesis is a beyond, it si the undetermined and the shapeless as opposed to the determinacies of the dichotomy. The Absolute is the night, and the light is young than it; and the distinction between them, like the emergence of the light out of the night, is an absolute difference – the nothing is the first out of which all being, all the manifoldness of the finite has emerged. But the task of philosophy consists in uniting there presuppositions: to posit being in non-being, as becoming; to posit dichotomy in the Absolute, as its appearance; to posit the finite in the infinite, as life. (Hegel, 1977:93)

    We can see that Hegel not only sees darkness as substantial as lightness, but he also thinks light is younger than dark. Moreover, the light is out of the dark, the nothingness is prior to beings. This would be Feuerbach’s fundamental disagreement towards Hegel. Therefore, we can find that at the end of Toward a Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy, Feurbach urges again and again that only white light exists:

    In nature, there is no real antithesis of light. Matter in itself is not darkness, but rather that which is illuminable, or that which is un-illuminated only for itself. The light, to use scholastic terms, is only the reality (actus) of a possibility (potentia) that lies in matter itself. Hence, all darkness is only relative. (Feuerbach,1983)

    The opposition itself between being and nothingness exists only in the imagination, for being, of course, exists in reality – or rather it is the real itself – but nothingness, not-being, exists only in imagination and reflection. (Feuerbach,1983)

    Does Feuerbach’s critique sound extremely correspond to the Newtonian’s criticism of the Goethean, the notion that darkness has no physical reality and it is only a psychological phenominon.(Uberoi, 2002:53) However, if we think of it from the other side, does Hegel share the same world view with Goethe since Hegel really liked Goethe and quotes him several times in his Berlin Lectures on Logic and his course on the Philosophy of Nature (translator’s note 8)? Maybe the key point of the different point between Hegel and Goethe hides in the statements of light/dark. While Hegel privileges the darkness, namely the Absolute or the Ideal, and sees the united whole world as Ideal developing itself, Goethe thinks that the phenomenon of the light is equally important as the phenomenon of the dark. Therefore, Uberoi regards Goethe as neither idealist nor materialist. Then the further question might be, what else should we do? Is there a philosophy of right which could go beyond both idealism and materialism like Goethe’s theory of color? It will be a huge project which relates to both nature science and human science. I can’t deal with it at all. What I have done is to try to get some sense of Hegel’s the “Ideal” and the vague contours of the nature of the debate between Hegel and those young Hegelians through their statements about light.

  7. hsingwen Says:

    2. How Could We Read The Philosophy of Right ? – Reviewing the Works of Partha Chattejee and Judith Butler

    Then, what are the ways in which people read and critique Hegel’s The Philosophy of Right in contemporary times?

    Generally speaking, Hegel’s philosophy is no longer seen as absolute truth as it had been in the early 19th century. It is longer an incarnation of immortality. Just like what Feurerbach says, like Christians’ belief that once the infinite divinity, namely the absolute law of time and space, goes into a particular time and form, and hence there is nothing more to expect but the actual end of the world. However, “if history nevertheless continues in the same way as before, then the theory of incarnation is in reality nullified by history itself.” (Feuerbach,1983) Therefore, as history passes, nowadays, Hegel’s philosophy is a kind of historical phenomena. I find in Rouledge Philosophy GuideBook to Hegel and the Philosophy of Right, that the main argument of The Philosophy of Right has been shown as that “the normative life of a society is a complex structure of will”(Knowles, 2002: 23). The system of the Ideal of right which is “the concept of right and its actualization”(§1) is no longer a system subsuming concepts as well as reality. Rather it is a kind of “normative life”.

    However, by reviewing Partha Chatterjee’s work, it could be seen that The Philosophy of Right has not only been a “norm” but also a norm from a particular historical and geographical context. In the essay “Communities and the Nation”(1999), Partha Chatterjee points out that one of the significant evidences of the fact that The Philosophy of Right is a product of the rising of capitalism in Europe is the suppression of the narrative of community and the replacement of the narrative of modern ‘nuclear family’. Partha Chatterjee argues that Hegel restricts the first moment of subjective will actualizing in the concreteness of “ethical life” (230) to the “unclear family”, even though the whole notion of family has nothing other than the narrative of community. He argues further that “the suppression in modern European social theory of an independent narrative of community make possible both the posing of the distinction between state and civil society and the erasure of that distinction.”(234) It indicates that the suppression of the non-modern, independent narrative of community gives the nation-state a possibility to subsume civil society and becomes a universal family which is the only one legitimate political community. Partha Chattejee thinks that “the possibility of opposition as well as encapsulation arise because the concepts of the individual and the nation-state both become embedded in a new narrative: the narrative of capital.” (234) However, he thinks that the “fuzzy” narrative of communities, namely the language of ‘jati’, of the non-modern domain in India, or those traditional sectors which have been demolished in the process of primary accumulation, has never been eliminated and “it is this unresolved struggle between the narratives of capital and community within the discursive space of the modern state.”

    Therefore, it could be found that The Philosophy of Right which used to be seen as the philosophy of the Absolute nowadays is read by historicisation and also provincialization.

    However, on the other hand, it seems to me that the philosophical thought will never be completely swept into the historical or geographical dump. There is something of Hegel’s work that remains as a fundamental, epistemological theme haunting contemporary thinkers. One of them, the significant one, is the theme on ‘universality’ and ‘particularity’ raised by Hegel. It has been occupying the epistemological realm till now.

    It is explicit that, the theme of universality and particularity is also one of the fundamental issue in Partha Chatterjee’s works. In the book The Politics of the Governed, he considers this theme with regard to popular politics and thinks that the conflict between universality and particularity is the “heart of modern politics in the most of the world”, namely in the third world. He says :

    “It is the opposition between the universal ideal of civic nationalism, based on individual freedoms and equal rights irrespective of distinctions of religion, race, language, or culture, and the particular demands of cultural identity, which call for the differential treatment of particular groups on grounds of vulnerability or backwardness or historical injustice, or indeed for numerous other reasons. The opposition, I will argue, is symptomatic of the transition that occurred in modern politics in the course of the twentieth century from a conception of democratic politics grounded in the idea of popular sovereignty to one in which democratic politics is shaped by governmentality.” (Chatterjee,2006:4)

    For him, the technology of governmentality is to classify the population. It has been applied to the colonized world by the colonial authority before the establishment of nation-states. While the newly nation-state on the one hand establishes itself with the notion of popular sovereignty in which universal citizenship and equal right are concerned, the technology of governmentality, on the other hand, practices by dividing or classifying people into to particular. Due to the conflict between universal popular sovereignty and the technology of particularization of governmentality, Partha Chatterjee brings out the concept of “political society” which is the field excluded by ‘universality’ but included by ‘particularity’. The field called “political society” is formed in the 20th century by the nation-state’s ambiguous, not-fully-encompassing universality and the all-encompassing particularity. The people, the subaltern, who are not belong to universality, namely who don’t share the universal right which is guaranteed by civil society, occupy the realm of political society and are struggling for their right of survival by negotiating between the civil society and the state. They use the language of universality such as human right, social welfare and so on, but usually the government responds to their demands as an exceptional, particular case.

    With reference to Hegel’s text, the main structure of the ‘will’ is the conflict between and the unification of particularity and universality. From §5 to §7, it is shown that there are two element of thewill. One is the universal and the other is the particular. The first moment of the will is the absolute, abstract, formal universality, for Hegel, which is the “negative freedom”, “ a time of trembling and quaking and of intolerance toward everything particular”(Addition of §5). According to the interpretation of Judith Butler in her essay “Restaging the Universality”, this formal universality “requires the constant and meaningless vanishing of the individual, which is dramatically displayed by the Reign of Terror”(Butler, 2000:23). She says, “ for Hegel, this abstract universality …is so fundamentally dependent upon that vanishing that without that vanishing it would be nothing.(Butler, 2000:23)”

    One the other hand, there is a second moment of will. It is the differentiate, determinate particularity. In contrast to the abstract, formal universality, it is the concrete contents of the will in which are desires and impulses. The will which is the ideal of right, namely the ‘nothingness’ which actualize itself as state is the unity of these two moments, namely the concrete universality.

    How can the two moments unify as one concrete universality? What is the actualized form of this kind of universality? Judith Butler, as an Hegelian, after considering the third world situation, sees it as an ceaseless process, in which two moments conflict – on the one hand is the first moment which is the first world’s notion of universality, the formal universality, such as civil society and human right, and on the other hand is the particularization moment which are those cultural translations of the universality. She says, “By emphasizing the cultural location of the enunciation of universality, one sees not only that there can be no operative notion of universality that does not assume the risk of translation, but that the very claim of universality is bound to various syntactic stagings within culture which made it impossible to separate the formal from the cultural features of any universalist claim. Both the form and the content of universality are highly contested, and cannot be articulated outside the scene of their embattlement (37).” Like Partha Chatterjee, Judith Butler also points out the boundary of formal universality , and the field excluded by universality. She mentions “the assertion of universality by those who have conventionally been excluded by the term often produces a performative contradiction of a certain sort. But this contradiction, in Hegelian fashion, is not self-cancelling, but exposes the spectral doubling of the concept.(38)” Both of them show the exclusive nature of ‘universality’ and how the particular groups outside ‘universality’ challenge and reform ‘the universality’ through its local claims of universality. And the process of the contest between two moments is the process of the conceptualization and actualization of the ideal of right.

    Butler, Judith, Ernesto Laclau, and Slavoj Žižek. 2000. Contingency, hegemony, universality: contemporary dialogues on the left. London: Verso.

    Chatterjee, Partha. 1999. The Partha Chatterjee omnibus. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

    Chatterjee, Partha. 2006. The politics of the governed: reflections on popular politics. Leonard Hastings Schoff lectures. New York: Columbia University Press.

    Feuerbach, Ludwig Andreas von. 1839, Towards a Critique of Hegel’s Philosoph, in Marxists Internet Archive, http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/feuerbach/works/critique/index.htm (accessed May 19, 2010)

    Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, T. M. Knox, and J. Sibree. 1955.The philosophy of right. Great books of the Western world, 46. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica.

    Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich. 1977.The difference between Fichte’s and Schelling’s system of philosophy. Albany: State University of New York Press.

    Knowles, Dudley. 2002. Routledge philosophy guidebook to Hegel and the philosophy of right. Routledge philosophy guidebooks. London: Routledge.

    Uberoi, J. P. Singh. 2002. The European modernity: science, truth, and method. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

  8. avishek Says:

    Liberty/ liberation (and needs and work) is social, even the needs an individual calls his own (which is however contradicted with Hegelian intervention) are generated only within a socio-cultural milieu; all such ‘individual’ needs (consider the semantic allusion of the triad: need-demand-desire) have a social moment or aspect. Since needs and work lead to liberation from natural desire and thus the ability of the individual to exercise some self-conscious control over his caprices, even the ‘desires, passions, and appetites’ or the ‘self-interests’ of (wo)men are not immutable, natural impulses but are susceptible to the Hegelian analysis, which suggests that men can (or perhaps ought to) in some respects transcend them. A Hegelian diagnosis would perhaps suggest that it is a mistake to evoke the individual with its wants, interests, and appetites by default or to assume that (wo)men should take themselves as they find themselves. On the contrary, (wo)man’s liberation from ‘nature’ is but the stepping-stone towards Bildung: the struggle to transform the natural and the singular to a synthetic ‘second nature’ that is intellectual, universal, and objective. In ethical life in general, and especially in civil society, the individual participates in social institutions or modes of behavior for originally impulsive, immediate motives; but through that participation the individual comes to act and to see his activity as rational, as communal, and as consciously for the good of both himself and others (see,187R).

  9. pinak sarkar Says:

    Ashish, I am making one single comment for all the 20 Hegel quotes. I will try to relate my research interest which is in Education, with Hegel’s philosophy of Education.

    As my research, interest is in education. I would like to focus on the Hegel’s philosophy, which deals with education, to relate my research interest. In the words of Georg Wilhelm friedrich Hegel, “Education is the art of making man ethical”. If we look into Hegel’s life, we will know that Hegel has spent most of his life as an educator, who found pleasure in teaching. Between 1794 and 1800, he was a private tutor, first in Berlin, Switzerland and then in Frankfurt-am-main. After that, he began his career at the University of Jena, which in 1806 was interrupted by the Napoleonic conquest of Prussia, and did not resume for ten years. In the intervening years, he was director of a Gymnasium (or Secondary school) in Nuremberg. In 1816, Hegel was appointed professor of philosophy at the University of Heidelberg, and then abruptly ascended to the chair in philosophy at the University of Berlin in 1818, where he remained until his sudden death from cholera in 1831. Hegel took the task of lecturing as the University professor of philosophy very actively and enthusiastically. All his philosophical texts after 1816 took the form of manuals to be read by his students and to be lectured up upon by him. Hegel was also an active educationalist. He was the friend of Immanuel Niethammer (1766-1848), an important administrator and reformer in the Bavarian educational system. Niethammer occasionally used his influence to help Hegel’s career, and the two men sometimes corresponded about matters relating to pedagogy, at both the secondary school and the university level. One important aspect of Hegel’s work is that, for him education was not only a prominent but also a fundamental theme and was regarded by him as very important human beings. As a result, he used these themes in his philosophy. But, surprisingly in view of his career, Hegel does not usually deal with these theme primarily in terms of theory of pedagogical practice and method.
    Hegel’s jest for education can be traced from his first major work, the phenomenology of spirit, where he used his theme to define education and the way education progresses in a continuous moving process.
    In his words, “the long process of education (Bildung) towards genuine philosophy, a movement as rich as it is profound, through which spirit achieves knowledge” or the “education (Bildung) of consciousness up to the standpoint of science”.
    Hegel’s theory of education includes Theory of value, Theory of Knowledge, Theory of Human Nature, Theory of Learning, Theory of Transmission, Theory of Society, and Theory of Opportunity and theory of consensus.
    Among all these Hegelian theories, the theory of value, theory of learning and the theory of knowledge seems to be useful for my research interests which reflects on the choice of education. In addition, choice of education is mainly determined by value, knowledge and learning.
    In Hegel’s theory of Value, education is seen as information. Where, the general object of education is to get knowledge, therefore, education is development. In his words, “we make a new start on the inside (from the ego) to the (true-self) from the outside which asserts it’s right and takes the initiative. Education is institutional. Education must now realize itself in an institution whose chief object is to train to an institutional life”. Where as, in the theory of knowledge Hegel says, “Knowledge involves the real distinction of object and subject. Truth does not lie in the immediate data furnished by perception, but that universally the truth of any object involves mediation. An object is before me, and for the certainty of this I have the vouching of the senses. I simply possess the assurance: the object is, I, this particular consciousness, become sensible of this individual object”.
    It is very much evident from this above quoted paragraphs that Hegelian knowledge or theory of knowledge goes far beyond the Instrumental knowledge or the Instrumental benefits of knowledge, where he puts knowledge at a higher perspective of learning. In the Hegelian theory of learning, Hegel sees learning as something, which will lead to the development of one’s capacity and capability of reasoning. In his words, “children and students of all kinds needed most of all to learn to conform to institutional order and the law or reason, since only through such means could they be truly free”. Therefore, it can be remarked that in the Hegelian theory of education, knowledge and learning is to lead towards ultimate freedom, because it is only with knowledge and learning that human beings can define them selves. In his words, “only through order and orderly institutions could they become part of the community which extended out from the local scence to the world scence”. The Hegelian philosophy of Education also includes the theory of Human Nature, according to Hegel, the process or system of all science takes birth, and evolves, and germinates in the absolute thought and existence and are ultimately based on it. Therefore, it is not something from outside but has its existence, which always existed.

    The concept of “Being” holds a very important place in the Hegel’s philosophies. Hegel evolves all things from pure being. i.e., nothing emerges from outside but from the very “being”. He also puts that pure being is identical to pure naught, and origination is the unity of being and naught. Therefore, according to him, existence contains both being and naught. In the words of Analyst, Donna Brown, “ to Hegel, taking being and naught according to their difference, each exists as a unity with the other. Something is; it, moreover, exists and includes the process of origination. The quality of every existing thing which constitutes its limit determines the thing and makes it finite”. The nature of finite things is to contain the gem of destruction as their inner most being, “the hour of birth is the hour of death”. To Hegel all these constitute the core of knowledge.

    Hegel took very special interest to develop the philosophy of knowledge. It should be known, that in the German language the concept of Bildung holds very significant meaning, which actually means shaping or education in the broadest sense. Therefore, Hegel in variety of ways in his philosophy uses the term “Bildung”. The concept Bildung is used by Hegel in different ways and was used by him to study nature, society and culture with their different developments and forms. Therefore, in the words of Jurgen-Eckardt Pleines (he was the professor in the education and philosophy departments of Karlsruhe University. He has written many publications on reason, aesthetics and ethics, particularly Hegel’s Theorie de Bildung (1983-86); Begreifendes Denken: Vier studien Zu Hegel, 1990), “it accordingly extends from the organic nature drive (nisus formatives, inward form) to the process by which ethical and mental maturity is acquired and on to the highest spiritual manifestation of religion, are and science in which the mind of the individual, a people or the whole of mankind may be represented.”. Hegel assigned particularly high importance to the broad concept of proof in his “Phenomenology of the Mind” and in his lectures on “the philosophy of Justice”.

    As my research interest is concerned, it deals with the choice of education by young people, and why they choose certain education. The question, which arises, is that, whether their choice of education is their inner voice or some interest that arises from with in or, is it something, which depends on the external forces? Therefore, there is a possibility that modern theoretical and practical education in someway motivates young minds to peruse their interests. Even Hegel, had his own ways of looking into modern theoretical and practical education. It would be useful in this context to now that Hegel himself appreciated and at the same time criticized, the modern form of theoretical and practical education as a mode of learning. For him these types of education are strictly formal and unilaterally subjective in character. For Hegel, the theoretical education involved first and very importantly the standpoint of modern reflective philosophy, which is based and founded on the theory of cognition that, according to him contained in hand in hand with the viewpoint of the psychology of character attributes, distorted understanding of the independent nature and inner purpose of the “thing itself”. This is what he has to say about the theoretical education. Then he puts his idea to discuss the practical education. When it comes to the practical level of education, he went on to criticize the lack of understanding of the forces of the objective mind, which were made clear in their independence and freedom in the institutions of society and culture expressed through ethics and language.

    Hegel believed that Greek education has its unique character as it involves spirituality and which gives Greek education a spiritual character and focuses on what it imparts, for example, it provides, “individual character”. Not only did he have regard for such education, but he also criticized practical education as it has many point sin common with “modern evil”. In his words, “this position of subjectivity could arise in an age of higher education in which serious faith has perished and mere vanity prevails”. Hegel posited that mind must have attained a given level of subjective and objective mental development before the emergence of philosophy; he therefore, attributes an “infinite value to education”. It also very much reflects my research interest, where my anxiety or interest is to understand whether education is to acquire the infinite value and knowledge which arises from it or to just acquire mere instrumental benefits from education, then the question which arises in my mind is, “what is education” and “what is knowledge?”. Here, it would be interesting to know that Hegel goes on to write in his work, “this duality of life and conscience brings with it a need for modern education, govern by reason, to put to an end to this very contradiction. However, if understanding cannot break out from the vice-like grip of these contrasts, the solution for the conscience will remain purely hypothetical…….”.
    Therefore, the question of, why and which form of education, revolves around many deeper questions, and the answer to it will never be easy.

  10. wing-kwong Says:

    Following the question in the previous section—how to judge the impulses? The method Hegel provides is through applying “reflection” to these impulses. One can abstract himself as an “I” (thinking being) that is separated from those multiple impulses. This reflection can compare different desiring objects and impulses. What is the mean to achieve this end? What is the consequence of doing this? In which way will the satisfaction be maximized? These questions are about “happiness.” It is different from the immediate impulses or unreflective satisfaction of desire. This is the “absolute value” of education. Education cultivates the “university of thought.” In 187, Hegel says in the Remark that education is an immanent moment of the absolute.

    However, in the Addition note taken from Hegel’s lecture, he is being critical of this kind of reflection. Since the content of the universal is still measure by the satisfaction of desire. It is still in a way determined by these impulses. So, there is no true unity in the form and content.

    As in the translator’s preface, T.M. Knox explains some of the important Hegelian terminology which he takes from Encyclopedia of Philosophical Sciences. One is “the thought (Gedanke) of a thing, which is about abstract universal and remains at the level of understanding (Verstand), the level of reflection, and the categories of “essence”. Understanding is abstract and formal thinking (ex. mathematical and empirical sciences or formal logic, or adhere to scientific method…etc). Is this thought (Gedanke) the same as the thought and reflection here?

  11. JNG Says:

    In his introduction to Elements of the Philosophy of Right, Hegel lays the foundation of his ideas of right, freedom and the rational state. In point four, he states, “The basis of right is, in general, mind; its precise place and point of origin is the will. The will is free, so that freedom is both the substance of right and its goal, while the system of right is the realm of freedom made actual, the world of mind brought forth out of itself like a second nature.” We have already discussed Hegel’s notion of actualisation—the indeterminate and abstract universal, followed by the particular, and finally the truly individual, i.e. the concrete universal.
    In points 11 to 20, Hegel focuses more on the notion of freedom. In understanding what is meant by freedom, and in considering Hegel’s discussion of it we have to consider Hegel’s idea of arbitrariness as distinct from true freedom. Point 15 in particular has much to say about this, “The idea which people most commonly have of freedom is that it is arbitrariness—the mean, chosen by abstract reflection, between the will wholly determined by natural impulses, and the will free absolutely. If we hear it said that the definition of freedom is ability to do what we please, such an idea can only be taken to reveal an utter immaturity of thought, for it contains not even an inkling of the absolutely free will, of right, ethical life, and so forth.” This notion of arbitrary freedom is not true freedom for Hegel. Allen W Wood, in his consideration of Hegel’s notion of freedom suggests that while for most people freedom is to be able to do as we please, for Hegel freedom is action, such that when we act, our actions are entirely determined by ourselves. This requires an actualisation of the self such that we move from narrow particularities to a state of being with the other, where we are able to see ourselves in the other. Furthermore, we are able to achieve true freedom only when we move beyond the narrow particularities of our subjective impulses, reconciling these harmoniously with the objective world in which we live and act. To act on subjective impulse is only a limited kind of freedom. To act with true freedom is to act with the knowledge that in doing so we are never acting with or on anything that is truly external to us.
    Freedom is rational action, by which is meant that the objects of our action, the most significant of which is the social world, must be in harmony with our reason, with our sense of self as both person and subject. If we draw on Allen Wood’s description of both terms, we could see it thus: as persons we posit ourselves as the bearers of abstract rights, at the stage of indeterminacy before choice we have already discussed earlier; as subjects we make choices and seek to actualise our will in the world. In order to actualise our will in the world then, we have to see ourselves in the world-as-other, and be able to act rationally and with aims beyond our personal impulses. As persons we seek rights without reference to the content of our choices or actions—arbitrary freedom to do as we please without justification. As subjects we reflect on our impulses and choices and seek to actualize our will by weighing these choices and impulses against universal ends, by what we identify as the good.
    From point 16 to 18, Hegel discusses these two aspects of freedom and action—the abstract freedom we seek in indeterminacy and the particularity of our subjective impulses and desires. He sees both as incomplete, partial moments of freedom. In abstraction and indeterminacy, our freedom too is abstract and indeterminate, incomplete and lacking meaning because it is not concrete, and has no substance. In the subjectivity of our impulses and choices as they are guided with reference only to ourselves our freedom is still incomplete because it is not related to a greater universality, to our situated, social reality. In point 19, he says that “the impulses should become the rational system of the will’s volitions,” and in point 20 he discusses the role of reflection in bringing universality to our particular, subjective desires and impulses; through reflection we decide on the significance of our choices. It is only in the context of the world we live in that our choices and actions have freedom or meaning. Without this larger context to speak of freedom is merely to speak of an empty abstraction. True freedom is also not then a matter of the singular or the particular, but of the concrete universality of the individual, an individual within a collective. True freedom then would seem to include both the abstract and the subjective and yet be greater than the sum of these parts. We need abstract rights, abstract freedom because without it our scope for subjective freedom would be limited. But both these have to come together in a concrete, rational system of interrelatedness.
    The state, for Hegel, is the ultimate actualization of concrete freedom because it protects the abstract rights of persons and also provides a context for self-actualizing choice and action of subjects. The state is a rational system that allows the individual to come into being by offering rights to persons and opportunities for the self-actualisation of subjects within the larger community. The institutions of the state must allow individuals to see themselves and their interests in them, to identify with the state. The institutions of the state must also provide a context for subjects to make fulfilling choices and lead meaningful lives that they see as good. Amartya Sen’s notion of development as freedom clearly draws on these ideas. Where the state focuses only on abstract rights it functions only as a police-state and cannot provide true freedom because true freedom cannot be an abstract concept. This is not to deny that abstract rights and the sphere of arbitrary freedom that they offer are essential, but only to say that they are not the entirety of freedom. The state must also offer scope for subjectivity and particularity—cultures, customs and different ways of life— because these are what allow people to live fulfilling lives, and these are what make freedom concrete.
    Clearly, this last point has crucial implications for questions of multiculturalism within the state. It would seem to imply that while a state must be able to evoke identification with itself from its citizens—a homogeneity of sorts, it must also leave open possibilities of difference and heterogeneity within its subjects. This is a critical point of focus for debates around the imagining of the state as a nation-state.
    In Who Sings the Nation-state? Language, politics and belonging, Judith Butler and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak address the issue of statelessness, and the need to understand the true complexities of this concept in the present day. In doing this they engage with the ideas of Hannah Arendt on the problems of the nation-state and statelessness, and also of freedom. They consider the implications of the nation as the will of the state, and what kinds of exclusions are provoked in the slippage between the nation and the state. As Butler puts it, “the term state can be dissociated from the term ‘nation’ and the two can be cobbled together through a hyphen, but what work does the hyphen do? Does the hyphen finesse the relation that needs to be explained? Does it mark a certain soldering that has taken place historically? Does it suggest a fallibility at the heart of the nation?” (2007: 2) And further, “The state signifies the legal and institutional structures that delimit a certain territory (although not all of those institutional structures belong to the apparatus of the state). Hence, the state is supposed to service the matrix for the obligations and prerogatives of citizenship. It is that which forms the conditions under which we are juridically bound. We might expect that the state presupposes modes of belonging, at least minimally, but since the state can be precisely what expels and suspends modes of legal protection and obligation, the state can put us, some of us, in quite a state. … If the state is what ‘binds,’ it is also clearly what can and does unbind. And if the state binds in the name of the nation, conjuring a certain version of the nation forcibly, if not powerfully, then it also unbinds, releases, expels, banishes. If it does the latter, it is not always through emancipatory means, i.e. through ‘letting go’ or ‘setting free’; it expels precisely through an exercise of power that depends on barriers and prisons and, so, in the mode of a certain containment” (2007: 3-5).
    The point of all this, for my purposes in this response is that the operations of inclusion and exclusion being described above seem to reinforce Hegel’s argument about the limitedness of abstract freedom. Abstract, normative categories that posit rights also create categories of non-belonging where freedom is denied. Freedom here again, not in the sense of something one has that can be taken away, but as Butler again describes it, “Power does not deprive or strip freedom from the person; freedom establishes those categories of persons who will be prohibited from the concerted exercise which, alone, constitutes freedom. The political elaboration and enforcement of categories thus supplies the ‘status’ for the non-citizen, one that qualifies the stateless for the deprivation not only of rights of protection but also of conditions under which freedom might be exercised. ‘Qualification’ proves to be a juridical procedure through which subjects are both constituted and foreclosed” (2007: 22).
    The problems of the model of the nation-state have been taken up and articulated in a number of different ways. I’d like to quote here from a paper which seemed to echo Hegel’s arguments for the ways in which the state can be a rational system of institutions that embody and actualize concrete freedom. One of the background papers for the Human Development Report for 2004, “‘Nation State’ or ‘State Nation’?: Conceptual Reflections and Some Spanish, Belgian and Indian Data” by Juan J. Linz, Alfred Stepan and Yogendra Yadav suggested different models for the state, arguing that the normative construct of the nation-state is not adequate for all states. They suggest, “‘Nation-state’ policies stand for a political-institutional approach that attempts to privilege one socio-cultural identity over other potential or actual socio-cultural cleavages that can be politically mobilized. That has been achieved historically by following a variety of routes: (1) by creating or arousing a special kind of allegiance or common cultural identity in those living in a state; (2) by encouraging the voluntary assimilation of those who do not share that initial allegiance or cultural identity into the nation-state’s identity; (3) by various forms of social pressure and coercion to achieve this and to prevent or destroy alternative cultural identities; and (4) by coercion that might, in the extreme, even involve ethnic cleansing.
    By contrast, ‘state nation’ policies stand for a political-institutional approach that respects the legitimate public and even political expression of active socio-cultural cleavages, and that evolves mechanisms to accommodate competing or conflicting claims made on behalf of those divisions without privileging or imposing any one claim. ‘State nation’ policies involve creating a sense of belonging (or ‘we-feeling’) with respect to the state-wide political community, while simultaneously creating institutional safeguards for respecting and protecting politically-salient socio-cultural diversities. The ‘we- feeling’ may take the form of defining a tradition, history and shared culture in an inclusive manner, with attachment to common symbols of the state and/or inculcating some form of ‘constitutional patriotism’” (2004: 7-8).
    Butler, Judith and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, (2007). Who Sings the Nation-state? Language, politics and belonging. London, New York and Calcutta: Seagull Books.
    Linz, Juan J; Alfred Stepan and Yogendra Yadav. 2004. “‘Nation State’ or ‘State Nation’?: Conceptual Reflections and Some Spanish, Belgian and Indian Data”. Background paper for Human Development Report 2004. Human Development Report Office, United Nations Development Programme. http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr2004/papers/HDR2004_Alfred_Stepan.pdf
    Wood, Allen, (1991). “Editor’s Introduction”. In Allen Wood (ed) and H B Nisbet (trans.), GWF Hegel’s, Elements of the Philosophy of Right. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, pp vii-xxxii.

  12. Udayakumar Says:

    Here Hegel explains how reflection is brought to bear on impulses. He attributes a greater degree of importance to education in this respect. Education here means the universality of thought for the pursuit of happiness.

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