19. In the demand for the purification of impulses there lies the general notion that they should be freed both from their form as immediate and natural determinations, and also from the subjectivity and contingency of their content, and so brought back to their substantial essence. The truth behind this vague demand is that the impulses should become the rational system of the will’s volitions. To grasp them like that, proceeding out of the concept of the will, is the content of the philosophical science of right.

The content of this science through every single one of its moments, e.g. right, property, morality, family, state, and so forth, may be expounded in the form: man has by nature the impulse towards right, also the impulse to property and morality, also the impulse of love between the sexes, the impulse to sociability, &c. This form is to be found in empirical psychology. But if in its stead the greater dignity of a philosophical dress is desired, then according to what, as was remarked before, has passed in recent times, and still passes, for philosophy, this dress may be had cheap by the simple device of saying that man discovers within himself as a ‘fact of his consciousness’ that right, property, the state, &c., are objects of his volition. Later in the text,  this same subject-matter, which appears here in the shape of impulses, will come on the scene in another form, i.e. in the shape of duties.


7 Responses to “Introduction-19”

  1. arybudhi Says:

    It is this ethical motive in sync with God’s will that redeemed and purified our actualization of our natural will. Therefore, the impulses might become the rational system of the will’s volitions. To grasp them like that, proceeding out of the concept of the will in God’s will scheme, is the content of the fundamentalist’s philosophical science of right.

    In accordance with Hegel, the fundamentalist also sees that this understanding of the subject matter of our natural will come on the scene in another form, i.e. in the shape of duties. In fact, for the fundamentalist, since in the beginning (naturally) human free will is the subject of God’s will. Only God’s will exist absolutely, therefore our human free will is should be obliged to God’s will. By fulfilling and satisfying duties toward God’s Will, we will free our will from evil and wickedness.

  2. Nalini Says:

    Impulse when purified is shorn of all extra trappings. The phrase ‘philosophical science of right’ is interesting. What goes by the name of impulse is also what man desires – property, morality and so on. Impulses, desires, duties are all the same. What begins as an impulse goes on to become a duty…

  3. Anu Says:

    Hegel here points at how the philosophical science of right that he develops resolves the dialectic of the arbitrary will, through the instances of right, family, social structures itself. This happens when consciousness reflected into itself, through the exercise of thought and then reason, comprehends the truth that the form and content of itself and what it encounters are itself. Thus form and content that is encountered as not part of itself, are reflected back into itself, to arrive at the comprehension of the truth that what is encountered as not-self is actually itself. Thus, when comprehended through such a rational system, the impulses are seen as the will’s volition itself. Thus the impulse that the form is encounters right, property, morality, family, state etc which are only various moments of the content, to comprehend the truth that these moments of the content acted upon through the form of impulse are in fact the will itself. In arriving at this truth, the conflict posed by the dialectic is resolved, and the will actualises itself by finding itself in what it seeks to comprehend.

  4. P Says:

    The dialectics of impulses is a necessary exercise in the analysis of the concept of the will which forms part of the content of philosophy of rights. The purification of the impulses is a freeing of the impulses, their form as immediate and natural determinations and the subjectivity and contingency of its content. Such a demand for the purification of impulses assumes that there is an underlying essence of will that can strip its garb of form and content also guided by rationality. An understanding of the dialectics of impulses, reveals the concept of will itself.
    Hegel performs a dialectical analysis of the concept of will. It starts with an examination of our ordinary experiences of the world, or the use of our everyday concepts like the will. He would then proceed to show how the ideas of metaphysics are necessary conditions for the experience or the use of such concepts.
    Man discovers within himself that he has impulses, natural inclinations to property, morality, sociability etc. He discovers within himself as a fact of his consciousness that rights, property, state etc are objects of his volition. Which implies that, rights, property, state etc are self determined; an essence or nature within me ( the will) which consists in my rationality determines their necessity and naturality. The will can will itself. It is in such self reflexive willing, Hegel would argue later that true independence and self- determination resides.

  5. avishek Says:

    To further Nalini’s observation, I also find puzzling in this paragraph of Hegel’s is why he calls the science of right philosophical. What difference would it have made if we were to omit ‘philosophical’?

    The general point is that, although the philosophical understanding contains a critical element, it has also a justificatory duty: it does not abolish what is in a vain leap toward some imagined perfection (abstraction) which ever recedes from its cognitive grasp; rather it familiarizes the mind of man with the conditions discovered in the actual world, accounts for their presence, and discriminates between the essential and the accidental in the act of situating that world in its stream of development. Reason (rationality), for Hegel, is not so powerless as to be incapable of producing anything but a mere ideal, something separate and abstract, in the cognition of certain human beings.

  6. wing-kwong Says:

    This section is how Hegel further deals with the question of “impulses.” If following the previous two sections that the multiple impulses has no measuring-rod in it self and we should not arbitrarily take “all the impulses” as either good or evil, then how do we deal with the impulses? Here, Hegel says that “the impulses should become the rational system of the will’s volition.” This is the “content” of the philosophical science of right. The science that deals with this question must “purify” these impulses and restore it as something rational. Therefore, in the Remark, Hegel is very discontent with the empirical psychology that arbitrarily picks up some of the moments of the “content” of science of rights (right, property, sex, family, state…etc.) and attributes it to natural or immediate impulses. He also criticizes those trendy philosophies that are actually saying the same thing by using the philosophical language of “fact of one’s consciousness” or even later in the form of “duty” instead of “impulses.” For Hegel, this content of science of right is something “arrived at” through the dialectic process but not something “determined by nature” nor given by transcendental imperative of moral duty.

    However, the next important question is– how to “proceed out of the concept of the will” to arrive at this content?

  7. Udayakumar Says:

    Hegel revisits the meaning of ‘the philosophical science of right’. This is at the same time a continuation of the previous entry as well. It is highlighted that impulses should be freed from their spontaneous subjection to nature. In order to forestall this direct subjection to nature impulses are conceived as phases of will in a rational system.

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