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Family and civil society in Hegel's Philosophy of Right

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This paper will analyse Hegel's discussion of the relation between family and civil society on the basis of Marx's insight into the discrepancy between Hegel's explicitly logical structure of presentation based on ‘essential relationships’ and his implicitly historical structure of presentation based on ‘external necessities’. It is intended neither to resolve the dispute between Hegel and Marx nor to apply Marx's critique to passages of the Philosophy of Right that he did not have occasion to discuss. The purpose of this paper is more specific. It will attempt to illustrate the conflict between Hegel's characterization of civil society as a moment of ethical life emerging from the family in a non-contradictory manner, and his characterization of civil society's opposition to, and transformation of, the family.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Mcmaster University.

Publication date: 1991-02-01

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