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Hegel's justification of hereditary monarchy

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Abstract:

Hegel's Rechtsphilosophie is metaphysical, to be sure; but it is also political. To help show this I will make sense, and show the plausibility and relevance, of what appears to be one of the most metaphysical (and bizarre) claims to be found in Hegel's political philosophy: his justification of hereditary monarchy. While among Hegel scholars Hegel's theory of constitutional monarchy has been a focus of heated debate over whether Hegel is a liberal or a conservative; and has recently become a focus in the debate over whether Hegel accommodated himself to the Prussian government out of fear of censorship by publishing an exoteric view endorsing hereditary monarchy that belies his ‘genuine’, more democratic view, to the nonspecialist Hegel's argument will seem to be of little relevance -- hereditary monarchy is not a live option for us in the 1990s. My intention in giving it serious consideration is not to have us entertain hereditary monarchy as an undeservedly neglected possibility, but rather to put the brakes on a tendency to dismiss Hegel as too much the idealist to dirty his hands with politics.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Stanford University.

Publication date: 1991-03-01

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