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Republican Rigorism: Hegelian Views of Emancipation in 1848

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This paper examines whether Bruno Bauer's critical assessment of Jewish emancipation in Prussia is consistent with his other republican writings in the 1840s. It argues that Bauer's political position is a form of republican rigorism, according to which human emancipation requires identification with universal interests, and not the defence of particular identities. Rigorism involves the elimination of internal as well as external heteronomous influences, and implies shifting the boundaries between the juridical and the moral realms as defined by Kant. Subjects' incentives for adopting the maxims that govern their external action are taken to be relevant to the assessment of the emancipatory potential of their deeds and claims. The paper distinguishes degrees of rigorism, and shows that Bauer's specific conclusions on the Jewish question, while not entirely unfounded by his political logic, are not strictly implied by his premises. Contrasting positions in his work are illustrated.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 August 2003

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