Focus Philosophical Library translations are close to and are non-interpretative of the original text, with the notes and a glossary intending to provide the reader with some sense of the terms and the concepts as they were understood by Hegel’s immediate audience.
The last of Hegel's works to be published in his lifetime, this volume combines moral and political philosophy to form a sociologic view dominated by the idea of the state. Hegel defines universal right as the synthesis between the thesis of an individual acting in accordance with the law and the occasional conflict of an antithetical desire to follow private convictions. The state, he declares, must permit individuals to satisfy both demands, thereby realizing social harmony and prosperity--the perfect synthesis. Further, Hegel renounces his formerly favorable assessment of the French Revolution and rejects the republican form of government, suggesting instead an idealized form of a constitutional monarchy, in which ultimate power rests with the sovereign.
The legal regulations and formal rules of democracy alone are not enough to hold a society together and govern its processes. Yet the irreducible ethical pluralism that characterizes contemporary society seems to make it impossible to impose a single system of values as a source of social cohesion and identity reference. In this book, Lucio Cortella argues that Hegel’s theory of ethical life can provide such a grounding and makes the case through an analysis of Hegel’s central political work, the Philosophy of Right. Although Hegel did not support democratic political ends and wrote in a historical and cultural context far removed from the current liberal-democratic scene, Cortella maintains that the Hegelian theory of ethical life, with its emphasis on securing a framework conducive to human freedom, nevertheless offers a convincing response to the problem of the ethical uprootedness of contemporary democracy.
He explores Hegel's intersubjective concept of spirit (Geist) as the product of affirmative mutual recognition and his conception of recognition as the right to have rights. Examining Hegel's Jena manuscripts, his Philosophy of Right, the Phenomenology of Spirit, and other works, Williams shows how the concept of recognition shapes and illumines Hegel's understandings of crime and punishment, morality, the family, the state, sovereignty, international relations, and war. A concluding chapter on the reception and reworking of the concept of recognition by contemporary thinkers including Derrida, Levinas, and Deleuze demonstrates Hegel's continuing centrality to the philosophical concerns of our age.