Location of Repository

The dialectic of conscience within Hegel's philosophy of right

By Sarah Jennings

Abstract

This thesis provides a detailed analysis of the dialectic of conscience within Hegel’s\ud Philosophy of Right. It aims to show that Hegel provides a fundamental role for\ud conscience within the state and, thus, that Hegel preserves the right to subjective\ud freedom within ethical life. In doing so, it aims to unite divided opinion on the role of\ud conscience within Hegel’s political philosophy and to further disarm the charge that\ud Hegel’s state advocates repressive or authoritarian political structures.\ud In order to pursue this argument, this thesis first examines the emergence of conscience\ud within the morality section of the text. It presents the moral conscience as the fruition of\ud subjective freedom; as possessing the right to produce its own convictions and\ud determine for itself what is good. However, it then continues to highlight the necessarily\ud formal nature of the moral conscience and claims that, because of this formality, the\ud content of conscience is always contingent. As such, the moral conscience is always in\ud danger of willing evil; and it is precisely this danger that necessitates the move into\ud ethics. The moral conscience is sublated by the true, ethical conscience.\ud This thesis presents its own reading of the Aufhebung from the moral conscience to the\ud true conscience of ethical life, which it believes properly reflects the dialectical\ud progression of freedom within the text. It argues that, during the process of Aufhebung,\ud the essential moments of moral conscience are retained and only the negative aspects\ud are lost. In particular, it claims that conscience’s right to produce its own convictions\ud (and, thus, the right to subjective freedom) is preserved within ethical life, but that the\ud contingency of conscience is not. As such, true conscience (unlike the moral\ud conscience) wills the good both in and for itself. This does not mean that true\ud conscience cannot make mistakes. But it does entail that true conscience cannot put its\ud own convictions beyond criticism. For this reason, this thesis also maintains that the\ud formal conscience of morality, in its non-aufgehoben form, has no place within the\ud ethical realm.\ud This thesis locates true conscience’s function in the disparity between the actual and the\ud existing state. It argues that, in recognising the rational principles inherent in society\ud and by transforming the existing world to conform more faithfully to these principles,\ud true conscience plays an essential role in keeping the state in line with its own, rational\ud essence. However, it also maintains that this type of immanent critique extends only to\ud reform, and not to not radical, social criticism. The thesis concludes by describing true\ud conscience’s role in the legislative power

Topics: B1, BJ
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:34558

Suggested articles

Preview

Citations

  1. (1982). 1818: Handbuch der praktischen Philosophie (Mohr und Winter 1818) 1982: Dialogues on Morality and Religion Edited by
  2. (1992). A Hegel Dictionary doi
  3. (1973). A History of Political Theory doi
  4. (1999). A Theory of Justice (Oxford: doi
  5. (1977). Aesthetics: Lectures of Fine Art, translated by doi
  6. (2001). Beyond Liberalism and Communitarianism: Studies in Hegel's Philosophy of Right (Albany: doi
  7. (1975). Can Conscience be Hypocritical? The Contrasting Analyses of Kant and Hegel. From: The Harvard Theological Review, doi
  8. (1970). Conscience and Politics (London:
  9. (1922). Conscription and Conscience: A History 1916-1919
  10. (1998). Constitution, Fundamental Rights and Social Welfare in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. doi
  11. (1993). Context and Structure of the Philosophy of Right, From: F. Beiser (Ed): The Cambridge Companion to Hegel (Cambridge: doi
  12. (2004). Die Verwirklichung meiner Autorität: Hegels komplementäre Modelle von Individuen und
  13. (1995). edited by the Staff of the Hegel Archive (London:
  14. (1998). Ethical Life and the Demands of Conscience.
  15. (1998). Foundations of Hegel's social theory: Actualising Freedom (London:
  16. (1991). Freedom, Truth and History (Routledge, doi
  17. (1975). Hegel (Cambridge: doi
  18. (2000). Hegel and Aesthetics (Albany:
  19. (1970). Hegel and Prussianism. From W. Kaufmann (Ed): Hegel's Political Philosophy (New York:
  20. (2004). Hegel on Ethics and Politics (Cambridge: doi
  21. (2001). Hegel on the Justification of Punishment.
  22. (1962). Hegel und seine Zeit (Berlin: Gaertner, 1857; Hildesheim: Ohms,
  23. (2002). Hegel, Nietzsche and Philosophy (Cambridge: doi
  24. (1990). Hegel's Ethical Thought (Cambridge: doi
  25. (1999). Hegel's Idea of Freedom (Oxford: doi
  26. (1970). Hegel's Political Philosophy doi
  27. (2004). Hegel’s Concept of Action, translated by Dean Moyar (Cambridge: doi
  28. (1984). Hegel’s Philosophy of Mind. Translated doi
  29. (1992). Hegel’s Political Philosophy: Interpreting the Practice of Legal Punishment (Princeton: doi
  30. (1936). Hegel’s Sittlichkeit. From: Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society,
  31. (2004). Is Hegel a Retributivist? Bulletin of the Hegel Society of Great Britain. Double Issue Nos.
  32. (2002). Metaphysics and Morality in Kant and Hegel. doi
  33. (1975). Moral Development and Ego-Identity. Telos No. doi
  34. (1959). Peters (London: George Allen and Unwin, doi
  35. (1971). Politics and Protest: Hegel and Social Criticism. From: Political Science Quarterly. doi
  36. (1968). Reason and Revolution (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd., doi
  37. (1988). Science of Logic. Translated
  38. (1986). Self-consciousness and Self-determination, translated by P. Stern doi
  39. (1989). The Concept of Irony. Edited and translated
  40. (1986). The Longing for Total Revolution (Princeton: doi
  41. (1945). The Open Society and its Critics – doi
  42. (1999). The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, edited and with notes by J. Carey (Oxford: doi
  43. (1985). The Problem of Political Obligation (Berkeley: doi
  44. (2000). The Reception of Kant's Critical Philosophy (Cambridge: doi
  45. (1969). Two Conceptions of Liberty. From: Four Essays on Liberty (Oxford: doi
  46. (1974). Vorlesung über Rechtsphilosophie 1818-1831, edited by Karl-Heinz Ilting, 4 volumes (Stuttgart: Frommann,
  47. (1982). Will and Political Legitimacy (Cambridge, Mass:
  48. (2004). York: Dover Publications Incorporated,

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.