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By Allen W. Wood

This significant new examine deals a strong exposition of the moral idea underlying Hegel's philosophy of society, politics, and background. Professor wooden indicates how Hegel applies his conception to such subject matters as human rights, the justification of criminal punishment, standards of ethical accountability, and the authority of person judgment of right and wrong. The e-book incorporates a severe dialogue of Hegel's therapy of alternative ethical philosophers (especially Kant, Fichte and Fries), presents an account of the debatable proposal of "ethical life," and exhibits the relation among the idea and Hegel's severe review of recent social associations. The booklet is nontechnical and will curiosity someone excited about Hegel's moral and political concept, together with philosophers, political scientists, highbrow historians and scholars of German tradition.

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The absolute Idea lies beyond both the Idea of cognition and the Idea of the good (EL § 236), just as the realm of absolute spirit transcends both theoretical and practical spirit (EG § 553}. Hegel's view seems to be that speculative wisdom belongs equally in contemplation of the reason that shows itself in the world, and in practice that actualizes reason in the world just as art, religion, and philosophy nourish the human spirit equally in its cognition and its action. This conception of philosophy rests on a second controversial idea: that although there is much in the contingent, transitory world of existence and appearance that is not as it ought to be, nevertheless the inner essence of things, viewed by speculative reason in its necessity, is inevitably seen to be fully rational and hence spiritually satisfying.

In neither meaning does the thesis deny that there may be defects in what exists. In its specula­ tive meaning it does imply that the business of philosophical science involves a principled direction of one's attention away from these defects, in order to obtain a purer insight into God's immanence in the world. In its practical meaning the thesis is controversial, since it involves a variety of ethical natu­ ralism and an Aristotelian self-actualization theory of the human good. But it has no more tendency to sanctify whatever happens to exist than most other versions of Aristotelian naturalism.

This enables us to hypothesize that the collective behavior of human beings might display an organization analogous to the mentality exhibited by the behavior of human individuals- When it is not founded on methodological dogmatism, our resistance to Hegel's talk of national spirits and the world spirit probably derives from a sense that such talk grossly exaggerates the extent of the organization and functional interde­ pendence displayed by the thoughts and activities of nations (and of human­ ity as a whole).

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