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Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, §260-271

November 10, 2010

§260
-In this section Hegel argues that the state is the actuality of concrete freedom. This means that individuals have their own particular interests, but can “pass over of their own accord into the interest of the universal, and, for another thing, they know and will the universal; they even recognise it as their own substantive mind; they take it as their end and aim and are active in its pursuit”(p 282). This allows for the modern state to be so powerful, because it allows the individual to have their particular interests, while at the same time having the universal interest.

§261
-Hegel says on the one hand the state is external and a higher power to different spheres of society like civil law, private welfare, and civil societies. On the other hand these spheres gain power by the unity of the universal with the particular ends of individuals. They have duties and rights together, and not separately.
– For Hegel duty corresponds to the universal while right corresponds with the particular. “my obligation towards the substantial is at the same time the existence of my particular freedom; that is, duty and right are united within the state in one and the same relation.”(pg 284)
-Hegel mentions how the “individual must somehow attain his own interest and satisfaction or settle his account, and from his situation within the state, a right must accrue to him whereby the universal cause becomes his own particular cause.”(p 284)

§262
-In this section Hegel brings up how the “actual Idea is the spirit which divides itself up into two ideal spheres of its concept.”(pg 285) This allows for the allocation of the material of its finite actuality, which are individuals as a mass. This is done so that it appears that the individual has some say in it. The addition mentions that subjective freedom requires freedom of choice.

§263
-in the these spheres the particular and individual “have their immediate and reflective reality.”(pg 286) However the universal still present through the power of the rational, which is Hegel referring to the family and corporations.

§264
-Individuals embody two extremes, the extreme of individuality which wills for itself, and the extreme of the universal. To attain their right they must be actualized in both spheres. They can discover the universal aspect of the particular interests, and by obtaining an occupation they can work “towards a universal end within a corporation.”(pg 287)

§265
-Institutions together form the constitution, which is developed and actualized rationality in the realm of the particular. On that basis they are an important part of the state. Hegel says that they “are the pillars on which public freedom rests, for it is within them that particular freedom is realized and rational.”(pg 287) These institutions have the union of freedom and necessity within them.

§266
-The spirit is also an ideality, thus substantial universality comes it own object and end. This results in the “necessity in question similarly becomes its own object and end in the shape of freedom.”(pg 288)

§267
-The necessity in ideality is the development of the Idea within itself as subjective substantiality. This is the “organism of the state, the political state proper and its constitution.” (pg 288)

§268
-For Hegel patriotism is a consequence of the institutions of the state, and so has an element of rationality. It is the element of trust you have that the state will preserve your particular desires within the interests of the state. Hegel says that patriotism is just the disposition that the community is the substantial basis and end.

§269
-The political disposition is derived from the particular aspects of the organism of the state. “This organism is the development of the Idea in its differences and their objective actuality.”(pg 290) The political constitution is an organism that produces itself in “a necessary way because these various powers are determined by the nature of the concept; and it preserves itself in so doing, because it is itself the presupposition of its own production.”(pg 290)

§270
-In this section Hegel discusses the relationship between the state and religion.
-Hegel begins by saying that the end of the state is “both the universal interest as such and the conservation of the particular interests within the universal interest as the substance of these constitutes,”(pg 290) first the abstract actuality, the substantiality of the state and secondly the necessity of the state. Hegel says that the spirit which is passed through the form of education. The state “therefore knows what it wills, and knows it in its universality as something thought.”(pg 291) This means that it acts and functions with known ends and recognized principles.
-Hegel first says that the idea that religion is the basis of the state is mistaken. Hegel goes on to say that religion is supposed to treat worldly events with indifference, despite the fact that the state “is the spirit which is present in the world, this religious advice doe not seem calculated to promote the interest and business of the state.” (pg 291)
-Looking at the content of religion the content is the absolute truth. Religion serves as the foundation for the nature of the state as divine will, it is just a foundation however.
-Hegel writes about the kind of religion he disagrees with, which is subjective can lead to fanaticism. For Hegel there is a good form of religion. For Hegel this good religion will focus around actions, doctrine and service to the community.
-This allows for the state and religious community to create a relationship which allows for the state to give its protection  to the religious community. This relationship means that the community is part of the state and an internal part of it, due to things like property.
-Hegel says that the police should look into corporation made of only one religious group, but that doctrine is a matter of self-consciousness. The state has its own doctrines as well.
-Hegel also discusses science and its role in relation to the state. Hegel says that the state’s “sole function is to protect and secure the life, property, and arbitrary will of others; in so far as the latter does not infringe the life, property and arbitrary will of others.” (pg 298)
-When the church expresses its doctrines, and the doctrines relate to objective principles then the doctrines bring it into the authority of the state.
-Science too is on the side of the state because “it has the same form as the state and its end is cognition, by means of thought, of objective truth and rationality.” (pg 300)
-The state must protect objective truth and the principles of ethical life.
-The unity of church and state relies on the unity between  truth of principles and disposition.
-Hegel says it is far from a misfortune for the state if the church is divided because “it is through this division alone that the state has been able to fulfill its destiny as self-conscious rationality and ethical life.”(pg 302)

§271
-The political constitution is first, the organization of the state and the process of its organic life with reference to itself. Secondly the state in its individuality is an exclusive unit. It turns its “differentiation outwards and in accordance with its determination, posits its existing differences within itself in their ideality.”(pg 304)

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