• Adriaan Th. Peperzak
Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas / Archives Internationales D’histoire des Idees book series (ARCH, volume 113)


Hegel’s book on the philosophy of right has two titles, divided over two pages. The left page reads: An outline of Natural Law and Political Science.1For use with his lectures (Naturrecht and Staatswissenschaft im Grundrisse. Zum Gebrauch für seine Vorlesungen); on the right page we find the title under which the book is always quoted: Principles of the Philosophy of Right (Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts).2According to both of these title pages the work was published in 1821 “by Nicolai’s book store” in Berlin, but as is evidenced by a draft of a letter from Hegel (Briefe II, pp. 237–238), it had already been published at the beginning of October, 1820. The preface, written last, was dated June 25, 1820. Did the publishers postdate the book, which should have been published in 1819, in order to make it appear more recent than it was?3


Legal System Philosophical Doctrine Title Page Book Store Animalistic World 
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  1. 1.
    olitical Science“ is the translation here of Staatswissenschaft (literally: science of (the) State).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Grundlinien (translated here, with Knox, as “Principles”) not only implies the principles or foundations, but also the main lines of the Philosophy of Right.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    In a letter to his friend Niethammer which he wrote on March 26, 1819, Hegel says: “For the Leipzig Book Fair I am to write another book (my natural law in §§).” See Briefe von and an Hegel II, p. 213. Cf. also Rosenkranz, G.W.F. Hegels Leben, pp., 330–331: “The edition… for the bookstore was not done until 1821.” Rosenkranz seems to suggest here that a first (unbound?) edition was available to students in 1820. — The external genesis of the Philosophy of Right is painstakingly reconstructed by H.C. Lucas and U. Rameil in a valuable article entitled “Furcht vor der Zensur. Zur Entstehungs-and Druckgeschichte von Hegels Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts”, in: Hegel-Studien 15 (1980), pp. 63–93.) Much of the information given in this and the next chapter is taken from this study.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    The German word Recht poses a difficult problem for the translator, because neither “law” nor “right” has the same extension and meaning. We try to indicate the exact meaning by paraphrases and explanations wherever the context does not suffice.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cf. Enc. A. 5A; C. 16A.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cf. Berliner Schriften,pp. 743–749. In the years 1802–1805, when Hegel was teaching in Jena, he announced a course in the philosophy of right five times, once under the title “jus naturae, civitatis et gentium” (natural law, civil law and international law) and four times as “jus naturae”. Cf. H. Kim-merle, “Dokumente zu Hegels Jenaer Dozententätigkeit (1801–1807)”, in: Hegel-Studien 4 (1967), pp. 53–56. In Heidelberg, Hegel announced for the winter semester (1817–1818) “Natural law and political science following texts dictated by the professor” (nach Dictaten); cf. F. Nicolin, “Hegel als Professor in Heidelberg”, in: Hegel-Studien 2 (1963), p. 97.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    At the beginning of his course on the philosophy of right in 1824–1825 (Ilting IV, p. 75), Hegel mentions this duality with reference to the double title of his book, but he quickly dismisses it: “In so far as natural law did not previously involve political science, it was treated separately”. It is possible that with this title Hegel wanted to emphasize the fact that his “natural law” also included his entire political philosophy. Then we must read “and” as synonymous with “including”. It is just possible that he wanted to point out,by the non-identity of “natural law” (or law in general) and civil law that the state is not as a matter of course the same as the totality of all right, as is clear from Grl. § §330–360.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    According to his first course in Berlin on the philosophy of right (18181819), shortly before writing the Philosophy of Right: Ilting I, pp. 239–240. “The name natural law is thus merely traditional, and not totally correct: since under nature 1) the essence [,] the concept [,,. and]. 2) unconsciousness nature […] is understood.- True name: philosophical doctrine of right (Philosophische Rechtslehre)”. In his course of 1824–1825 Hegel calls the name “natural law” “unsuitable”. Cf. llting IV, p. 79.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    See Ilting III, pp. 91–102 and IV, pp. 75–91.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Cf. Wa § 2A (p. 6) and Ilting I, pp. 239–240.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Cf. the lines quoted in Note 8. The following is a summary of texts indicated in Notes 9 and 10. See also Hegel’s extensive article “Über die wissenschaftlichen Behandlungsarten des Naturrechts” (1802), in Gesammelte Werke IV, pp. 417–485.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ilting IV, p. 79.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    In his course Hegel quotes the expression “Exeundum esse e statu naturae”, which he ascribes to Hobbes (Ilting I, p. 240). Cf. also Wa, p. 271. Ilting refers to Hobbes, De Cive I,n. 13, where we read: “Atque ita event, ut mutuo metu e tali Statu exeundum et quaerendos socios putemus […]”. The ninth thesis which Hegel had composed in 1803 ran:, “Status naturae non est injustus et eam ob causam ex MD exeundum” (cf. Rosenkranz, G.W.F. Hegels Leben,p. 159). In a course on the philosophy of history (Die Vernunft in der Geschichte,p. 117) the expression is attributed to Spinoza.Google Scholar
  14. 1.
    Enc. A. 415A. - Cf. also Enc. C. 502A.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Cf. Ilting III, pp. 91–93 and 96–102; IV, pp. 80–84.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Ilting III, p. 93.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Ilting IV, p. 81. Cf. also Grl. §212+A: “If… so can the content of that which is law still be different from what is right”. We translate Vernunft by “reason” vernünftig by “rational”; Verstand is rendered by “intellect”.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Cf. also Grl. §212A.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Ilting IV, pp. 82–83.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Cf. Ilting IV, p. 85: “In this category [of positive law] we must also rank that which has come into a legal system, into a constitution by absolute caprice, authority, repression”. On the other hand, however, we must also state “that violence and tyranny can be an element of positive right, are contingent to it and do not effect its nature” (Grl. §3A). The transition from rational right to positive right is the “place” where violence can come in, but neither the idea of right nor its positivity as such thereby becomes violent.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Ilting IV, p. 84. Cf. also Grl. §214A.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Cf. Grl. §1+A.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    As is also evidenced by the beginning of the fourth Remark to Grl. §3 (“of the historical element first mentioned in the § ”), what is stated in §3 under “a” must be read as follows: “through the particular national character of a people [viz.: 1] the level of its historical development and [2] the connection of all the relations which belong to natural necessity”.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Cf. Enc. A. 392–394 with the extensive additions (Zusätze),which make clear that Hegel dealt with these matters in his courses over a long period of time.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Cf. Die Vernunft in der Geschichte,especially pp. 187–257, where Hegel also gives an extensive treatment of the natural and especially the geographic foundations of world history.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    With my paraphrase I am attempting to show that Hegel’s doctrine of the relationship between the idea (spirit, the concept) and the empirical order of the individual is strongly influenced by Plato’s doctrine of ideas, chaos and participation.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Cf. Grl. § §214A, 216A, 3A toward the end.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Logik II,pp. 171-184;Enc. A. 93–94; C. 144–145 (+2); 213A.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    The better kills the good“.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    The commentary Hegel gives here in the beginning of his course on Gil. § 3+A is a paraphrase of what he had written in Grl. §216A. Cf. Ilting IV, pp. 86–87 and 545–546.Google Scholar

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© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Dordrecht 1987

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  • Adriaan Th. Peperzak

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