Commentary on the Preface

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


The Preface 1 to the Principles of the Philosophy of Right, which Hegel finished on June 25, 1829 and undoubtedly wrote after having edited the rest,2 contains not a “scientific treatment of the matter itself”, but an “external and subjective” presentation (par. 20) in which Hegel wishes to realize two objectives. First of all, as is the case in his other Forewords or Introductions, he wants to indicate in a nontechnical and preliminary fashion what the reader should expect from a philosophical treatise, how it should be read, and on which level and with which method it functions.3 A positive explication of the peculiar nature of philosophical thinking concerning right is given by Hegel particularly in the second part of this Preface (par. 12–19). Due to the fact that most “philosophers” of his time did not practice the true way of thinking, however, Hegel precedes this with a polemic. In paragraphs 3–11 he compares his true, speculative thought to another major current, one which was well received and therefore all the more dangerous: a philosophy of feeling, with great pretentions, one of the philosophies of immediate knowing,4 of which J.H. Fries was an infamous example. The examination of this “superficial” philosophy is concerned not only with its theoretical aspects but, since it is a philosophy of right and state, with its practical consequences as well. Fries engaged himself politically by acting as the ideologist of the fraternities. Others, such as the theologian De Wette, also translated their theory into a political position. Both Fries and De Wette were dismissed, causing great upheaval at the university.


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  1. 1.
    The Preface is quoted here following a division into 20 paragraphs. The dictum What is rational…,which is on p. XIX of the original edition, is counted here as part of the following paragraph (13) and the lines ‘16o0 P6Soç… on p. XXI as part of the paragraph following them (15). References to page numbers follow the original edition. The English version of the Preface is taken from T.M. Knox’s translation in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right (Oxford University Press, London-Oxford-New York 19521). In this admirable translation I have changed a few expressions in accordance with my commentary which was written on the basis of the German text as found in J. Hoffmeister’s edition (Hamburg, Meiner 1955, 19674).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cf. par. 12 (p. 86): “In the course of the following treatise I have noted…” (italics mine). The reference is to § 185.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    The expression “external and subjective” (par. 20) will be explained in the commentary to par. 20.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    The term “immediate knowledge” (das unmittelbare Wissen) is not used in this Preface, but functions in the Berlin versions of the Encyclopedia (BC. 61–78) as a title for a sort of philosophy, best exemplified by Jacobi, to which the philosophers criticized in this Preface also adhered. The extent to which Hegel is also referring to Schleiermacher here would have to be researched. Cf. Note 28 above.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cf. also Riedel’s characterization of the literary genre of the Philosophy of Right in M. Riedel (ed.), Materialien zu Hegel’s Rechtsphilosophie I, pp. 1720.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    I translate both Grundriss (Knox: “manual”) and Kompendium by “compendium”, Leitfaden (Knox: “text-book”) by “guide” and Lehrbuch (Knox: “compendium”) by “text-book”. Knox’s text has been changed accordingly.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    These marginal notes were first published by J. Hoffmeister in his edition of the Philosophy of Right (Hamburg 1955, pp. 301–430); K.H. Ilting has published a more precise version of them in the second volume of the Vorlesungen über Rechtsphilosophie 1818–1831pp. 81–629. They refer to §§1–180 of the Philosophy of Right.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Cf. F. Nicolin“Ein Hegelsches Fragment zur Philosophie des Geistes”, in: Hegel-Studien I, p. 9 ff.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    The various editions of the Encyclopedia are referred to here with the letters A (for 1817), B (1827) and C (for 1830), following F. Nicolin and O. Pöggeler (see their edition of the third edition, Hamburg 1959, p. 466). The sections are referred to by the number after the letter: A. 400; B. 562; C. 319; BC. 299.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    I am reserving a comparison of the philosophy of right in the Encyclopedia and that in the Philosophy of Right for a complete commentary on the latter.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    I have changed Knox’s “enlarged” (for weitere) to “more extensive”.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Knox translates meinem Amte gemäss by “in the course of my personal duties”.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    This paragraph was split into two paragraphs by Knox.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    I have changed “their” (guiding principle) to “its” (darin), “classification” (for Einteilung, which is the German translation of the traditional divisio) to “division”, “recognized” (for erkannt) to “known” and “manual” (for Grundriss) to “compendium”. Instead of “discursive thinking” I would prefer “intellectual thinking” or “the intellect’s thinking” to render Verstandeserkenntnis, but such a translation would presuppose a general agreement on the translation of Verstand and Vernunft as “intellect” and “reason”.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    The method is the all-inclusive pure form of the (onto)-logical universe: Logik II (ed. Lasson), pp. 483–506;Enc. A. 184–189.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Here we see for the first time the terminology and problematic which so fascinated the young Hegel (1789–1800). See A.T.B. Peperzak, Le jeune Hegel et la vision morale du monde, The Hague 19692, pp. 15–25, 52–55, 80–82, 93–101.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Hegel’s philosophy of feeling is perhaps his Achilles’ heel. Except for a number of sections in the Encyclopedia in which he thematized diverse forms of feeling, it is contained in a large number of remarks characterized by a strongly polemical tone and an almost compulsive stereotyping.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Cf. par. 6–8, and particularly the quotation from Goethe on p. XII: “Do but despise intellect and knowledge…” (Verachte nur Verstand and Wissenschaft).Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    In the editions of the “Philosophische Bibliothek” (Hamburg, Meiner) the Phänomenologie des Geistes contains 564 pages, the Encyklopädie of 1830 463, the Logik 904 and the Rechtsphilosophie 297.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Hegel’s wish that his works be judged primarily for their “logic” (par. 3: “It is also from this point of view above all…”) has not been fulfilled. See my commentary below on par. 20 and M. Riedel in Materialien zu Hegels Rechtsphilosophie I, pp. 17–40.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    This commentary on the Preface to Hegel’s philosophy of right is a preliminary study for a commentary on the body of the work in which the primary concentration will be placed on the logical structure of Hegel’s views. A part of this, viz. the analysis of §§1–32 and 142–156, was presented at the colloquium on Hegel’s philosophy of right held in September, 1979 in Fontenay-aux-Roses and published in two parts: “Zur Hegelschen Ethik”, in: D. Henrich and R.P. Horstmann (eds), Hegels Philosophie des Rechts,Stuttgart 1982, p. 103–131, and “Hegels Pflichten-and Tugendlehre”, in: Hegel-Studien 17 (1982), p. 97117.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Cf. Luke 16, 29–31. Which predecessors does Hegel mean here by “Moses and the prophets”? His comparison with the biblical founders of religions is reminiscent primarily of the great ancients of philosophy, such as Plato and Aristotle, and perhaps Descartes, Spinoza and Kant. Against this one could argue that the philosophy contested in this passage is scarcely able to understand the speculative thoughts of its great predecessors, let alone embody them. Leibniz and Wolff are even greater predecessors who according to Hegel also think in an unspeculative manner typical of the intellect. They have transmitted Aristotelian theories in a modern, not very intellectual manner. That Hegel is probably thinking primarily of them here seems to be confirmed by a text from April 16, 1822 of Hegel’s concept for a Gutachten (a critical evaluation), in which he uses this kind of expression. He writes there that the many handbooks on philosophy which are published every year “are [either] a scanty repetition of the ancients or one expanded with useless additions”, and he adds: “According to my humble view the entire style and purpose of this instruction would involve the teacher’s being referred to the old textbooks of the Wolffian school and in simply plugging the Kantian table of categories in for the Aristotelian one in the proper place” (Berliner Schriften,p. 553, Note 3).Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    It is very difficult to translate Hegel’s Sittlichkeit. The adjective sittlich,which I will always render by “ethical”, is in Hegel’s thought by no means synonymous with “moral” (moralisch). Morality (Moralität) and “Ethicity” (Sittlichkeit) are related as the abstract or formal structure of the good and its concrete actuality in the life of a human community having its appropriate institutions. “Ethical life” and “Ethics” do not render the full meaning of Sittlichkeit. I will use (and abuse) the ugly, but faithful word “ethicity”.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    The first sentence of this paragraph in Knox’s translation reads: “After all, the truth about Right, Ethics and the state is as old as its public recognition and formulation in the law of the land in the morality of everyday life, and in religion”. The truth is much older than its public recognition by the law. “Morality” (for öffentliche Moral) is adequate, but I want to reserve this word for the translation of Hegel’s Moralität,which has a very different meaning (see the preceding note). Probably öffentlichen belongs also to Religion: the publicly recognized Christian (principally Lutheran) religion agrees with the old truth about law, morals and politics. — I have replaced “untrammelled thinking” (for das freie Denken) by the more fundamental “free thinking” in order to preserve the close relationship between thought and freedom.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Cf. Hegel’s discussion of empiricism in Enc. C. 37–39; 61–78 and his Vorlesungen über die Geschichte der Philosophie III (Werke XV; Glockner 19), pp. 278–296, 417–439, 493–500.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    This is a summary of the way in which Hegel grounds his philosophy of the objective and the absolute spirit and of his view concerning “the experience of consciousness” which the individual acquires through education as a “child of his time” and “heir” to a cultural history.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Notwithstanding the impression which Hegel’s system, and in particular his Encyklopildie,can create, his philosophy is not a construction of the universe on the basic of a most abstract nothingness. It is, rather, a reconstruction and reproduction which attempts to match the reality confronting us with a thinking recreation of it.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Although the “ought” is not the final word in philosophy, it does constitute an essential moment of all truth and reality. This explains its key role in the logic of being and the concept, in the philosophy of the subjective practical spirit, and in the philosophy of objective spirit. Cf. Logik (ed. Lasson) I, pp. 119 ff.; II, pp. 304 ff.; Enc. C. 233–235; 470 ff.; 507 ff.; Grl. §§129 ff.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Cf. below the commentary on paragraph 13 and the discussion of Hegel’s identification of “actuality” (Wirklichkeit) and “rationality” (Vernünftigkeit).Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    It appears that neither the word Kultur (culture), which is used by Herder, nor the word Zivilisation (civilization) is used by Hegel in any of his works.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    This short summary of Hegel’s view on the meaning of culture and history is an anticipation of a complete interpretation of his philosophy of history and his philosophy of the objective and absolute spirit. All of the presuppositions formulated under a) through f) are just as much the results of Hegel’s philosophy (i.e., of my interpretation of that philosophy) as they are presuppositions. In a manuscript on the philosophy of world history dating from 1830 (Die Vernunft in der Geschichte,pp. 28–30), Hegel writes that the philosophical consideration of history has only one presupposition, viz. that the world is governed by reason (die Vernunft) and thus that history has progressed rationally. This presupposition has been proved by philosophy, in those parts of it which precede the philosophy of history. It can be explained in four moments: 1) Reason is the substance of natural and spiritual life and activity: i.e., “that in which all reality has its being and existence.” 2) Reason is the infinite power,not a mere ideal or “Ought” found outside reality — God only knows where, or if it is only in the minds of some idealists. 3) Reason is the infinite content of all natural and spiritual life; i.e., the essence, truth and true matter on which thinking reflects. The latter needs no material other than itself. Philosophy is impossible without experience, but the truth of the empirical (“true experience”) is nothing other than concrete rationality here and now. 4) Reason is also the infinite form of thought; i.e., the activity by which it forms, orders and comprehends the content of nature and spirit. Philosophy proves that only the Idea is the true, eternal and unconditional or absolute power which reveals itself in the world. The world reveals nothing other than the splendor of the Idea. But to discover the rationality of the world and its history one must be in possession of reason and rationality oneself: “Whoever looks at the world rationally is looked at rationally by the world as well” (idem,p. 31, cf. also pp. 32 and 259).Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Cf. R. Koselleck, Preussen zwischen Reform and Revolution, Stuttgart 19752 and R.K. Haevar, Hegel and der Preussische Staat, München 1973.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Cf. Grl. § §243–245.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    E. Gans already pointed out in his preface to the second edition of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right (1833) that the jury verdict, the publicness of the verdict and the class parliament did not exist in the Prussia of his time. Cf. Materialien zu Hegels Rechtsphilosophie I, p. 245. K. Rosenkranz observes later in his Apologie Hegel gegen Dr. Haym (1858): “But Hegel cannot have copied the Prussian state of that time, for he taught the necessity of the constitutional monarchy, popular representation, the equality of all citizens before the law, the publicness of judicature, the jury and the freedom of public opinion. Did these institutions exist in Prussia? No. Knowing this, how is it possible to maintain that Hegel based his philosophy of right and state on the model of the bureaucratic Prussian police state?” See M. Riedel, Materialien zu Hegels Rechtsphilosophie I, p. 401. In his biography of Hegel (Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegels Leben,1844, pp. 332–334), Rosenkranz had also listed a number of institutions, some modern, some out of date, which were not yet or no longer to be found in Prussia during Hegel’s time but which were present in Hegel’s philosophy of right (inter alia,the bicameral system, public debates to prepare legislation and majority rule). In his book Hegel als Deutscher Nationalphilosoph (Leipzig 1870) Rosenkranz writes: “It is all the more incomprehensible that anyone could read any servility on Hegel’s part toward the Prussian government in it [i.e., Hegels’ Philosophy of Right], as if he had simply copied how the empirically given Prussian state was in its various divisions. Hegel was not untrue in Prussia to the notion of state which he has defended in Baden against the Württemberger reaction. At that time Prussia was not governed by a constitution; it provided for no publicness or verbal character of judicature, no freedom of the press, no equality of citizens before the law, no part played by the people in legislating or allowing taxation — and Hegel taught that these are all philosophical necessities”. P. Landau points out in an article on “Hegels Begründung des Vertragrechts” (in: Materialien zu Hegels Rechtsphilosophie II, pp. 176–197) that Hegel’s conception of contractual obligations not depending on delivery does not agree with Prussian law at that time but with the Code civil (p. 189).Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Briefe II, pp. 241–242 publishes the draft of a letter from Hegel to Prime Minister Hardenberg which must have been written in October of 1820. Although Hegel says there that his “official duty” required him primarily to fulfill a scientific and theoretical task, he also seems to be indicating in a cautious and veiled manner that his philosophy of right could be of significance “not only for the schools” but also for the government: “I knew… that my scientific striving aimed at separating from philosophy that which unjustly usurps this name and rather at proving the accordance of philosophy with those principles which the nature of the state needs,most immediately however at proving its accordance with that which under his [majesty the King’s] enlightened government and your wise direction of the Prussian state (to which for that very reason I am especially happy to belong) has already in part been achieved and which in part has the good fortune of being achieved. — My treatise will accordingly be an attempt to deal with the major characteristics of what stands before us in its tremendous efficacy, the fruits of which we enjoy, and I do not think I presume too much when I maintain to this end that philosophy, in performing this task proper to it, justifies the protection and favor received from the state, and that in its limited sphere of influence, which nonetheless reaches that which is innermost in man, it can effect an immediate promotion of the government’s beneficent goals” [my emphasis]. Cf. also the draft of a similar letter from Hegel to Altenstein in Briefe II, pp. 237–238.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Cf. Plato, Gorgias 502 ff. (on rhetoric as flattery) and the Republic 562a ff. (on the relation between tyranny and flattery).Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    The image of Hegel as the official and influential state philosopher is thus a total fabrication.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Plato’s demand for “rendering an account” (Xóyov 8tS6vaL) becomes for Hegel the possibility and necessity of the concept.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    With an allusion to the epistle from the apostle Paul to the Romans, in which he writes: “The same spirit bears witness to our spirit, that we are God’s children”, Hegel gladly cites the “witness of spirit”, but understands it in a secularized sense. Cf. e.g., Religionsphilosophie (ed. Lasson) I, p. 94: “Spirit bears witness to spirit. This witness is the proper inner nature of spirit. In it is found the important condition that religion lies… in man… himself, in his reason and freedom”. See also idem,pp. 96, 289, 290, 298. In a purely “ethical” sense the “witness of spirit” also figures in Grl. § 147. The connection between both meanings of the “witness of spirit” is indicated in paragraph 18 of this Preface: “What Luther initiated as faith in feeling and in the witness of the spirit…”Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Cf. Historisches Wörterbuch der Philosophie I, 1031–1032. From Aristotle and the Stoics via Cicero (who introduces the term consensus) through the English common sense philosophy of the 18th and 20th centuries, this has always been an important notion.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Cf. e.g., Enc. C. 71 A; Religionsphilosophie II (Werke XII; Glockner 16), pp. 401–403.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    This paragraph is split into two paragraphs by Knox. I have changed his translation “what is publicly accepted as truth” (for die öffentlich bekannte Wahrheit) to “the publicly accepted truth”, whose ambiguity is exploited by Hegel in connection with his use of the words gültig (valid) and geltend (actually accepted and maintained). Whereas gültig is a normative expression, geltend does not pronounce a judgement about the intrinsic value of the existing laws. Instead of “valid”, used by Knox for both expressions, I have preferred “maintained” for geltend. I did not change Knox’s “ethical order” as translation for Sittlichkeit,but, in order to maintain its wide meaning, I have changed “ethical life” into the ugly, but more adequate neologism “ethicity”. For the same reason etwas Besonderes is not rendered by “some particular character”, but by “something particular”.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Cf. e.g. Grl. § §185+A; 352–359.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Cf. Grl. § 147: the “feeling of self” (Selbstgefühl),which coincides with the “witness of spirit” (cf. Note 39) expresses a relation between the individual subject and the existing rational order which is “even more identical than belief and faith”. Cf. also Grl. §257.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    According to the introductory sections 1–32, the general definition of right is “the existence of freedom” (das Dasein der Freiheit). The more specific definition of freedom, which is important for paragraph 6 and the entire Preface,is thematized in sections 132 and 137A called an “honorable obstinacy” in paragraph 18.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Cf. paragraph 9, in which “hatred of law” is called the sign of vicious ideas and attitudes concerning morality.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Cf. e.g. paragraph 9.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Cf. Enc. A. 112–114 and Logik II, pp. 239–264.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Cf. Hegel’s verse Entschluss from 1801: “Kühn mag der Götter Sohn der Vollendung Kampf sich vertrauen,/Brich denn den Frieden mit mir, brich mit dem Werke der Welt!/Strebe, versuche du mehr als das Heut and das Gestern! So wirst du/Besseres nicht, als die Zeit, aber auf’s Beste sie sein!”.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Cf. Enc. 75–91;Logik II, pp. 129–136; 156–169; 477–483.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    In this paragraph the following changes have been made: Geist has been translated as “spirit” (Knox: “mind”); “a particular” anew and articular (eine neue and be-sondere [Theorie]) replaces “a special and original”; “the result is that if the ethical world is Godless…” (for dass nach diesem Atheismus der sittlichen Welt) has been changed into “the result of this atheism of the ethical world is that”; instead of “empty reflection” I prefer “vain reflection” to render Reflexion and Eitelkeit,and absprechen seems to me to be weaker than “condemn”, more like “criticize”.Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Here, for example, the passages from Hegel’s Geschichte der Philosophie referring to the ancient world at the time of Socrates and the Stoics would have to be analyzed, as well as those concerning the “barbarism” of the Middle Ages and the poor contemporary situations in the “Roman” countries, England and Turkey. Cf. also Grl. §3A (p. 13): “quite correct; Roman family law, slavery, etc. do not satisfy even the slightest advances of reason”.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Cf. Grl. § 138A: “As one of the commoner features of history (e.g. in Socrates, the Stoics, and others), the tendency to look inward into oneself and to know and determine from within oneself what is right and good appears in ages when what is recognized as right and good in the ethical actuality cannot satisfy the will of better men. When the existing world of freedom has become faithless to the will of better men, that will fails to find itself in the duties there recognized and must try to find in the ideal world of the inner life alone the harmony which actuality has lost”. Notice nicht… kann (“cannot”) and muss (“must”).Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Although Hegel’s argumentation here seems to identify “the ethical world” with “the spiritual universe”, it is all too clear from his philosophy that the world of spirit is broader and includes art, religión and science. An identification of the state with morality as such is made impossible by Hegel’s course of thought as it is expressed e.g. in Grl. § 30A and the division of the third section; but Hegel made it so often nevertheless that one does not have to explain it away in the paragraph of the Preface in question here either.Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    In an early letter to Schelling (April 16, 1795 ), Hegel still writes: “With the spread of the ideas of how things ought to be, the indolence of settled people to eternally accept everything as it is will disappear” (Briefe I, p. 24). In Frankfurt Hegel begins to have a higher opinion of Being and after Jena he criticizes the moralism expressed in various absolutizations of the Ought. Perhaps Hegel was influenced in this transformation by Spinoza, who concerning the morality of the philosophers says in §1 of the first part of his Tractatus Politicus: “homines… not ut sunt, sed, ut eosdem esse vellent, concipiunt”. This idea was also already to be found in Machiavelli’s The Prince, section X V.Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    I do not know to which epistemology Hegel is alluding with the word “problem”. Cf. however Kant, Kritik der reinen Vernunft A.256 (= B.311): “ist selbst ein Problema”; A.328 (= B.384): “so bleibt es ein Problem ohne alle Auflösung”; B.392: “lediglich ein reines and echtes Produkt, oder Problem, der reinen Vernunft”; A.338 (= B.396): “keine Kenntnis, obzwar einen problematischen Begriff”.Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Cf. the places cited in Note 44 and GrL §268+A,where the “patriotic” inclinations of the citizens are discussed as being the “substantial foundation” of the state. A clear commentary from Hegel himself on the sentence “because ultimately this is the position of everybody” can be found in Ilting III, pp. 724725. Hegel gives the following explanation of Grl. §268 there: “This conviction [that my substantial and particular interest is contained and maintained in the interest and purpose… of the state] is held to a greater or lesser degree by everyone, without his knowing it, no matter how much people may cast aspersions and complain. For if you take hold of them and ask them earnestly if they would wish that all of what they complain about did not exist, they would retreat from this position and come to the awareness that the basis of their entire existence is and can only be the state, and that it must therefore be maintained… The early stages of cultivation always begin with finding fault, and later always seek the positive in everything… The apparent political inclinations must therefore be distinguished from what people genuinely want. They want the state inwardly, although they are not always aware of this, but they do not go beyond particulars and are pleased with themselves in this vanity and know-it-all attitude of wanting to understand”. Cf. a similar commentary in Ilting IV, pp. 642–643: “The spirit of a nation continues on in every individual whether he knows it and fights against it or is unaware of it, as one eats and drinks without knowing about anatomy. In his particular being, in his actions, that spirit is the driving and the unmovable element in him which brings him to act. No matter how much people rationalize about their time and their state, they are still fully a part of that time and state in which they have their foundation; if these were taken away, these people would fall into a vacuum, and to that extent they have more trust than they themselves and others believe… It is difficult to determine to what extent people are serious in their rationalizing, finding fault and being dissatisfied; they can carry on and become vehement, but the extent to which this is really serious people do not know themselves.”Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Grl. § §316–320 treat public opinion and censorship. See my commentary in “Der Staat and Ich”, in: Hegel-Jahrbuch 1975, pp. 83–104.Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    The Sophist 261 a 7; cf. also Theaetetus 180 c 5.Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    This paragraph was split into two paragraphs by Knox. I have translated Gegenstände by “topics” (Knox interprets them as “institutions”), kept “his own” (den Seinen) instead of translating with Knox “ the elect”, eliminated the quotationmarks from the topics of Fries’ speech, and translated Wahrnehmung by “perception”, not — as Knox does — by “sense-perception”, because it refers in this context to an immediate knowledge of the heart and not to one or more of the five senses. The sentence in which Hegel compares Fries c.s. with the “atheist” Epicurus is one of the many gramatically incorrect phrases that can be found in Hegel’s work. Hegel does not want to say that Epicurus’ cosmology is in fact a normative theory, but rather that the principle of his cosmology lies in contingency (Zufälligkeit). As the Willkür (the subjective faculty of choice or liberum arbitrium) is the contingent aspect of the will, the ethical view of Hegel’s enemies can be compared to the cosmological view of Epicurus. In accordance with this interpretation I have changed Knox’ translation, which reads: “According to a view of this kind, the world of ethics (Epicurus, holding a similar view, would have said the `world in general’)….”. Instead of “speculative thinking” (Knox) my “conceptual thinking” remains closer to Hegel’s “dem denkenden Begriffe”. In Goethe’s text I maintained “science” (instead of “knowledge”) for Wissenschaft. At the end of the paragraph I maintained Hegel’s sequence of Wahrheit and Gesetze.Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    To whom is Hegel referring here with “recent philosophy” (Philosophie der neueren Zeit) (Knox: “recent philosophical publications”). In his courses on the history of philosophy, Geschichte der Philosophie,he uses the expression “the philosophy of modern times” (die Philosophie der neuen Zeit, Werke XV and Glockner 19, pp. 267) for philosophy beginning with Bacon and Böhme, but he also allows “philosophy” or “modern thought” (das Denken der neueren Zeit, Werke XV and Glockner 19, pp. 274 and 328) to begin with Descartes (cf. also Werke XIII, p. 129; Glockner 17, p. 145). Here, in paragraph 8 of the Preface to the Philosophy of Right,Hegel must be thinking of his contemporaries, who were on a level far beneath that of the modern political and legal philosophies of Hobbes, Grotius, Pufendorf, Rousseau, Kant and Fichte. Cf. Geschichte der Philosophie (Werke XV; Glockner 19), pp. 439–446, 526529, 551 ff.Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    He giveth to his own in sleep“ (”Den Seinen gibt Er’s schlafend“) is a loose quotation from Psalm 127, verse 2: ”Es ist umsonst, dass Ihr früh aufsteht […], denn seinen Freunden gibt Er’s schlafend“ (It is vain for you to rise up early […], for so he giveth his beloved [even in their] sleep).Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Cf. Hegel’s repeated criticism of the contemporary theology in its two forms: rational theology (Vernunfttheologie) and the theology of feeling (Gefühlstheologie). It is especially by the second, pietistic and undogmatic theology, strongly represented at the University of Berlin by Schleiermacher, De Wette, and Tholuck among others, that Hegel’s polemic is repeatedly aroused. See e.g. the preface to the second edition of the Encyklopädie with the long note on Tholuck, Enc. BC. 573 Remark, and the Philosophie der Religion (ed. Lasson) I, pp. 35 ff.Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    Cf. what is said in the Introduction concerning Hegel’s relation to Fries, De Wette and Schleiermacher.Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    The same thought is expressed in a similar context in Grl. §270A,e (pp. 261262).Google Scholar
  66. 66.
    Hegel cites the first part of Goethe’s Faust in which Mephistopheles, disguised as Faust, says immediately before the appearance of the student: Verachte nur Vernunft und Wissenschaft, Des Menschen allerhöchste Kraft, Lass nur in Blend-und Zauberwerken Dich von dem Lügengeist bestärken, So hab ich dich schon unbedingt! — Ihm hat das Schicksal einen Geist gegeben Der ungebändigt immer vorwärts dringt Und dessen übereiltes Streben Der Erde Freuden überspringt. Den schlepp ich durch das wilde Leben, Durch flache Unbedeutendheit, Er soll mir zappeln, starren, kleben, Und seiner Unersättlichkeit Soll Speis und Trank vor giergen Lippen schweben, Er wird Erquickung sich umsonst erflehn; Und hätt er sich auch nicht dem Teufel übergeben, Er müsste doch zugrunde gehr! By leaving out ten lines and changing the first two and the last two lines, Hegel changes the meaning of these verses. In the Phänomenologie des Geistes (GW 9, p. 199) Hegel adapts them in the following form which, except for the person, corresponds for the most part with the version in the Philosophy of Right: Es (a certain form of self-consciousness) verachtet Verstand und Wissenschaft des Menschen allerhöchste Gaben — es hat dem Teufel sich ergeben und muss zu Grunde gehr. Evidently Hegel is quoting from memory in both works, as he did with the psalm quoted in Note 62 and the line from Aesop’s Fables cited in paragraph 15. He apparently remembered the quoted texts in the version given in the Philosophy of Right.Google Scholar
  67. 67.
    Cf. on this point A. Peperzak, “Religion et politique dans la philosophie de Hegel”, published in: G. Planty-Bonjour (ed.), Hegel et la Religion, Paris 1982, p. 37–76.Google Scholar
  68. 68.
    Cf. Grl. § § 28–29 with reference to the word “objective” which Hegel uses repeatedly in an ambiguous sense in the Philosophy of Right.Google Scholar
  69. 69.
    Cf. e.g., Geschichte der Religion, Werke XIV (Glockner 18), pp. 70–122, Philosophie der Religion (ed. Lasson) IV, pp. 142 ff.Google Scholar
  70. 70.
    Cf. Grl. §30A.Google Scholar
  71. 71.
    Besides changing “mind” (for Geist) to “spirit” and “ethical life” (for das Sittliche) to “the ethical”, I have changed “justice” (for Recht) to “right” and the more elegant “private hearth” (for Partikularität),which, however, obscures the opposition between the universality of the law and the particularity of subjectivistic feelings, to the very literal “particularity”. Die Form des Rechten (in which expression das Rechte has to be heard as a substantivally used adjective, synonymous with “the good”) has been translated as “the form in which the right appears” (Knox: “the formal character of the right”).Google Scholar
  72. 72.
    In accordance with the scholastic distinction between universale, particulare and singulare,“singularity” (Einzelheit) must be taken here in a neutral sense which is synonymous with “individuality”.Google Scholar
  73. 73.
    Cf. Le jeune Hegel et la vision morale du monde,pp. 11–28, where Hegel’s vocabulary in Tübingen is also studied, in particular on pp. 12 and 16–17.Google Scholar
  74. 74.
    In §258A (pp. 245–246 of the original edition in the footnote), to which the phrase “as I have remarked somewhere in the course of this text-book” refers, Hegel also reproaches the conservative Von Haller with “the most bitter hatred of all laws”. In this passage Hegel calls the “hatred of the law” “the shibboleth by which fanaticism, feeblemindedness and the hypocrisy of good intentions openly and unmistakably reveal themselves for what they are, [and] dress themselves in whatever guise they may”. From this we see that Hegel’s diagnosis and polemic, which appear in the Preface to refer only to Fries, are also applicable to another, restorative current in jurisprudence: the historical school of right represented by the conservative Karl Ludwig von Haller, who became a Catholic in 1820 and was therefore released from his important political functions. With this reference Hegel probably wanted to point out that he was not only distinguishing himself from the “progressive” but also from the “restorers”, who proceeded on the basis of principles as bad as those of the former. Cf. also Hegel’s excerpts from Haller’s Restauration der Staatswissenschaft,in: Berliner Schriften,pp, 678–684.Google Scholar
  75. 75.
    A review from February of 1822 in the Allgemeine Literaturzeitung,published in Halle, reproaches Hegel with a malevolent interpretation of the speech by Fries quoted in paragraph 8. Cf. Berliner Schriften,pp. 750–751.Google Scholar
  76. 76.
    Pursued as a private skill“ (or art), instead of Knox’s ”pursued in private like an art“ seems to me to be more faithful to als eine private Kunst exerziert; I have kept ”science“ for Wissenschaft (instead of ”learning“), ”the ethical“ (not ” the ethical life“) for das Sittliche and ”ethicity“ for Sittlichkeit. I have changed ”starts… from“ (for führt… auf) to ”leads… to“. The awkward expression wird sich nicht etwa durch den Titel abweisen lassen, der. (Knox: ”Is not likely to suffer any diminution as a result of“) has been changed to ”cannot be denied by“. Instead of ”ultimate source“ the German text reads substantielle Quelle (”substantial source“) and ”what is deserved“ (for the vaguer gehörte) I have changed to ”all right“.Google Scholar
  77. 77.
    Hegel’s consciousness of his practice of philosophy as an official duty in service of the state is made evident by various letters. Cf. Briefe II, pp. 237–238 (“Proof of my official activity” and “rendering an account…”): pp. 241242 (“my official obligation”); Berliner Schriften,p. 751.Google Scholar
  78. 78.
    Cf, Grl. §270A.Google Scholar
  79. 79.
    Cf. pp. 328–329 of the original edition of the Grundlinien.Google Scholar
  80. 80.
    In Grl. § §138A (and supplement); 274 + supplement and 279, Hegel compares his time to that of Socrates. Cf. also the marginal note at §138A (Ilting II, p. 491: “Viewpoint of the abstract conscience… this is the major viewpoint and illness of our time. Solution — respect for the present objectivity of morals”) and Werke XI, pp. 350–351.Google Scholar
  81. 81.
    Instead of “speculative knowledge” I have chosen “Conceptual knowledge” for begreifende Erkenntnis; der physischen and geistigen Natur (Knox: “nature and mind”) is translated here by “the natural and spiritual world”; instead of “the laws of ethics” (die Gesetze des Sittlichen) the text adopted reads “the laws of the ethical”. The beginning of the last sentence I would rather translate in the following way: “principles of the most criminal kind…” (die verbrecherischten Grundsätze).Google Scholar
  82. 82.
    Concerning the publications in the positive sciences Hegel is probably thinking particularly of Hugo (Grl. §3A), Von Haller (Grl. §§219A and 258A) and Savigny (whom he does not name, but who as leader of the historical school of right must have felt himself the target of Hegel’s attack on Hugo). Theologians against whom Hegel polemizes are De Wette and Tholuck (see Note 63) and perhaps Schleiermacher.Google Scholar
  83. 83.
    Perhaps Hegel is thinking here among other things of Schleiermacher’s plan to abolish the philosophical class of the Academy. See above, Note 10.Google Scholar
  84. 84.
    See Rosenkranz, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s Leben,pp. 336–337 and Berliner Schriften,pp. 750–751.Google Scholar
  85. 85.
    The entire review is printed in Ilting I, pp. 461–474.Google Scholar
  86. 86.
    Rosenkranz, op.cit. p. 337. Cf. Berliner Schriften,pp. 750–751.Google Scholar
  87. 87.
    Philosophie der Weltgeschichte (ed. Lasson) pp. 771 ff.Google Scholar
  88. 88.
    Hegel argues that the pseudo-philosophical relativism that considers all convictions to be equally good is the same as the legitimation of criminal notions, in Grl. § 140A:e (pp. 145–149).Google Scholar
  89. 89.
    Plato’s analysis of tyranny (the Republic 565d ff.) probably also plays a role here. Anti-philosophy is ungrateful to pseudo-philosophy, which it contests and which is basically a form of violence. Cf. in this connection Hegel’s analysis of subjectivistic morality in Grl. § 140A, which also turns into an accusation of the violent anarchism it conceals.Google Scholar
  90. 90.
    Knox splits this paragraph into two.Google Scholar
  91. 91.
    Which lives in the light of its consciousness of these“ refers to the consciousness and ”self-consciousness“ (Selbstbewusstsein) which works in the government in a non-philosophical way and in the professors in a philosophical way. It is the task of the latter to make explicit and purify this consciousness on the part of the state.Google Scholar
  92. 92.
    Cf. above p. 56 and Note 28.Google Scholar
  93. 93. Enc. BC. 6A.Google Scholar
  94. 94.
    Cf. Grl. § 140 and Philosophie der Religion (ed. Lasson) IV, pp. 102–109 and 121–129.Google Scholar
  95. 95.
    I hope to show this in a complete commentary on the Philosophy of Right. I believe I have already done this for sections 1–32, 105–141 and 142–156 in the studies quoted in Note 21.Google Scholar
  96. 96.
    Hegel’s view of the difference between Socrates and Christ demands a separate study. Several indications are given in Philosophie der Religion II, Werke XII (Glockner 16), pp. 187 and 295.Google Scholar
  97. 97.
    Cf. Grl. §124A and many other passages such as §§162A, 206A, 228A, 236A, 260A, 262, 274, 290A, 301A, 316, 328; Enc. C. 540A.Google Scholar
  98. 98.
    Grl. §185A. Private property (§46 + A), the right to have a family (§162 + A) and freedom of choice of profession (§206A) are essential expressions of the principle of subjectivity. But Hegel scarcely thematizes the specifically political aspects of this principle.Google Scholar
  99. 99.
    Cf. Berliner Schriften,p. 336, where Hegel himself writes concerning the end of paragraph 12: “Here it is so explicit that a misunderstanding seems impossible: the principle of Christianity and the more abstract principle of infinite personality are indicated here explicitly as the principle to which Plato’s nostalgy refers and around which the hinge of world history has turned”. Cf. also what Hegel says about Plato’s view of the relationships between right, philosophy and religion in Enc. 552A, pp. 436–438.Google Scholar
  100. 100.
    Cf. Philosophie der Weltgeschichte (ed. Lasson) III, pp. 644–647; Geschichte der Philosophie, Werke XIV (Glockner 18), pp. 100–117.Google Scholar
  101. 101.
    See Note 80.Google Scholar
  102. 102.
    The same course of thought is expressed in Hegel’s discussion of public opinion, freedom of the press and censorship (Grl. § §308–320). A public discussion in the parliament or “Class Assembly” (Ständeversammlung,something that did not exist in Prussia) is necessary, just as is freedom of the press, in order to give “the people” a chance to take part in state affairs and to be satisfied with how they are conducted.Google Scholar
  103. 103.
    Was vernünftig ist, des ist wirklich; and was wirklich ist, das ist vernünftig.Google Scholar
  104. 104.
    I did not make any changes in the text, except the replacement of “mind” by “spirit”, but added some Hegelian expressions within parentheses.Google Scholar
  105. 105.
    Cf. Logik I, G.W. 11, pp. 369 ff.; Enc. BC§6 + A and §142 ff.; Grl. §1 + A.Google Scholar
  106. 106.
    The text of Enc. B 6 + A is identical to that of the third edition except for a couple of stylistic changes and three clear additions. The commentary given here is based on the third edition.Google Scholar
  107. 107.
    Cf. e.g., Enc. C. 6A: “every idea, error, evil”, “just as every existence however troubled and transitory”. Paragraph 13 of the Preface does distinguish between the foundation and the mass of contingent and external phenomena of which reality consists, but Hegel does not explicitly mention here any forms of evil, such as political and economic errors, corruption, injustice, reaction, intrigues, misuse of power, intolerance and so on. Did he want to prevent the censor from waking up? But cf. Grl. § §268Z and 270Z and Briefe II,p. 242 (“in part still to be achieved”).Google Scholar
  108. 108.
    That this is Hegel’s conviction appears e.g. from passages like these: “that which is and corresponds to its concept, is necessarily” (was ist and seinem Begriff gemäss ist, das muss sein“, Wa. §44A, p. 50); ”What is rational, must happen“ (”was vernünftig ist, muss geschehen“, Wa. § 134A, p. 192; see also the end of the Remark); ”What is rational becomes actual and the actual becomes rational“ (”Was vernünft ist, wird wirklich, und das Wirkliche wird vernünftig“, An, p. 51. Here ”actual“ is used as synonymous with ”real“ or ”existent“). That this conviction does not exclude the possibility and the reality of a temporary divorce between reason and actuality (which may last a very long time!) follows from a statement of 1818: ”Reason projects an ideal of the state [i.e.] its constitution, but the form of actuality is very different from it. — Universality belongs to the character of the rational. This is, however, still incomplete as long as the idea does not actualize itself’ (“Die Vernunft entwirft ein Ideal des Staats, der Staatsverfassung, von dem die Gestalt der Wirklichkeit sehr verschieden ist. — Zum Charakter des Vernünftigen gehört das Allgemeine. Es ist aber noch unvollständig, solange nicht die Idee in die Wirklichkeit tritt”. WH, p. 210–211). The authenticity of this passage is attested to by an -almost identical note of Wanneman who followed the same course as Homeyer, from whose notes the above quotation is taken: “Die Verfassung entwirft ein Ideal des Staates, der Rechtsverfassung, von dem die Gestalt der Wirklichkeit sehr verschieden ist” (Wa, p. 270). Cf. also — with regard to the difference between the essential or universal right and positive law: “The positive law of all states conserves determinations which are not in accordance with reason” (“Das Allgemeine muss vernunftgemäss sein, die Autorität und Form machen das Positive der Gesetze aus. Eine solche Vermischung besteht in allen Staaten; es haben sich nämlich in allen nicht vernunftgemässe Bestimmungen in dem positiven Recht erhalten”, Wa, p. 269). The philosophy of right is concerned with the idea, i.e., the true and universal ideal of right, morality and state; it is, however, neither an abstract, “platonic” ideal, ‘nor a historicist glorification of the facts: “The philosophy of right neither stops at an abstraction nor at a historical perspective if this is not in accordance with the idea. It knows that the realm of right comes into being through a progressive evolution only and that it is impossible to skip any stage of this evolution” (“Die Philosophie des Rechts bleibt weder bei der Abstraktion noch bei der geschichtlichen Rücksicht stehen, wenn diese der Idee nicht gemäss ist. Sie weiss, dass das Reich des Rechtlichen nur durch fortschreitende Entwicklung entstehen kann und eine Stufe derselben zu überspringen ist”. Wa, p. 206). Cf. also Ilting IV, pp. 632–633.Google Scholar
  109. 109.
    Knox translates Jedes unbefangene Bewusstsein as “the plain man”.Google Scholar
  110. 110.
    On Hegel’s version of the “ontological argument for the existence of God”, cf. inter alia Logik I, G.W. 11 pp. 47–50; II, G.W. 12 pp. 127–131; Enc. C. 51 + A; 193 A and Grl. §280A, where the unity of concept and existence (Begriff and Dasein) which is expressed in the ontological argument and in which the “depth of the idea” consists is identified with the truth. Without this unity no knowledge is possible.Google Scholar
  111. 111.
    Cf. Logik I, G.W. 11, pp. 381–389; Enc. C. 145 Zusatz; Grl. §214A: “It is reason itself which recognizes that contingency, contradiction and mere appearance have their own, though limited, sphere and right, and it does not trouble itself with solving such contradictions”.Google Scholar
  112. 112.
    As examples of juridical contingencies that do not fall under the competence of philosophy Hegel quotes by heart and in a slightly distorted way passages from Plato’s Laws VII,789e-790a, and Fichte’s Grundlage des Naturrechts §21 (Akad. Ausgabe I. 4, pp. 87–89). In the indicated passage Plato says that the lawgiver should not enter into details like that of taking a baby everywhere on the arm until the time he can stand on his own feet. Plato thus agrees with Hegel’s view. Hegel’s phrase Plato konnte es unterlassen could be translated in this sense: “Plato could, i.e., was justified, in omitting…”, but the parallellism (ebenso) with Fichte, who indeed recommends putting a picture into the passports “of important persons” (a restriction neglected by Hegel) forbids such a translation.Google Scholar
  113. 113.
    Compare “This [philosophy] has to do only with the Idea, which is not so powerless as to consist only in an ought and not be real, and thus has to do with a reality in which those objects, arrangements, conditions, etc. are only the superficial exterior” (Enc. C. 6A, end) and Enc. C. 38A: “We find in empiricism this great principle, that whatever is true must be real and available to perception. This principle is opposed to the Ought, with which reflection inflates itself, belittling reality and the present in favor of a Hereafter which is to be found only in the subjective understanding. Like empiricism… philosophy, too, only recognizes what is; it knows nothing of that which only ought to be and thus is not”.Google Scholar
  114. 114.
    The metaphor of die bunte Rinde (“the motley covering”) is used also in the Course on Aesthetics: “Die harte Rinde der Natur and gewöhnlichen Welt machen es dem Geiste saurer zur Idee durchzudringen als die Werke der Kunst”. (Werke Xl, p. 14). A very helpful commentary on the opposition and Aufhebung of Sein and Sollen is to be found in Enc. §234 Zusatz.Google Scholar
  115. 115.
    Cf. Die Vernunft in der Geschichte pp. 31–32: “In order […] to recognize the universal, the rational [in the world and world history], one must oneself be rational […]. If one takes on the world with subjectivity alone, he will understand the world to be as he himself is made up: he will always know better, see how things should have been done, how things should have occurred. Most of world history, however, is and must be rational; a divine will is the ruler of the world and is not so powerless as not to determine that history. [In order] to recognize this one must have the consciousness of reason […] the eye of the concept, of reason, which pierces the surface and penetrates the manifoldness of the motley confusion of occurrences”. In his course on the philosophy of right of 1819–1820 Hegel says that someone who feels unfree in the state should blame himself for it, for insofar as there is a state, and not an anarchic war of all against all, freedom has actualized itself as “concrete freedom”: “Man has his highest freedom in the state, because in it the concept [of freedom] is an object [objective] for him. If a man does not know this, he must obey the laws as a servant. He can see the state’s demands as an exterior constraint and gnash his teeth; that is his affair. It is his own fault and misfortune that he feels this way. He can also take refuge in complete resignation, but he remains [thus] always in complete dependency” (An, p. 226–227). In the Zusatz indicated in the preceding note Hegel characterizes the negative criticism with regard to the [social and cultural] world as an attitude of the youth: “The youth believes that the world is in an absolutely bad shape and must be transformed completely”. “The attitude of the adult” (Die Stellung des Mannes) includes the recognition “that the final aim of the world not only is accomplishing itself eternally, but also has accomplished itself” (“dass der Endzweck der Welt ebenso vollbracht is, als er sich ewig vollbringt”). The same criticism of the youth’s criticism is found in Ilting IV, pp. 632–633. Cf. also Grl. §268 Zusatz.Google Scholar
  116. 116.
    Ilting III, p. 727. Cf. also Ilting IV, pp. 632–633: “The Idea of the state should not be understood as the thought of a particular state or particular institution; one must consider the Idea, this actual God. Although one may declare a state bad in light of one’s own principles, and although one might find some deficiency in it, if the essential (das Wesentliche) is found in it, namely that, as a state, it is a Christian European state, then it must (muss) contain all essential moments of [the Idea of] the state”. The most fundamental explanation of the unity in difference of actuality (Wirklichkeit) appearance (Erscheinung) and being (Sein) is given in Logik II, G.W. 12, pp. 173–178. On pp. 175–176 the structure of the Idea is illustrated through a consideration of the finite, the deficient, the bad and the dying state.Google Scholar
  117. 117.
    Hegel’s confidence in the fundamental rationality of reality is coupled with a fundamental faith in the ability of human reason to figure out the secrets of reality. Cf. e.g. the famous words which Hegel spoke at his inaugural lecture in Heidelberg (cf. System and Geschichte der Philosophie, pp. 5–6) and repeated almost literally in his inaugural dissertation in Berlin: “… To begin with, however, I can demand nothing [of you] but that you bring with you a confidence in science, faith in reason, confidence and faith in yourself The courage of the truth, faith in the power of spirit [is] the first condition of the study of philosophy; man must honour himself and consider himself worthy of what is highest. He cannot think highly enough of the greatness and power of the spirit; the self-contained essence of the universe has no strength in itself which could resist the courage of knowledge; it must open itself to knowledge, laying its riches and depth before its eyes and allowing its enjoyment” (Berliner Schriften, pp. 8–9). In the lecture with which Hegel began his course on the philosophy of world history on November 18, 1830 he formulated the rationality of empirical reality as follows: “The only idea intrinsic to philosophy […] is the simple idea of reason, that reason rules the world, and thus that world history has progressed rationally.” (Die • Vernunft in der Geschichte, p. 28). What follows, viz. that this basic idea at the beginning of his course is a presupposition, but that it is proved in philosophy is a presupposition, but that it is proved in philosophy so that one no longer has to believe it but knows that it is true, can also be stated concerning the faith in one’s own reason which Hegel asked of his students in the opening lectures of 1816 and 1818. “This conviction and insight is a presupposition with respect to history [or also: reality] as such. In philosophy itself this is not a presupposition; in philosophy it is proved by speculative knowledge that reason is […] [1] the substance, [2] infinite power, [3] the infinite matter of all natural and spiritual life and [4] the infinite form and activating (Betätigung) of its content… That such an Idea is the True, Eternal and All-powerful, that it reveals itself in the world and [that] nothing is revealed in it except itself, its splendor and its dignity, is what is proved in philosophy, as has been said, and what is therefore presupposed here as proved” (ibid. pp. 28–29; cf. also pp. 38–39 and 258). The idea that the world is fundamentally rational is traced by Hegel himself back to Anaxagoras, who transmitted it to western philosophy via Plato (cf. Phaedo 97b-98b) and Socrates: “Historically Anaxagoras is said to be the first to state that nous i.e., intelligence or reason, rules the world […] Socrates took this idea from Anaxagoras, and it immediately became the predominant idea in philosophy, with the exception of Epicurus who attributed all occurrences to chance” (Die Vernunft in der Geschichte p. 38). Parmenides’ “great affirmation”, which identifies thinking with being, receives little attention from Hegel. Cf. Geschichte der Philosophie I (Werke XIII, p. 296). Hegel discusses Aristotle’s notion of “actuality” (energeia) in Geschichte der Philosophie II (Werke XIV, pp. 318–332).Google Scholar
  118. 118.
    Cf. Logik I, G.W. 11 pp. 17 ff.; Enc. A. 329; C. 413.Google Scholar
  119. 119.
    Cf. Grl. §132.Google Scholar
  120. 120.
    Cf. Enc. B Preface: “Such a [scientific] development [of thought] proves itself to be nothing other than the recreation of that absolute content beyond which thinking (Gedanke) first strove and extended itself, but a recreation in the most peculiar, freest element of spirit”.Google Scholar
  121. 121.
    Cf. Grl. §3+A and above pp. 6–10.Google Scholar
  122. 122.
    Briefe II, p. 242. All italics mine. Altenstein, to whom Hegel had written a similar letter to accompany the Grundlinien (Briefe II, pp. 237–238), understood Hegel’s method well, as we see in his answer: “By emphasizing in this work (as you also do in your lectures) with the earnestness befitting science that one must grasp the present and actual and comprehend the rational in nature and history, it seems to me you provide philosophy with the only correct attitude toward reality, and thus you will most certainly succeed in protecting your listeners from the pernicious self-conceit which rejects existence without having known it and is satisfied, particularly with regard to the state, with arbitrarily constructing empty ideals”.Google Scholar
  123. 123.
    With the expression “to the extent that” (“diese Abhandlung, insofern sie die Staatswissenschaft enthält”, translated by Knox as “This book…, containing as it does the science of the state”), Hegel indicates that this treatise contains more than just a philosophy of state in the strict sense; it also contains a philosophical grounding and explanation of the principles governing “abstract” right, the juridical aspects of morality, family life, the economy, the international order and political history. Cf. also the commentary given above on the title “Natural law and the science of state [or political science]” (Naturrecht and Staatswissenschaft).Google Scholar
  124. 124.
    This is one of the meanings of the second part of the Philosophy of Right, “Morality” (Die Moralität). Cf. also the passages quoted in the notes 108 and 114.Google Scholar
  125. 125.
    Cf. Logik I, G.W. 11, pp. 73–75 and (e.g.) Enc. C 171 Zusatz: “… when it is said that an art work is beatiful or an action is good, the objects in question are compared with what they ought to be, i.e. with their concept”.Google Scholar
  126. 126.
    Cf. Dokumente zu Hegels Entwicklung p. 388 and the commentary in A.T.B. Peperzak, Le jeune Hegel et la vision morale du monde The Hague 19692, p. 247.Google Scholar
  127. 127.
    Aesopica (ed. B.E. Perry, Urbana 1952 ), p. 334.Google Scholar
  128. 128.
    The second version can be found, for example, in an edition of Aesop by Halmius (Leipzig, Teubner 1854), n. 203b. Where Hegel found the Latin translation is unknown to me. Phaedrus did not include this fable. The quoted sentence was already in circulation in ancient times, as a proverb. Cf. the Corpus Paroemiographorum Graecorum II, pp. 101 (n. 86) and 461 (n. 100). In a review in which he defends this passage of the Philosophy of Right Hegel writes “Hic Rhodus, hic salta” instead of the translation containing “saltus”. (Berliner Schriften p. 402). Some information about this twofold translation is given by M. Haller, System and Gesellschaft p. 198, Note 103.Google Scholar
  129. 129.
    The complete sentence reads: `O Xdyoç SnXoT and an) Trpdxeipoç Se epywv 7reipa, rrep(ToóTwv /râç X6yoç Treparóç andonv.Google Scholar
  130. 130.
    Ilting III, p. 821. Cf. also Ilting IV, p. 642 and Philosophie der Weltgeschichte (ed. Lasson), pp. 73–74.Google Scholar
  131. 131.
    Cf. also parts of Grl. §270A, e.g. pp. 261–263 and §274 Zusatz (cf. Ilting III, pp. 753–756 and IV, p. 663).Google Scholar
  132. 132.
    An enlightening passage concerning Hegel’s difficulties with subjectivism can also be found in Ilting IV, p. 83. After Hegel has clearly stated that “ the existence and authority” of positive right say nothing about its value, and after having warned against the contrary misconception, that a constitution should be rejected simply because it claims authority and requires obedience or subjection (p. 82), he says:: “The laws must have the form to be indifferent to insight and caprice, yet it is up to the individuals to understand them. Laws […1 must withstand the test of reason. Thought, however, which gives laws wants to presuppose that every human being can judge what is right and good, that this is engraved in the human heart and that the standard for judging laws and constitutions is found in feeling. This is an unfortunate prejudice which especially in more recent times has caused much confusion and trouble L.]]. If one recognizes […] the demand […] to comprehend the laws and compare them with the concept, this does not mean that to do so is easy or something immediately given. Rather one must recognize that positive laws can claim an impressive authority — that of many centuries, of the entire human race. The entire human race has worked at these laws, and it is not so easy to judge this work of the spirit, or to wish to be more clever than this world spirit. It is spirit alone which understands this; it should be our ambition to be equal to this and not to dismiss the matter with frivolous reflections.”Google Scholar
  133. 133.
    The fact that Hegel translates wri8opa and saltuslsalta by “dance” (tanze) is probably due to Goethe’s influence, who included the fable in one of his Zahme Xenien (III, n. 2): Willst du dich als Dichter beweisen, So musst du nicht Helden noch Hirten preisen; Hier ist Rhodus! Tanze, du Wicht, Und der Gelegenheit schaff ein Gedicht!Google Scholar
  134. 134.
    In this paragraph, which in Knox’s text is not distinct from the former, I have changed “mind” (for Geist) to “spirit” and “an actual world before our eyes” (vorhandener Wirklichkeit) to “existing actuality”. Instead of “accidental’ I prefer ”contingent“ as the translation of das Zufällige and the very literal ”is in and for itself“ (for an und für sich ist) to ”exists absolutely“.Google Scholar
  135. 135.
    Berliner Schriften, p. 402 (= Werke XVII, p. 227 = Glockner 20, p. 392). The symbol of the Rosicrucians was a golden cross with a rose in the middle.Google Scholar
  136. 136.
    R.K. Hocevar, op.cit., p. 17. According to the Encyclopedia Universalis (XIV, pp. 439–441), a society of “Gold-and Rosicrucians of the older system” manifested itself in the German lands after 1777, with many (probably several thousand) members. Many freemasons were members of this society, or became members. J.R. Bischoffswerden and J.C. Wöllner, made Minister of War and Minister of State and Religion, respectively, by King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia (1786–1797) after his ascent to the throne, were members before 1786 and initiated the king while he was still crown prince. The society died out in 1787. The Enc. Universalis cites various books from the Rosicrucian milieu for the years 1781–1788. “Rosicrucian” was also a much-used title in the 18th century for certain higher degrees of Freemasonry. Cf. also G. Lasson, “Kreuz und Rose: ein Interpretationsversuch”, in: Beiträge zur Hegel-Forschung I, Berlin 1909, pp. 43–70. What Lasson writes there on p. 44 concerning the medallion which Hegel’s students presented to him on his sixtieth birthday, which is also stated by M. Lenz, is not correct. The back of the medallion does not bear a rose and a cross, as they claim, but a radiant and winged genius between an old man, reading under an owl, and a woman carrying a staff ending in a cross to which the genius is pointing. The representation also symbolizes the unity of philosophy and theology. See the illustration in A. Gulyga, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Frankfurt a. M., 1974, 324 and cf. K. Schumm, Bildnisse des Philosophen Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Stuttgart 1974, p. 39 and illustration 17. A correct description of the medallion is given in Briefe III, p. 462.Google Scholar
  137. 137.
    Cf. G. Lasson, op.cit. p. 46 and K. Löwith, Von Hegel zu Nietzsche pp. 28–43.Google Scholar
  138. 138.
    Cf. A. Chapelle, Hegel et la religion I, p. 21, where a letter from Luther concerning his coat of arms is quoted (and garbled due to several typographical errors).Google Scholar
  139. 139.
    Des Christen Herz auf Rosen geht, Auch wenn ‘s unterm Kreuze steht. Lasson (op.cit. p. 46) incorrectly believes that Luther’s coat of arms represents “the image of a rose in the middle of a cross”. The relationship which Lasson sees between Luther’s coat of arms and the writings of Johann Valentin Andrea, who is supposed to be the orginator of the various Rosicrucian societies, seems very dubious.Google Scholar
  140. 140.
    Ilting, p. 89. Hegel expressed his acceptance of the Lutheran interpretation of the christian faith on various occasions, e.g.; in lectures on the philosophy of religion (“Wir Lutheraner — ich bin es and will es bleiben”, Werke XIII, p. 89; Glockner 17, p. 105) and on the history of philosophy (System and Geschichte der Philosophie p. 178). Cf. also Berliner Schriften pp. 572575. But cf. also Note 146.Google Scholar
  141. 141.
    Philosophie der Religion I, Werke XI, p. 277 (Glockner 15, p. 293). A slightly different version, which omits the reference to the rose and the cross, is found in the edition of Lasson: II, p. 37.Google Scholar
  142. 142.
    Lasson, Beiträge… I, pp. 65–66. Cf. Glauben and Wissen in:Gesammelte Werke II, pp. 413–414. Cf. also Hegel’s commentary on the Lutheran song “God himself is dead” in Philosophie der Religion II (Werke XII, Glockner 16), pp. 306–307.Google Scholar
  143. 143.
    Werke XVII, p. 403 (Glockner 20, p. 448); cf. G. Lasson, “Kleine Notizen”, in: Beiträge zur Hegel-Forschung II, p. 49.Google Scholar
  144. 144.
    Cf. strophes 8 and 9 of die Geheimnisse.Google Scholar
  145. 145. Knox’s “speculative” (for begreifendes) has been changed to “conceptual”; “the world as it exists to-day” (for die Gegenwart) to “the present”. The quotation-marks around Hegel’s quote from the Apocalyps have been removed in accordance with the German text and the indeterminacy of the subject of the phrase and darum ausgespien wird (Knox: “it [reason] will will `spue out of its mouth’”) has been re-established by the translation “wil be spewed out” (by God? by Jesus? by the Spirit? by Reason? by reason?). “Average” seems to me a more adequate translation of mittelmässig than “only tolerable”. “Actual” has been added to “world” in order to keep the connection with Wirklichkeit.Google Scholar
  146. Cf. Note 97. Hegel’s Protestantism, which he affirms in several places (cf. Note 140) and which he defends against the Pietistic theologians of his time, is placed in a peculiar light by the exhaustive transcription he gives of it in his religion, but also by private statements like the following: “You yourself know best how important scholarly institutions of learning are to Protestants; that they are as dear to them as churches and certainly just as valuable. Protestantism does not consist as much in a specific creed as in the spirit of reflection and of higher, more rational education, as opposed to a training geared to certain utilitarian ends (Brauchbarkeiten)” (letter to his friend Niethammer from November 3, 1810, Briefe’I p. 337) and: “Herein lies the difference between Catholicism and Protestantism. We have no laity; Protestantism is not entrusted to the hierarchical organization of a church but lies solely in universal insight and education… Our universities and schools are our churches. The pastors and religious services do not make up Protestantism like they do in the Catholic church” (to Niethammer July 12, 1816; Briefe II, p. 89).Google Scholar
  147. 147.
    The Works of Francis Bacon, London 1858, I, p. 430: “Quin potius certissimum est, atque experientia comprobatum, leves gustus in philosophia movere fortasse ad atheismum, sed pleniores haustus ad religionem reducere.” According to a note by the editors this idea appears several times in Bacon’s work.Google Scholar
  148. 148.
    Divini ingenii vir Franciscus Baconus de Verulamio recte dixit philosophiam obiter libatam a Deo abducere, penitus haustarr reducere ad eundem“ (note by the editors to the passage quoted in Note 147.)Google Scholar
  149. 149.
    Cf. Grl. § §257–270.Google Scholar
  150. 150.
    How destructive this lack of understanding of the political is for religion as well is expressed by Hegel in Enc. C. 552A (at the end of the second paragraph): “True religion and true religiosity is based on ethicity only and is cogitative (i.e., increasingly conscious of the free universality of its concrete essence) ethicity. It is only proceeding from the ethical dimension that the idea of God as a free spirit is known; outside of the ethical spirit, therefore, it is useless to search for true religion and religiosity.” With the phrases “as something neither cold nor hot” and “will be spewed” out Hegel makes an allusion to the Book of Revelation 3, 15–16, where “Amen” reproaches the church of Laodicea: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”Google Scholar
  151. 151.
    In the conversation with the disciple following on the conversation with Faust, from which a few verses have been quoted in Note 66, Mephistopheles says: Grau, teuer Freund, ist alle Theorie, Und grün des Lebens goldner Baum.Google Scholar
  152. 152.
    Cf. the beginning of the oration (quoted several times above) with which Hegel started his lectures in Heidelberg on October 28, 1818 (System and Geschichte der Philosophie pp. 3–4): As long as the Weltgeist was so busy with the reality of the little needs of everyday life and the major interests and battles of politics it could “not turn inward and gather itself into itself.” But now (after 1815) it is once again possible that we “keep” ourselves “free for the higher inner life, the purer spirituality.” “Now, since this current of actuality is broken, since the German nation has torn itself free from the most coarse, since it has saved its nationality, the ground of all vital life so we may hope that besides the state which takes up all interest into itself, the church too, can elevate itself; that besides the secular realm to which thought and effort have been dedicated until now, the realm of God will again be considered, in other words that besides the political and other interests tied to the common reality, pure science, the free rational world of the spirit, will also flourish again.” In his Berlin oration of October 22, 1818 (Berliner Schriften pp. 3–4), Hegel repeated a great part of this passage, but — and this in connection with the quotations in Note 146 is revealing — substituting “the free realm of thought” for “the church” and “the realm of God”, while referring to the state as the “regiment of the actual (wirklichen) world.” Apparently Hegel no longer wanted to indicate so clearly his identification of the “realm of God” with the domain of philosophy. The idea that philosophy is reflection after the fact is also retained in a copy of the course on the history of philosophy by Griesheim, now the property of the Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz in Berlin (Ms. germ. qu. 540). On p. 40 of the manuscript it is stated that a philosophy (“as an ideal world to which thought escapes”) begins when the “real world” of ethicity enters a period of “decay” (Verderben). “Philosophy begins with the decline of a real world; when philosophy appears with its abstractions, painting grey in grey [my emphasis], the freshness of youth vibrance is already gone and its reconciliation is not a reconciliation in reality but in the ideal world.” These passages must also be related to the rise and fall of peoples which Hegel discusses in Grl. § §343 and 347 and, more extensively, in Die Vernunft in der Geschichte pp. 67–69. Philosophy is the work of old age, a sign that the nation in which it blooms is perishing.Google Scholar
  153. Cf. Hegel’s very extensive discussion of Plato’s Republic in Geschichte der Philosophie II, Werke XIV (Glockner 18), pp. 269–296 and in: Leçons sur Platon; texte inédit 1825–1826 (ed. J.C. Vieillard-Baron), Paris 1976, pp. 122–134.Google Scholar
  154. 154.
    As I hope to show in a commentary on the whole of the Philosophy of Right the end of this book makes clear the degree to which Hegel’s anti-prophetism leads to unsolved problems and the necessity of an abstract Ought on a worldwide level.Google Scholar
  155. 155.
    I changed “personal” (for subjektiv) into “subjective” and “capricious” (beliebig) into “arbitrary”.Google Scholar
  156. 156.
    Enc., p. 4. Although it does not lead to “true understanding” and is “unpopular and even unpleasant”, Hegel still considers this unscientific speaking and writing necessary and useful as an aid to gaining access to scientific speaking and writing. But how can the relation between these two kinds of language be understood? This is thematized by Hegel in Enc. A. 368–387; BC. 445468.Google Scholar
  157. 157.
    Berliner Schriften, p. 355.Google Scholar

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© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Dordrecht 1987

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  • Adriaan Th. Peperzak

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