Hegel's Retreat from Eleusis: Studies in Political Thought

Hegel's Retreat from Eleusis: Studies in Political Thought

GEORGE ARMSTRONG KELLY
Copyright Date: 1978
Pages: 272
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt13x10b6
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  • Book Info
    Hegel's Retreat from Eleusis: Studies in Political Thought
    Book Description:

    Concentrating on Hegel's political philosophy, George Armstrong Kelly pursues three lines of inquiry. The first is the broad question of the connection of philosophy, politics, and history within Hegel's system of thought. Second, the author explores Hegel's relationship with his surrounding political culture and his rejection of aestheticism for the higher goal of politics. Finally, he analyzes Hegel's theory of the state, its historical and structural foundations, its demolition by a later generation, and its relevance. Professor Kelly explains how Hegel's total philosophical method and system convey his apprehension of the meaning of European culture and its links with a political harmony accessible to modern times.

    Professor Kelly explains how Hegel's total philosophical method and system convey his apprehension of the meaning of European culture and its links with a political harmony accessible to modern times.

    Originally published in 1978.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6973-2
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 3-7)

    The title of this book was suggested to me by rereading the youthful poem written by Hegel to his friend Hölderlin in August 1796. It is a poem bristling with both ideological intransigence and Romantic trust and friendship. In it Hegel declares: “to live for free truth only; but for a peace with statutory law that regulates opinion and men’s feelings—never, never to consent to that!” We have all known gifted young men who said “never, never.” But the instances are rare where the repudiation of that “never” produces such fertile and honest results. As Hegel retreated from his...

  5. ONE POLITICS AND PHILOSOPHY IN HEGEL
    (pp. 8-28)

    Onecandeal with Hegel’s politics by making desultory references to his total conception of philosophy, but the result is apt to be impoverished or misleading. It simply is not true that “Hegel’s political thought can be read, understood and appreciated without having to come to terms with his metaphysics.”¹ Very often this tactic will degenerate into an obtuse combat of “isms,” as is characteristic of the “controversies” waged in an otherwise commendable recent anthology.² Moreover, certain critical texts (such as the notoriously difficult Introduction to thePhilosophy of Right) float in the void if deprived of a metaphysical interpreta...

  6. TWO HEGEL’S “LORDSHIP AND BONDAGE”
    (pp. 29-54)

    Hegel’s arduous mastery of the civilized Western past has been asserted, as well as the notion that this is a living past—a chalice foaming over—conducive to both the education and action of the cultured citizen. Yet Hegel’s total notion of the logic of the world has not carried the field, nor have his political remedies: his is not the Logos of today’s word-analysts who reduce concrete social life to a veiled pattern of understanding explained through “games.” Hegel based his system on both self-understanding and struggle, achieving the former by means of the latter. Paradoxically, we create community...

  7. THREE SOCIAL UNDERSTANDING AND SOCIAL THERAPY IN SCHILLER AND HEGEL
    (pp. 55-89)

    In the famous processional of self-awareness in the Phenomenology, the master-slave dialectic leads to Hegel’s other leitmotiv of the “unhappy consciousness.” Both ideas have wide resonances; but, as I have already argued, we do well, in examining Hegel’s politics, to restrict them to appropriate scope and purpose. “Unhappy consciousness” is, to be sure, anchored in the forfeits of Judaism and Christianity, but it also refers to the isolation of the artist or political actor in a Philistine world. That world must, in the first instance, be understood as Hegel’s own.

    Turn-of-the-nineteenth-century Germany was indeed the land of the “unhappy consciousness.”...

  8. FOUR THE PROBLEM OF THE MODERN STATE
    (pp. 90-109)

    The Hegelian therapy of politics cannot be “nature,” as Aristotle propounded. It must be mediated, complex, a “second nature.” Its setting cannot be the marketplace or the assemblies of direct democracy; rather it will take place within the articulated constitutional organs of the modern state. Here the recovery of politics has been fatally conditioned both by modern subjectivity and by applied institutional knowledge that will function in place of the dispositions of thepolisand its free citizens.

    The word “state” has different resonances according to time and place. The liberal tends to equate state with government, and see it...

  9. FIVE HEGEL AND THE “NEUTRAL STATE”
    (pp. 110-152)

    The “aesthetic state” of Schiller was assuredly “neutral”—a companionable fraternity of sensitive and like-minded souls. But it lacked plausible expansion to society and plausible political commitment; in effect, it was a withdrawal. Yet the aesthetic impulse as a coordinator of society is not entirely far-fetched: in the deepest sense, Kant’s idea of community, as expressed in theCritique of Aesthetic Judgment, had been an inexplicable mutuality of artistic awareness presumably universal in scope. On the other hand, this contradicts what Hegel had ascertained about the regress of the natural appreciation of beauty in modern civilization and the liberal stimulus...

  10. SIX THE GRAVEDIGGERS OF THE “NEUTRAL STATE”
    (pp. 153-183)

    Modern intellectual history gives Hegel pride of place because of his power as a cultural summarizer and benchmark. It is obliged to do this, moreover, because so many other thinkers of weight—let us mention only Kierkegaard, Croce, and Lukács—have held a continuing dialogue with Hegel. Yet Hegel’s theory of the state seems an embarrassing contraband. Praised for his deft psychological and sociological insights and for his logical daring, Hegel has rarely gotten high marks for his institutional proposals. Liberalism dallied with certain Hegelian notions at the peril of its Benthamite soul; reaction froze Hegel into weird shapes estranged...

  11. SEVEN HEGEL’S AMERICA
    (pp. 184-223)

    The United States has often been cited, or adulated, as a bold experiment in state neutrality. But, in so arguing, one shifts his ground from the concept of neutrality I have been using to the rather different notion that neutrality means an extensive legal permissiveness for individual and group caprice, a subordination of the political order to the wants and desires of its component social parts, and an encouragement of sectarianism. Tocqueville saw both the dawning of a new egalitarian order and, paradoxically, the ethos of a considerable conformity in these arrangements, so different from European practice and public law....

  12. EIGHT HEGEL AND “THE PRESENT STANDPOINT”
    (pp. 224-250)

    If Hegel has not literally been to the barricades of strife-ridden cities or explosive ruralfocos, he has been in the thick of current ideological combat. For the past thirty years elements of Hegelianism have been appropriated piecemeal into some of our regnant philosophies, or have at least served as a screen of filtration through which the present world is interpreted, and even acted upon. Never has Hegel’s bust sat so high in the pantheon of Western sages. Although any root-and-branch renewal of Hegelian system-building in contemporary philosophy is unimaginable, one can no longer take the thought of the Swabian...

  13. INDEX
    (pp. 251-260)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 261-261)