Hegel’s Social Philosophy: The Project of Reconciliation

Philosophical Review 105 (1):128 (1996)
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Abstract

Michael Hardimon’s new book is a valuable study of Hegel’s social and political philosophy. Hardimon takes seriously Hegel’s intention to offer a social philosophy that can reconcile people to the modern social world. Since Hegel’s own presentation of his philosophy is motivated by a number of competing concerns, Hardimon’s admirable success at reconstructing Hegel’s view in accordance with this fundamental intention offers an important and insightful perspective on Hegel’s project. The focal points of Hardimon’s reconstruction—the aim of reconciliation and the problem of alienation it is meant to overcome—are explained and interpreted with considerable clarity in a way that shows their significance to the tradition of modern political philosophy. Hardimon deliberately resists using Hegel’s technical terminology and engaging in detailed scholarly disputes in a successful effort to avoid obscurity and distraction. The result is a book that should be prized by anyone seeking an accessible presentation of Hegel’s social philosophy, particularly as a vehicle for teaching Hegel’s political thought without having to devote an entire course to the task.

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Mark Shelton
Central Michigan University

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