In this article I argue that the kind of ethical-metaphysical theory of the state that we broadly associate with idealist political philosophy provides us with a theoretical account of the state that is both sound and insightful and that, far from having been consigned to the dustbin of history by the hostile criticisms to which it has been subjected in the 20th century, it still remains the most profound and powerful account of the state available to the political science community today. It is extremely important, I contend, in helping us to understand the state’s vital function as the font of emancipatory political criticism. I also suggest that the ethical-metaphysical theory of the state has the distinct advantage of providing us with a genuine ‘theory of the state’, for it alone wholeheartedly subscribes to the view that the state is the inner core or substance of political life, whereas its critics generally hold that the state is a dangerous illusion.
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DOI 10.1177/1474885105055989
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