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14273Hegel in Berlin (from Rosenkranz)

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  • greuterb
    Jan 23, 2013
      In hegel@yahoogroups.com, "Stephen Cowley" wrote on Jan 20:

      > Hi Everyone,
      > Here is another chapter summary from Hegels Leben (1844) by Karl
      > Rosenkranz, the
      > first biography of Hegel from which later authors draw.
      > BOOK THREE Berlin
      > Chapter Five
      > The Philosophy of Right and Demagoguery
      > The Philosophy of Right appeared in 1821, though the Preface was
      > written by 25
      > June 1820. Hegel adopts the form of distinct numbered paragraphs. As for
      > content, morality is now an independent middle term between abstract
      > individuality and the State, rather than diluted in other material. It
      > becomes
      > the essence of objective will, so to speak. [The comparison is with
      > the Middle
      > book of the Logic.] There is a move from:
      > the immediacy of personal right, through morality (which comprehends
      > personal
      > well-being, intention and moral consciousness of others) to Ethical
      > Life, in
      > which Hegel includes the family, civil society and the State.
      > The mediating role of civil society in the section on Ethical Life is also
      > noteworthy. The closing section on world history, developing from the
      > external
      > relations of the State, is Kantian in content, or so thinks
      > Rosenkranz. [Later
      > thinkers tend to see an opposition here.]
      > If the Philosophy of Right had been issued as it stood, it would be
      > more studied
      > than discussed, comments Rosenkranz, but Hegel added many remarks
      > bearing on the
      > questions of the day, such as
      > the subsidiary nature of Roman law to modern law
      > the weakness of conscience independent of an ethical community
      > the relation of State and Church and subordination of the latter
      > a hereditary monarchy.
      > He conceived the State as ethically self-conscious in relation to the
      > Church.
      > Since the turn of the century, Hegel had preferred a more determinate
      > idea of
      > the State, the Estates and the role of government to indeterminate
      > ideas of
      > people, liberty and equality. Even at Jena, he had endorsed the idea of
      > hereditary monarchy. Rosenkranz concludes:
      > []Remembering this, we can only reject the image of Hegel elaborating his
      > concept of the state in the service only of the Prussian government, in a
      > conscious renunciation of his philosophy.[] (510)
      > The Restoration
      > At this time, Hardenberg (1750 to 1822) was Prussian Chancellor [Prime
      > minister]
      > and he was a reformer. In this context, Hegel vindicated:
      > a people making its own laws
      > the public nature of justice
      > self-governing districts or corporations
      > popular representation
      > bicameral chambers
      > public debates on legislation
      > freedom of the press.
      > In a letter to the Chancellor Hardenberg dated October 1820 (Corr II,
      > L376),
      > Hegel enclosed a copy of the Philosophy of Right. This was prior to the
      > Congress of Verona in December 1822. Metternich had opposed Hardenberg
      > at the
      > Congress of Verona, which was called to stall liberal ideas. It was
      > not doubted
      > that popular representation would be brought about throughout Germany
      > in a short
      > timescale. In general, Hegel was impressed by the large perspectives
      > taken in
      > Prussia of political developments after having spent so long in small
      > German
      > states.
      > In the Philosophy of Right, Hegel opposed Haller (1768 to 1854), a
      > diplomat of a
      > conservative cast and author of Restauration der Staatswissenschaft
      > (Restoration
      > of Political Science (volumes 1 to 4, 1816 to 21, volume 5, 1834)).
      > Haller was
      > greatly opposed to the French revolution. He reduced the State to
      > private law,
      > i.e. the rights of the Prince, and rejected the idea of laws as the
      > work of a
      > people that gave necessity and universality to them. Haller had
      > translated his
      > own work in to French. Hegel replied to this in the Remark to para 258
      > of the
      > Philosophy of Right.
      > The Historical School
      > Hegel also opposed (Introduction, para 3) a purely historical
      > conception of
      > law. This was then associated with Ritter von Hugo (1764 to 1844), but
      > soon
      > after with Carl von Savigny (1779 to 1861). Thus he criticises the
      > injustice of
      > Roman family law, for example. [On this Osmo recommends JP Kervegan s
      > Intro to
      > the Philosophy of Right, 33-39.]
      > Naiveté on Prussia
      > In the Philosophy of Right, Hegel endorses a bicameral system including a
      > hereditary Second Chamber, though in 1831 he criticised it. At this time ,
      > endorsed this Anglican model, though the democratic and monarchical
      > harmony of
      > Prussia was more advanced, or so Rosenkranz says. Hegel saw the
      > military as a
      > separate caste and this too, says Rosenkranz, was not appropriate to
      > Prussian
      > reality. Neither did Hegel understand the particularity of Prussian local
      > government, which is different both from the French departements and from
      > Russia.
      > Populism
      > The Preface is also important for its contemporary significance. The
      > Wartburg
      > Festival on 18 October 1817 on the 300th anniversary of the Reformation in
      > Thuringia, where Luther had translated the New Testament, had featured the
      > lighting of the October fires. Haller s book had been burned. A
      > distrust of
      > teachers and a Secret league were afoot. The murder of Kotzebue in
      > 1819 had
      > brought to light a fanatical quality in the German youth. Hegel was
      > appalled at
      > he irrationality and empty slogans of fraternity and unity. Hence he
      > stressed
      > the reason already present in the world. As he had criticised reliance
      > on the
      > past in Haller, here he rejects an unfounded vision of the future.
      > Hence the
      > famous:
      > []What is real is rational;
      > what is rational is real.
      > Was vernuftig ist, das is wirklich;
      > und was wirklich ist, das ist vernuftig.[]
      > In the second edition of the Encyclopaedia, Hegel clarified that
      > []wirklich[]
      > here meant not empirical existence as such, but existence in harmony
      > with the
      > concept of reason. Immediate reality, mixed with chance, on the other
      > hand, may
      > be supremely irrational. People were concerned nonetheless that this was a
      > quietist maxim, unsuited for a developing state like Prussia.

      Stephen, thanks for your ongoing contribution on Rosenkranz's Hegel

      The above quotation includes two statements (judgements) which cannot be
      separated and belong logically together as the two sides of a coin. They
      express the essence of Hegel's philosophy in a still abstract way:

      The rational is actual.
      The actual is rational.

      The first statement says that the rational has to be actualized (become
      external, appeared), otherwise it is an abstraction for which
      rationality cannot be proved. A rational content is necessary, not only
      a rational form. The second statement says that the actual has to be
      qualified or proved as rational. Rationality is that which measures
      actuality. So the first statement is the necessary presupposition for
      the second one and the second one refers necessarily back to the first
      one. There is a dialectical relationship between both statements which
      shows the process of knowledge and truth as Hegel also shows in the
      PhdG. Let's make an example from the Philosophy of Right where the two
      statements come from (translated by H.B. Nisbet):

      In para 257 Hegel writes:
      "The state is the actuality of the ethical Idea - the ethical spirit as
      substantial will, manifest and clear to itself, which thinks and knows
      itself and implements what it knows in so far as it knows it."

      And in para 258:
      "The state is the actuality of the substantial will, an actuality which
      it possesses in the particular self-consciousness when this has been
      raised to its universality; as such it is the rational in and for itself."

      And later in para 258:
      "Considered in the abstract, rationality consists in general in the
      unity and interpenetration of universality and individuality
      [Einzelheit]. Here, in a concrete sense and in terms of its content, it
      consitst in the unity of objective freedom (i.e. of the universal
      substantial will) and subjective freedom (as the freedom of individual
      [individuellen] knowledge and of the will in its persuit of particular
      ends). An in terms of its form, it therefore consists in
      self-determining action in accordance with laws and principles based on
      thought and hence universal. - This Idea is the being of spirit as
      necessary and eternal in and for itself."

      (a) The rational is actualized in the state as the actuality of the
      ethical Idea, the substantial will (The rational is actual)
      (b) The actual (state) is rational in self-determining action in
      accordance with laws and principles based on thought of the particular
      self-consciousness as the individual knowledge and will when this has
      been raised to its universality. This universality measures the rational
      of the actual content of the state.
      (c) The relation between (a) and (b) is the dialectical process in which
      the rational is actual and the actual is rational. This process is the
      necessary and eternal Idea of spirit - an Idea which is not beyond its
      actualization, its content. Plato was the first who teached the immanent
      relationship between the idea and the actuality in his thought on the
      state, however, the dialectic process was only in thought, for the
      actualization a philosophy-king should be responsible. With this he
      excluded the contingency of the individual knowledge and will that is a
      constitutive moment in Hegel's necessary and eternal Idea of spirit.

      So, Hegel's two statements are certainly not a quietist maxim according
      to which man has to give up his own self. This would be quite the
      opposite of self-consciousness becoming universal. They are also not
      political statements concerning the Prussian state or special political
      events of his time or revolutionary criticism for shaping the social and
      political reality, but are the result of his vita contemplativa that
      always is retrospective: "When philosophy paints its grey in grey, a
      shape of life has grown old, and it cannot be rejuvenated, but only
      recognized, by the grey in grey of philosophy; the owl of Minerva begins
      its flight only with the onset of dusk." (Philosophy of Right, Preface).
      However, the contemplative (betrachtende) thought should at the least
      precede political thinking.

      Beat Greuter

      > Fries
      > Hegel also alienated people by condemning demagogy in general terms,
      > but Jakob
      > Fries in particular and by name as a []master of platitudes[]. Fries
      > had been
      > suspended between 1818 and 1824. Hegel had been a Privat-docent with
      > him at Jena
      > and succeeded him at Heidelberg. Hegel dismissed his concern for the
      > Fatherland,
      > love ,etc. Rosenkranz says that this material should have been left out:
      > []A growing antipathy to him, going as far as to make relations
      > irreconcilable,
      > became established amongst all those who adopted the perspectives of Kant,
      > Jacobi, de Wette and Schleiermacher together, and nationalism.[] (515)
      > Hegel became influential amongst educated civil servants, which led to
      > a violent
      > reaction against him.
      > In February 1822, the Halle Literary Paper reviewed the Philosophy of
      > Right. The
      > review cited Fries in the passage that Hegel criticised and said that
      > Hegel was
      > unjust and in fact took a similar line himself elsewhere. It was
      > ignoble to hit
      > a man when he was down, it commented. Hegel had not dreamed of personal
      > humiliation, so he said, and required the protection of the Home
      > Secretary from
      > a []denunciation[]. He was not happy to be criticised in a journal
      > supported
      > financially by the Prussian state. Von Altenstein threatened the
      > journal with
      > withdrawal of authorisation if it were not tighter in its editorial
      > policy on
      > reviews (Letter of 26/7/1822, not in Hoffmeister edition of
      > Correspondance).
      > Hegel offered something more than baseless systems of ideas or the
      > nostalgic
      > enthusiasm of the Bursenschaften. Hence he drew students eager to hear
      > of the
      > practical reason and freedom already in existence. Thus a kernel of
      > supporters
      > began which slowly expanded.
      > One anecdote has Hegel visiting an arrested student in prison by means
      > of a boat
      > on the river Spree (see DHondt, Biographie, ch15, for an interpretation of
      > this).
      > Enough of that, I’m off for a walk in the snow.
      > More to follow
      > Stephen Cowley
      > Von Altenstein had written to him in August 1821 (Corr II, L397)
      > saying that one
      > must indeed not condemn reality without first understanding it.
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