Hegel on Political Identity
Patriotism, Nationality, Cosmopolitanism
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: Northwestern University Press
Research for this book has been supported by several institutions, all of which I am honored to acknowledge here: the American Academy in Berlin, the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, the Liguria Center for the Arts and Humanities in Bogliasco, Italy, and the Babson Faculty Research Fund. I am especially grateful for the support of Babson Col-...
List of Abbreviations of Works by Hegel
Introduction: Hegel on Practical and Political Identity
Heine here succinctly summarizes the difficulties involved in having love of one’s country be part of one’s ethical life. Membership in a political entity can inspire a patriotism that is both love of country and of human progress: love of country need not be partisan or aggressive. But it can, all too easily, be exactly that. It can be what we now often call ...
1. The Sources of Political Identity: From “Anthropology” to Civil Society
In the interest of tracing Hegel’s discussion of political identity to its roots, I begin with a condensed description of the development of agency in general as Hegel depicts it in the Encyclopedia’s Philosophy of Spirit. Hegel’s description of political identity builds first on the more abstract components of agency, for instance temperament, self-consciousness, ...
2. Patriotism and the Nature of the State
With this survey of the development of agency from “Anthropology” to civil society as background, I turn to Hegel’s discussion of specifically political components of practical identity as found in his discussion of the state. Hegel begins his theory of the state by considering what the citizen’s disposition toward the state should be. This should not surprise ...
3. Das Volk als Staat: National Identity as a Component of Political Identity
Hegel’s definition of patriotism, I argued in the last chapter, does not primarily concern membership or pride in one’s country. Hegel describes patriotism as local engagement, as a way of shaping arbitrary desires into owned desires, and as requiring consciousness of political ideals. In discussing these characteristics, he essentially neglects mention of affection ...
4. Agency in World History
The modern citizen, then, is according to Hegel best served by membership in a political entity that combines the rational institutions of the state with the culture of a nation. This combination allows the individual to retain the particularities that enable him to understand himself as an individual while subjecting those particularities to the analysis implicit in ...
5. Political Identity and Absolute Spirit
Hegel’s writings on world history establish humans as on the one hand deeply formed by their national identity; on the other, the influence of national identity is checked both by individual moral conviction and by universal norms of freedom. Hegel takes up this delicate balance again in “Absolute Spirit,” the last major part of his system. “Absolute Spirit” is ...
6. Evolving Nationalities, Ethical Cosmopolitanism: Hegel Beyond the Nation State
In the previous chapters, I have argued that Hegel’s depiction of political identity is rooted in the pattern of earning and owning inherited characteristics as described in his “Anthropology”; that his definition of patriotism is focused on citizenship and not nationality; and that national identity is nevertheless a central component of identity in Hegel’s de-...
I began this study with Heinrich Heine’s terse reminder that love of country can lead us in two very different ethical directions. It can be an ethical foundation that enables us to care about our compatriots and about those living beyond our political borders; or it can instead be a loyalty in whose service we narrow our ethical sensibilities to the exclusion of ...
Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2011
Volume Title: 1
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